Where do the stitch names come from?
Most of the stitch names came from the site at which an historic textile remnant was discovered. So the York stitch is the stitch that was used in a sock discovered in Coppergate, York. It has been dated to the 10 century and was dyed with madder.
The Tarim stitch is that used in a Beret hat dating from the Bronze/Iron age that was discovered on the Cherchen Mummy unearthed in the Tarim Basin in China.
The Coptic stitch, which looks most similar to knitting, was discovered on some Roman era socks (also dyed red) that were found in Egypt.
The Mammen stitch was the stitch used on some mittens found in Denmark that were dated to the Middle Ages.
Some samples found in Israel that are over 10,000 years old showed plant fibers were mixed with human hair for nalbinding!
Even in Papua New Guinea, examples of nalbinded bags made from bast fibers have been discovered.
So you can appreciate from the little summary above that this single needle, looping technique for creating garments has been around for a long time and was used throughout many parts of the world.
Here is the mitten which first ignited my interest in nalbinding. I took this picture at the Reykyavik museum in Iceland on my first trip there about 10 years ago.
And here are other mittens and a sock/boot from the same museum
And this photo shows the mitten next to some of the nalbinding needles in the museum.
And while this ancient craft is still a bit esoteric for many, among those of us avid mitten knitters, interest is keen. This pair of nalbound mittens (I'm actually not sure if it is more proper to say nalbinded or nalbound) was done by Scarlatta, who is the Latvian master knitter that my sister and I took a class with in Riga last year.
Hopefully, the pair I intend to nalbind using some handspun Icelandic fleece that my niece raised and that I'm spinning while "sheltering in place", will be shown here on these pages in the not too distant future!