Latest Updates

7/2017 - Added new videos and photos of stitch samples.

10/2016 - Added three new nalbinding stithces (Tabs Turning Stitches and Other Nalbinding Stitches)

6/2016 - Added link to Hanna Martikainen's Master's Thesis (About Nalbinding / Magazines, Theses, and other)


In this website you can find nalbinding videos, and instructions on how to make nalbinding mittens.

"In the past years nalbinding has become a 'fashionable' hobby"

- Toini-Inkeri Kaukonen,
57 years ago (1960)


Visits on website:382472 pcs

Nalbinding - Nålbindning - Nålebinding

A traditional handicraft

Nalbound mittens in Russian Stitch,
decorated with Carelian style embroidery
(reversible double running stitch
or Holbein Stitch)

Nalbinding is an old, traditional handicraft which has been known almost all over the world even for thousands of years. In Finnish language it is called neulakinnastekniikka, kinnasneulatekniikka, kinnasompelu or yhdellä puikolla neulominen.

In Finland the knowledge of nalbinding has survived best in Carelia*, and in the northern and eastern Finland. In those areas nalbinding was a common way of making mittens still in the 1950's, and in some places and families the skill of nalbinding has been transferred from one generation to another even till the present day.

*) "Carelia" is an area which is located partly in Finland, and partly in Russia.
"Ceded Carelia", on the other hand, refers to the part of the Carelia which Finland ceded to Russia after the Winter War in 1940. About 450 000 Finns were evacuated from the Ceded Carelia, and resettled in other parts of Finland. Since the total population of Finland is just barely over 5 millions, many Finns today have grandparents whose roots were in the Ceded Carelia.
"Russian Carelia" refers to the part of Carelia which is located in the Russian side of the border, and has not been a part of Finland (ie it is not a part of Ceded Carelia).

In the past nalbound mittens have been used as a means of payment in Finland, and they have been used to pay as well war taxes as compensation for church clerks for engagement and wedding ceremonies. Since I live in Joutseno (Finland), I have naturally been intrigued by a piece of local history which tells about a church clerk who, in Joutseno in 1860, announced from his pulpit that the compensation for wedding ceremony should be paid either in cash or nalbound mittens. Ordinary mittens knitted with five needles did not do since people thought they were not as good. Until the times of the World War II, not knowing how to nalbind mittens or socks was considered a shame on a Carelian woman.

Nalbound mittens in Finnish Stitch,
Finnish Stitch, and Turning Stitch


Three main nalbinding styles in Finland
 - Finnish, Russian, and Turning

When nalbinding, needle is kept in one hand, and the thumb of the other hand can be used as a tool the regulate the size of the stitches. In some villages it has been customary to drop the newest loop off the thumb, and pick up the loops onto the needle while holding the mitten flat (ie no loops around thumb), while in some other villages people have preferred to keep the last two or three loops around the thumb all the time while nalbinding.

In the eastern Finland, and in the Ceded Carelia (see the explanation above) people have known three different ways of nalbinding: "suomeksi" (by the Finnish way), "venäjäksi" (by the Russian way), and "pyöräyttäen" or "punaltaen" (by turning (or twisting)). These names have not been familiar outside Carelia although the Russian way of nalbinding has been the most common one in the northern parts of Finland, in the northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu.

These three main styles of nalbinding in Finland have had variants, too, so the total count of different nalbinding stitches is higher. Outside Finland, the term "Finnish Stitch" usually seems to refer to the UUOO/UUOOO stitch (Finnish Stitch 2+2), and the term "Russian Stitch" to UUOOUU/OOUUOOO (Russian Stitch 2+2+2), but here in Finland, both terms "suomeksi" and "venäjäksi" cover several stitches, so I would rather talk about the "Finnish Stitch Family" and the "Russian Stitch Family". This grouping in three main styles is based on Ms Toini-Inkeri Kaukonen's nalbinding article in 1960.

 Nalbound mittens in Russian Stitch
Nalbound mittens in Finnish Stitch 1+1
(Oslo Stitch)