Thursday, 13 June 2013

Naalbinding Socks

These aren't actually my first pair of naalbinded socks, but the first pair were too awful to show you. Naalbinding drives me a bit bonkers, but it's very satisfying when, months later, I actually finish a project. These socks have less give than modern socks but they are pretty comfortable and do keep your feet warm.

Techniques involved: nalbinding (or naalbinding, however you spell it)

Materials used: undyed British wool singles (Sirdar Eco, now discontinued), madder dyed 2-ply wool

Tools used: homemade bone needle

References: The stitch is a basic one which I was taught by my friend Ingibjorg. Going by this website it is called York stitch, which is satisfying as 970AD is only 100 years after the period of my character, and York is geographically closer to my home in the Blackwater Estuary than other naalbinding finds.

Ingibjorg has a section about socks and their construction on her website, which is where I got the idea for the seperately formed circle which is then attached to create the heel. She states that this is a heel-type known in Medieval Uppsala.

She has a write up here of her own socks which also have a madder-dyed band around the top. I freely admit that I refer to her kit and website a lot because I know that she is good at research and has a good analytical approach to interpreting finds, which is something I can't say for myself.

Queries:  Apart from wondering how anyone has the patience for naalbinding, I don't have any major problems with these socks.

Summary: These socks have a reasonable historical grounding, but next time I will try one of the heel constructions known from York.

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