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Nålbinding Mittens, Socks, Caps: The Scandinavian Textile Craft

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Course Overview

Discover the textile craft tradition known as nålbinding and explore its Scandinavian roots. As a course project, students choose to create their own pair of mittens, socks, or a syltemjölkskopp – a “milk strainer” cap. Or draw from tradition to inspire a project of your own design in consultation with the instructor. Nålbinding is a way to make a looped structure fabric with a single needle and, when worked in wool, it is valued for warmth, durability, and practicality. The course covers the basics of nålbinding and explores those related crafts that are often incorporated in Scandinavian-style nålbound items. You will make your own nålbinding needles. Time will be devoted to the history and folklore of nålbinding as well as nålbinding’s influence on Scandinavian craft traditions. Scandinavian-style nålbinding reflects both place of origin and local culture. Students at North House will create nålbound items inspired by Scandinavia and infused with the spirit of Grand Marais!

For items to be used outdoors, we cover the traditional options for selection of fibers to wick moisture and treatment for water resistance, and how to plan for the fit of finished items, including details like building articulation into mittens so they can be worn for extended periods. Also included: spinning traditions for handmade yarns, color in nåbinding, an array of felting techniques appropriate for various nålbound projects, and a survey of embroidery and applique techniques sometimes found on traditional items. We share the folklore of Scandinavian nålbinding as well as steps you can take beyond Scandinavian traditions.

Currently Scheduled Sessions