Yarn

To work thru this tutorial, you need only yarn, a blunt tipped needle with an eye large enough for the yarn to get thru it.

 In addition, either a bit of water or spit will be needed!

But I have recommendations for what features to look for in a good yarn to learn with. Once you are comfortable with the process, then you can use any yarn you like.

The traditional nalbinding needles (bottom two) offer some benefits over simply using a wool tapestry needle (shown in blue), but technically you could use the needle you usually use to weave in ends or seam parts of a sweater together if that is all you have.

I do offer a "kit" including a handmade wooden nalbinding needle like the brown one shown above along with a skein of yarn for sale if you are interested. You can purchase the kit here

To learn what to look for in a yarn and the whys and wherefores about the needle, watch this short video. And for more details about the yarn construction, read below the video.







Archaeologists that have looked at the various examples of nalbinding have discerned that the yarns used were Z twist. So yarn was first spun S twist and then plied in the Z direction.

For those of you who aren't spinners - here's what that refers to.
When yarn is spun, twist is introduced. When yarn is spun so that the twist enters the fibers in a counter-clockwise direction, it is considered spun Z and when the twist enters the fibers in a clockwise direction, the yarn is considered spun S.

The Z and S are given to describe the yarns because if you look at the direction of the fibers in the yarn, if they are Z spun, then the fibers are oriented just like the middle of the letter Z and if the yarn is S spun, when you look at the direction of the fibers, they are oriented just like the middle of the letter S. 

When a yarn is going to be plied - whether 2 ply, 3 ply or however many strands will be plied together - the original yarns that will be plied together need to be spun in the OPPOSITE direction than they will be plied in.

So, typically, handspinners spin their singles as a Z yarn and then when they are plying 2 or more strands together, they spin the wheel in the opposite direction (S) to ply them together.
Ok, so historically, nalbind textiles, if plied, are spun S and plied Z.

Commercial yarns are usually spun Z as a singles and then plied S - exactly the opposite of the historical samples. So if you use a commercial singles, you are working with a Z twist yarn that will, if anything, get a bit of twist added to it as you nalbind since we are working thru the back loops. 
This may all sound more technical than you want - the bottom line is that if you work with a Z spun yarn like Lamb's Pride Bulky, it will not start to "untwist" on you as you nalbind and this makes for a better fabric.

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