Graduated Nalbinding

I’m blinking and squinting at the computer screen this afternoon, due to the after-effects of dilating eye drops. These were administered at my one month post-op checkup. The verdict: I now have superior vision! Or ‘wow’, as both the optometrist and surgeon said. I’ll still have halos around things for a while, and I’ll need to buy magnifying lens glasses for close work like threading a needle or embroidery, but otherwise it’s all worked out well.

The hat below was good tv-watching craft between ops, though I started it a while back.

It was a test to see how good nalbinding looked using graduated yarn. Very good, it turns out. I’m afraid I wasn’t worthy of it, in the selfie below. The pic was taken not long after the second cataract operation, so I was still recovering and couldn’t wear any makeup.

I’d like to try making a mobius scarf next. Not sure I have any suitable yarn in the stash, however. I’ll just have to do a little poking about in there and see. Or maybe buy some more of the hat yarn, which I rather like.

Nalbinding Tapestry Thread

Nalbinding the small batch of thinner tapestry yarn kind of made sense, since it requires you add more yarn as you go by felting the end of the new piece to the end of the last. If the skeins that had felted together were an indication, tapestry yarn felts well.

I cast on and made a big loop, thinking I’d make a bag rather than another hat. I choose a new colour every time I added more yarn. As before, the fabric tightened up as I worked, and after several rows fit comfortably around my head, so it became a hat after all.

Now I wish I’d measured the initial loop so I could work out the percentage of shrinkage. Counting the stitches might give a rough idea, though how long that actually is may depend on the yarn thickness and how tightly I stitch.

I really like the way the colour stripes look. I’d like to try doing this with a slowly changing graduated yarn. I’d also like to try making a mobious scarf, as it would be easy enough to add a half twist before joining the loop. There are other approaches to try as well: starting at the top of a hat and working down, and seeing if I can find a way to nalbind back and forth rather than always making tubes.

Now that I’ve made three items, I’m pretty sure I like nalbinding. It’s portable like knitting. It’s stretchy, though not as much as knitting. It doesn’t seem to bother my hands like knitting does.

Tapestry Tangle

An idea for a Bargello project has been floating around in my head for a while, but to do it I’ll need lots of colours of tapestry thread. A while back I jumped onto eBay and bought two large batches of leftover thread. And when I say large, I’m not kidding. This is what the two looked like spread over my eight-seater dining table, after I’d untangled the bigger of the two batches.


In fact, the largest batch arrived on a day when I hadn’t slept well, felt very crappy and sorting out the contents was just the sort of meditative task I needed. It was a huge tangled bag of mostly tapestry thread but also crewel yarn, perle cotton and stranded cotton. Some was precut into lengths, some precut and clearly from kits, some still in skeins with labels and some not, and lots of lengths from several meters to a cm long. There was even a few scraps of knitting yarn in there. It was like somebody had thrown someone’s entire collection of embroidery yarn into a bag, including the contents of a bin.

The stranded cottons were all precut lengths with no labels so I added them to my collection. The perle cotton and crewel thread was too, so I tied the cotton together and the thread was knotted onto a metal ring.


Of the tapestry thread, there were several brands including some very old skeins, of which most had felted. I packed most of the tapestry thread into a basket with the ends showing so I can see all the colours.


I left out the oldest stuff and a group of unlabelled yarn that appeared to be thinner than the rest. The old, felted yarns I started to weave on my Knitters Loom (more on that soon).


The thinner I started nalbinding (another post will cover this).