olen’s nålbound socks

The Investiture of the next Prince and Princess in our SCA Principality of Tir Righ will take place in two weeks (Feb 21, 2015). It takes many hands to create clothing and accessories fit for Royalty, and my contribution was Norse nålbound socks for His Excellency, Tanist Olen. (A Tanist is the heir to the Principality Thrones).


It was challenging making socks for someone who lives in another city, as it is easiest to nålbind a sock with a foot to shape it to as rows are added. My husband’s feet were about the same length, but much narrower, and he wasn’t available often enough to test the socks on while I was nålbinding them. So I ended up stuffing one of his socks with a cardboard shoe insert from a dress shoe, a bunch of sheep’s wool, and a tennis ball (for the heel). It was a bit squishy, but somewhat helpful!


I used Alafos Lopi wool and the York stitch with an F1 connection.  I realized too late that I should have connected the heel ladder much higher up on the back of the sock. I had done it at the half way point, which caused the heel decreases to form a ninety degree angle, which worked, but wasn’t what I was anticipating. I then nålbound another half dozen or so rows above the heel ladder to form the cuff. I could have decreased more around the ankle to snug it up, but I wanted to leave enough room for Olen’s 12 1/2 inch wide feet to fit through the opening.


The red wool blanket stitch (a stitch also used by the Vikings) at the top helped to stabilize the very curly York stitch fabric somewhat, and added a bit of fun colour (because Olen is a fun kind of guy!) At my rate of about 300 stitches per hour I figure these socks took about 25-30 hours to complete. They were delivered last weekend, and I was so happy to learn that they fit with just enough room for shrinkage when they are washed. So it seems that eight months after first learning to nålbind I have now nålbound socks fit for a prince!


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