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nålbinding archaeology project

An anthropology student at Camosun College commissioned two 12cm x 12cm nålbinding samples for an archaeology project she was doing. Nadine wanted to compare the wind and water resistance of the Oslo and Coptic stitches, to theorize why the Coptic was used in Egypt, and the Oslo in Nordic countries.

the artful acorn | nålbinding sampler | oslo stitchthe artful acorn | nålbinding sampler | oslo stitch

Usually nålbinding is worked in the round, but Nadine requested square samples, so I experimented with back and forth work to achieve the correct shape and size. Oslo looks the same from the back and the front, so it was straightforward to work one row, extend it by one stitch, then turn the sample over and work another row. The sample did shrink overall after several centimeters of work, however, so it was necessary to add about 20% to the starting width for the final piece.

the artful acorn | nålbinding sampler | coptic stitchthe artful acorn | nålbinding sampler | coptic stitch

To work the Coptic stitch back and forth, I worked one row from left-to-right, then turned the sample 180°, and continued working from left-to-right across what was now the “bottom” of the sample. I found this easier than working backwards on return rows, or using my left hand to stitch.

the artful acorn | nålbinding samplers | oslo & coptic

Adding a border finished the edges of the samples, and brought them to precisely 12cm square. To finish, I blocked them with a steam iron to make them lay flat.

Nadine was delighted with the samples, which were exactly what she had envisioned. I taught her how to do each stitch, and she picked them both up quickly. And best of all, the samples performed well in her experiment and she got her paper in on time!

Scroll down for the results of the experiment in Nadine’s paper, which she kindly shared with us.

Variation in Nalbinding Stitches – Nadine Madson

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