Motherowl asked me if I would host a study group for making nettle yarn. I know some of the bloggers that I follow have already tried this with varying results, but since I like to get my own hands-on failures I’m going through with this project anyway. So I’d love for everyone to chime in, newcomers as well as those who already have the t-shirt. The more info we can gather in one place, the better!

Mazzaus” I know we spoke of this 3 years ago, did you try again? I’m going to link to the book review that you did, in case somebody wants to get serious.

I’ll be posting links, videos, translations of old texts (should they provide interesting), and updates, make a reference page with everything + participants and whatnot, so let me know if you’re in. Otherwise I’ll just post my own updates anyway.

I mentioned yesterday that I’d been reading how the stalks should be dried for a year, then retted, which actually confused me because I remembered it in reverse from last time I looked into the subject. And some do indeed process the fibers in the same year as harvest. Such as:

I’m waiting for some 1917 books and articles from the state library, so the first thing I’ll do is compare harvest dates. The earliest I’ve seen so far is midsummer, and the ones I cut the other day do seem a bit soft. But they’ll provide good comparison.

This is a yarn which I bought last year containing nettle fiber, unknown to me which type, though. I haven’t knit it yet, but it’s wonderfully soft and shiny.


21 thoughts on “Nettle-along

  1. It always amazes me the things people can do. I’ll read your posts on the subject with great interest, and hope I never have enough nettles in my yard to try it. 🙂

  2. Så har jeg også høstet et par nælder. Der var mildt sagt ikke mange lange, men jeg har et stort bundt fra sidste år også.

      1. i Väv beskrives en metode som går ud på at hælde kogende vand over stilkende i et kar, efter det har ligget i vand et par dage. Hendes fibre bliver blødere synes hun.

        Veddet skal være i gang med at rådne uden at mugne, så pektinet der holder fibrene sammen bliver opløst. Andre steder har jeg læst om at komme træaske i vandet og / eller citronsyre. for at fremme processen.

        Ellers er processen i vand som skiftes efter et døgn, derefter en uges tid.

        1. Kan du læse finsk … eller kender nogen, der kan. Det lader til at der er rigtig meget om at fremstille nældegarn på finsk. Og en smule på polsk, som jeg forsøger at grave mig igennem.
          Jeg skal altså rødne nælder ligesom med hør, så vidt jeg forstår. Det må være trin 2 😉 Da fibrene alligevel synes at knække undervejs, kan jeg lige så godt høste en masse kortere nælder også.

          1. Hyvää huomenta! Jeg kan selvfølgelig godt læse det, men jeg fatter ikke en brik! 😉 Det nærmeste jeg har er en veninde i Ungarn…

  3. I tried a couple of times with little success. I will follow your progress with great interest! It is winter here so I have been watching nettle seedlings and wondering whether I’ll try again this year 🙂

    1. I wonder if the climate has anything to say. An old article I just read said that the best nettles grow in clay and shade, not too dry. Perhaps temperature is an issue as well.

      1. I am sure that is part of it! It’s clear that parts of Europe have made cloth from stinging nettles in the past, but most are a great deal wetter than where I live, which is dry even by Australian standards. I am really looking forward to seeing what you can do!

  4. Have never tried this…excited to hear more as you continue. I am checking out the book you referenced, amazing what indigenous cultures were able to put to use. Plenty of nettles here around the farm, I tincture some and use dried nettles in tea. Later in the day, I’ll research more, you’ve hooked me!

    1. Well, supposedly the best nettles grow in the shade, so that ought to be something you can find in your area?!

      So can I count you on the list? 😉

      1. Hi Pia,
        Not sure i could contribute much…i know nothing about spinning nettles. I’ll try and spend some time poking around my neck of the woods for folks who have experience with this and will certainly let you know if i come across something.

        1. We’re all beginners, so participating only means commenting and sharing IF you try, no matter how it turns out. No pressure, no performance anxiety.

          1. O.K..I’ll do my best to contribute what I find ( which could be very little), but happy to come along! As long as I don’t have to complete a ‘nettle to shawl’ project…ooh, that would be way to much pressure! ha.

          2. I’m not promising anything like that myself. I’ll be thrilled if one year from now I have a wad of carded, spinnable fiber.

        2. p.s. AND as a listed participant, that I can put whichever blog posts you decide to write on the topic, on the link collection with the other(s).

  5. How amazing! I’m much more familiar with nettle in a herbal med context. That combination of nettle and wool – sounds beautiful! I imagine, quite rare too(?) I’ll be watching your progress with this process with interest. Such a great idea!

  6. I’d like to nettle-along with you. Nettles have been of interest to me for some years and like many people I have never succeeded in just picking them in winter and turning them to spinnable fiber. But I did manage to obtain some retted nettle from France, so I have a sample. And I will try again, ofcourse.

    The Birte Ford book is very nice, btw. It has a lot of info and pictures of the proces of turning nettles into fiber. I put a post on my blog last year ( It is in Dutch though, but I’m sure google can come up with a translation. I also have a pinterest page on additional nettle things like beer and pesto.

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