Latest Updates

I have been fixing broken links


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,
62 years ago (1960)


Visits on website:1805513 pcs

How to make nalbound mittens cuff up

In Finland the nalbound mittens have traditionally been started at the top, and the top has been made square shaped. It is possible, however, to make the mittens also cuff up.

Video (link) and outline-patterns (link).

Instructions with illustrations
for making the
first loops, and for the
Finnish Stitch 2+2 (pdf)

Below a list of video links for making the first loops, and the instructions for mittens continue below the video links...

Video 1, scarf fringe knot (Vajanto's way); easy (link)
gives 1-3 thumb loops

Video 2, yarn 3 x around thumb, needle from left and right (link)
gives 2-3 thumb loops

Video 3, a way often shown in Finnish magazines and books (flat) (link)
gives 2-3 thumb loops

Video 4, knot, yarn 1 x around thumb; easy (link)
gives 1 thumb loop

Video 5, knot, twist needle around loop behind thumb (Savitaipale); easy (link)
gives 1 thumb loop

Video 6, loop, yarn 3 x around thumb; easy (link)
gives 2 thumb loops
Video 7, yarn 3 x around fingers, an "8" onto needle; easy (link1), (link2)
gives 1-3 thumb loops

Video 8, wrap yarn as an "8" around thumb and forefinger; easy (link)
gives 2 thumb loops

Video 9, loop, split yarn with the needle; easy (link)
gives 1 thumb loop

Video 10, yarn 3 x around thumb, needle from left (Joutseno) (link)
gives 2-3 thumb loops

Number of thumb loops

In those methods which give only one thumb loop to start with, you can make more thumb loops by leaving the old thumb loop around the thumb during the next one or two stitches.

Nalbind both mittens or socks simultaneously

You will easier get a pair of symmetric mittens or socks when you make both mittens (or socks) at the same time, for example a couple of rows at a time, or one lenght of yarn at a time. Count the stitches in both foundation rows (the first chain of stitches), to make sure your pair will be of same size. In thin yarns a difference of a stitch or two will not really show, but in a thicker yarn you will see and feel the difference if one item has more loops than its pair.

Foundation row or Chain of stitches

When you are making nalbound mittens from cuff up, you'll first need to make a chain of stitches, or a foundation row, the length of which depends on the size of the mitten and the shape of the cuff. Leave a yarn tail of about 30-50 cm long. You'll need this tail later when you are finishing off the edge. If the tail is bothering you, you can use a small hair clip to lock the tail at the edge.

The cuff part can be straight (about equally wide all through), a bit widening (mitten is wedge-shaped or A-shaped), or bell-shaped (widening more strongly). Nalbound fabrics tend rather to stretch lengtwise and narrow widewise in use, which is good to keep in mind when you are estimating the width and length of your mittens.

A mitten with a straight cuff is easy to start. Make the foundation row long enough to fit nicely around the widest part of your hand (thumb root). You can use a measurement tape or simply try the foundation row around your hand.

To make a mitten with a wedge-shaped (A-shaped) cuff or a bell-shaped cuff, similarly make the foundation row long enough. You can use an outline-pattern sketched on a paper, or an old mitten, to compare with your work.

A wedge-shaped cuff needs to be decreased gradually at both sides of the mitten, for example one stitch at both sides in every row. The number of stitches-to-be-decreased depends on your yarn thickness. With thin yarn you may have 4 stitches per 1 cm, while with thin yarn there may be only 2 stitches per 1 cm, so when working with thin yarn, you'll need to decrease more. An outline-pattern can be used as a tool for estimating the decreases.

A bell-shaped cuff is decreased in a similar way, but often there is a narrower part between cuff and thumb, so you'll need to increase again before getting close to the thumb.

Keep on nalbinding till the thumb web.

Thumb opening

In mittens knitted with five needles you'll leave a separate piece of yarn to mark the thumb opening, and you'll undo that spot later to start the thumb. In nalbound mittens, however, you'll simply leave an opening, by not connecting the new stitches to the previous row.

The size of the thumb opening can be estimated by eyeballing. In women's mitten a 4 cm wide opening is usually enough, depending on the yarn. With thin yarn the opening can be a bit narrower than with thick yarn. For children's mittens make a bit smaller opening, and for men's mittens a wider one.

The opening forms when you leave the new stitches unconnected to the previous row (compare to making the first chain of stitches). At the other end of the opening the stitches are again connected to the previous row.

