St. Simeon’s hat

I am slowly working on a catalog of nalbound items, but in the meantime wanted to let you know about one that is currently on display! My friend, Libby Cripps, visited Trier today and sent back pictures of St. Simeon’s nalbound hat.

St. Simeon was born in Sicily, but went to school in Constantinople. He then went to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and eventually Mt. Sinai in Egypt before living as a hermit near the Red Sea for a while. In 1026 CE he was sent to Rouen, France and after much roundabout travels ended up in Trier. He made one last pilgrimage to Jerusalem leaving in 1028 CE, but upon his return in 1030 CE he was enclosed in the Porto Negra (Black Gate) in Trier and lived as a recluse there until his death in 1035 CE.

Trier is located in Southwestern Germany near the border with Luxembourg and France. This hat is sometimes used as evidence of Viking Era nalbinding, but given St. Simeon’s life history and the fact that nalbinding of a similar structure has been found in Greece and in several objects in Egypt, that is a likely provenance. St. Simeon was in France/Germany for only two years of his life before he was enclosed shortly after returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The hat is currently in the Treasury of the Trier Cathedral. Visiting information can be found at:

For additional photographs from Libby’s trip to Trier, you can take a look at her Facebook page:

For a view of the entire hat: Scroll down just under half the page to figure 4.2. Click on it for a larger/higher resolution photograph of the St. Simeon’s hat.

Another image of St. Simeon’s hat

I’ll be pulling together more information regarding the cap in the future, but wanted to share these lovely photographs that Libby so kindly let me use.


Yesterday I finished recording my presentation, But it looks like… methods for differentiating non-woven looped structures, for NESAT XIV. Due to COVID-19 and the resultant travel restrictions, NESAT will be online this year. Looks like they’ve extended registration for just a few more days if you are interested in seeing it. The schedule has, as usual, a very interesting line up of papers. I’m really looking forward to the discussions next week.

Cover page for my presentation. Includes a chain with a crochet hook working one end and a nalbinding needle working the other with the title, But it looks like... methods for differentiating non-woven looped structures, on it. Below that on the left is a sample of cross-knit structure fabric half knitted with the knitting needles at the top and half nalbound producing the same structure with the nalbinding needle at the bottom. My name, Anne Marie Decker, NESAT XIV, and the dates of the conference, August 23-28, 2021, are in the middle. On the bottom right is a slip stitch structure fabric half crocheted using a flat hook, still in the fabric at the top, and half nalbound still with the nalbinding needle in place at the bottom.

Abstract: The correct identification of the structure of a specimen of archaeologically recovered fabric and the technique(s) used to produce it, are fundamental to the understanding of its historical context and significance. However, the surface textures of looped fabric cannot always be associated unambiguously with specific techniques and there can be several ways to produce a given primary structure. Instantiations of this have been dealt with cursorily in the prior literature but illustrations of distinctive secondary structural attributes and how to recognize them are sparse.

This presentation attempts to clarify two such points. One compares the surface structure of fabric produced by cross-knit nalbinding with that produced by twisted-stitch knitting, both of which are represented in the extant corpus. The other compares the definitive structure of slip stitch crochet as produced by its eponymous tool and technique, with the same structure speculatively produced as nalbinding.

The diagnostic details include the direction of work as seen in the fabric structure, which can differ between candidate techniques. The same applies to increases and decreases, initial and final rows, pickups, joins, transitions between stitch variants, and outright errors. The suggested methodology includes the examination of both actual archaeologically recovered fabric and its diagrammatic representation.

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