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Wednesday August 23rd 2017

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Nålbinding – An ancient needlework technique thriving at Ingebretsen’s

IMG_0295By Carstens Smith

“Nålbinding is one of the oldest needlework techniques known,” explains Renata Fossett. “It’s a technique for creating fabric from a strand of yarn, using a single needle, with which you weave the yarn back on itself. The simplest nålbinding stitch is similar in construction to chain maille.” This technique is ancient – the earliest example was found in an Israeli cave and dates from 6500 B.C. – and is found all over the world. People in areas as disparate as Taiwan, northern Mexico, and Greenland used nålbinding to create durable fabric. But the part of the world where nålbinding took hold and is still used to make cozy hats, mittens, and slippers is in the Scandinavian countries.

Renata learned to nålbind nine years ago when she was in California. A member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Renata was researching Viking age customs around 900 A.D. Shortly after learning, she began to demonstrate the craft at Viking re-enactments. “It’s an unusual craft and people were interested in watching and learning about it. It’s also a craft better suited to an area where it’s cool enough to wear what you make,” says Renata. Now a resident of Minnesota, she got to test out her nålbound garments thoroughly this past winter. They passed the test.

Renata is sharing her skills in upcoming classes at Ingebretsen’s. She is teaching a single-session class on the Korgen stitch on Saturday, June 14 and a 3-session class starting on June 21 where students learn to make a tomte hat (Some may call it a stocking hat, but teachers have naming rights and Renata says this is a tomte hat.) For complete information, visit www.ingebretsens.com or call 612.729.9333.

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