I have a new hobby; nålbinding! (Don't tell my boss though; I'm not supposed to have a new hobby. I'm supposed to be billing lots of hours at work, to make up for a time shortfall in January and February).
Nålbinding is an ancient string art that can be used to turn yarn into socks and hats and scarves and other useful things. Archaeologists have found the remains of nålbound pieces in Egypt and similar places going back to the early years A.D., and in Viking-era digs, among other things. The name itself is a Scandanavian word meaning something like "needle binding" or "needle looping," and nålbinding was a living tradition in Scandanavia until the 19th century, then was rediscovered and began to be re-taught in Scandanavia in the 1920s, and has spread from there to be undertaken by reenactors, mostly those interested in the Viking period and the medieval period.
Nålbinding uses a thick needle with a blunt point and an eye in one end. Unlike knitting and crochet, it *cannot* be done with a continuous thread. Instead, you use pieces of about 1 to 3 yards in length, and splice or knot new ones onto the working end when you're about to run out. The end product looks a bit like crochet and a bit like some of the more exotic knitting stitches, but not all that much like either of them, at least in my opinion.
There are, naturally, a bunch of web sites that describe nålbinding and display nålbound items. Here's a few nice ones:http://www.geocities.com/sigridkitty/http://www.dilettante.info/nalbindingpages/socksmain.htm
Here's a page that shows a picture of a reproduction of a nålbound sock found in the Viking-era level at the Coppergate site in York, England:http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jthies/sca/viking/jorviksocks.html
I am now good enough to nalbind a chain of endless length, or a slightly awkward-looking spiral, which can turn easily into a bowl-like shape. My goal is to nålbind a pair of socks for myself by the end of the year. (I thought I could do this in a couple of months, but it's taking much longer than I thought to acquire the necessary skill.) When I have something big enough to boast about, I'll figure out a way to post a picture of it here. Wish me luck!