Before connecting the chain of stitches to the previous row again, check the width of the mitten. Quite probably you can make the mitten a bit narrower at this point because the widest part needs to be below the thumb opening. The narrowing happens easily, if you leave the chain of stitches e.g. 2-3 stitches shorter than the previous row below is, that is, there will be less stitches on the upper side (finger side) of the thumb opening than at the bottom side (cuff side). The 'shortening' depends on the yarn thickness, and how wide your mitten bottom part is. After connecting the chain of stitches to the previous row again, the chain of stitches will be a bit tighter than the bottom of the mitten. Video (link).

Mitten top

Video (decreasing) (link)
Video (mitten top) (link)

Before you'll start decreasing, make sure both of your mittens are of the same length.

You can make the mitten top rounded, more 'hand-shaped' by starting the decreasing at the both sides of the mitten, at about height of the tip of your index finger. How many stitches to decrease at both sides, that depends on the thickness of your yarn. If the yarn is thin, it may be ok to decrease a couple of stitches at both sides, and with thick yarn decreasing one stitch at both sides may work fine. At the end decrease in every second stitch, and finally in every stitch. 

Another way to make a rounded top, is to nalbind until the mid-finger is almost covered, and only half of the nail is visible. Then, decrease in every stitch. The top of the mitten closes up very quickly, so make sure the mitten is long enough.

Keep on decreasing until it is difficult to pick up the stitches, or the opening is only about the size of a finger tip. Pull the last few stitches small carefully by hand in order to avoid loose loops. Either sew the gap closed with a couple of stitches, or insert the needle (a thin darning needle works better) through all the last loops, and then pull the yarn to close the gap, and secure with a couple of stitches. Hide the yarn onto the reverse side by weaving it into the loops there.

To make a square top mitten, when you have reached the tip of your index finger, you can decrease 1-2 stitches (depending on your yarn thickness) at both sides, and continue until the length of the mitten is suitable.

Another option for a square top is to continue, without decreasing, until the lenght of the mitten is suitable, and then decrease a couple of stitches at both corners.

After that, close the opening by sewing by hand with invisible stitches. Insert the needle into the opposite egde from bottom to upwards (from inside to outside), and similarly at other edge, from bottom to upwards (from inside to outside), both edges in turns. Darning needle works fine. Hide the yarn onto the reverse side by weaving it into the loops there.

Cuff - how to finish off - video (link)

Either loosen or undo a couple of stitches at the cuff, at the point where you started your mittens. Then lift one or two thumb loops onto your thumb (depending on what stitch you were using).

When you are finishing off the edge, you can first start by pulling the stitches smaller, and at the same time gradually pick up less loops behind the thumb, and the ones you have around the thumb (if you have more than one).   If you have tensioned the new stitches around your thumb, you can pull them smaller by tensioning them around the thumb nail/tip. When the stitches become so small the thumb loop does not fit around your thumb anymore, you can insert the needle through the stitches without thumb loop(s) (flat). Do a couple of those smaller stitches.

If your stitch has been e.g. Finnish Stitch 1+3 (Brodén Stitch), you can gradually pick up less loops behind the thumb. First, go with FS 1+2 (Mammen Stitch), do a couple of them. Then do FS 1+1 (Oslo Stitch), and do of couple of them, too. Then do FS 1+0 (ie 1 thumb loop, but no loops onto needle behind thumb), do a couple of them, and finally do a couple of stitches, like you were simply sewing by hand around the edge of the fabric.

In order to get a 'gently sloping' edge, do the finishing off little by little, during several stitches, and often it is good to make two or three stitches before you change the stitch (ie pick up less loops behind). At the end, you can pull the last few stitches (FS 1+0) smaller by pulling the yarn by hand (see the video), and finally 'sew' over the edge of the cuff a couple of times. Hide the yarn on the reverse side by weaving it into the loops there.

Before you'll start decreasing, make sure both of your mittens are of the same length.

If the top part (finger part) is too short or too long,

iian lyhyen tai liian pitkän sormiosan korjaat nopeiten, kun leikkaat saksilla kintaan kärjen poikki, ja joko teet muutaman lisäkerroksen tai alat kaventaa aikaisemmin. Leikkauskohdasta nypitään irtonaiset langanpätkät pois ja etsitään viimeinen ehjä silmukka. Jos lankaa ei ole yhtään ylimääräistä, leikkaamisen sijasta kintaankärki kannattaa purkaa silmukka kerrallaan ja käyttää kaikki langanpätkät uudelleen.

If you are not sure whether you have enough yarn for your mitten project, make the mittes top down, do both mittens simultaneously, leave the thumb opening, do a couple of more rows, and then do the thumb. Divide the remaining yarn onto two balls, one ball for each mitten, and then do the thumb-cuff part as last. If you happen to run out of yarn, that will happen on the same place on both mittens, and you can use some other colour at the cuffs.