Nettle harvest

Welcome to the next installment in our nettle-along.


This is what I managed to harvest in July, and it’s time for the next batch. I saved some of the leaves instead of feeding them to the horses, because while I don’t have time for a separate study of how to use the stalks for paper making, I do want to try to make paper and thought, why not add the dry leaves to my mixed materials bin? I’m drying my stalks inside because of the wet weather, I don’t know it that’s really necessary, but I didn’t want them to mold.

Because of my very long headache, then the holidays not allowing much me-time (just look at the artistic skill of these photos!), I still haven’t managed to translate that booklet I promised – I’ll try to get to it asap.

This is the patch I aim to cut for August

And my June batch all brown and dry now.

A couple of videos on Ramie processing in Korea and Japan, only the first one in English, the second one in Japanese with horrible music, so I recommend watching that one in silence. Note that they soak and strip the green stalks, no drying first. While it looks like a different plant, ramie is related to stinging nettles, while the giant himalayan nettle, also traditionally used in weaving, is yet another relative.

I don’t think I’ll begin processing fiber with my teeth any time soon, you have to marvel at their patience!






8 thoughts on “Nettle harvest

    1. Which fairy tale is it that has 3 crones with huge lower lips? This is actually true to fact, as flax has to be moist when spun and the spinners would run the fibers through their mouths on the way to the wheel. Maybe that’s why “spinsters” didn’t get married.

      1. Oh I believed it – and I know that we probably used our teeth for all sorts of things, but well, … I don’t know that fairy tale btw.

        Women who married also span though, didn’t they? As I understand it when not doing all the other things they had to do women were involved in one or another aspect of cloth making.

        1. Perhaps if you married young, before you got a fat lip, LOL. It’s just the flax, not wool – and I think it’s probably the other way round, women who did not marry had to work full time as spinners to provide for themselves. Hard life, having your mouth worn bloody every day.

  1. Wow. This is incredibly fascinating. The Korean video had me bristling at the end, when the commenter says “the master” cuts the plant, and then women work on it. Seriously? A man cut the plants, and then the masters refine it and make cloth. Because that’s the real mastery. The Japanese video was great though. Not understanding what’s said means not getting upset at sexisms, lol. Loved seeing the techniques and the work. And it felt more true, like documenting a process that still goes on, the Korean was more like a live museum.

    1. Yes, I didn’t get the part of the “master” either. Did you know, when wool was handproocessed, combing it was a man’s only job, you had to belong to the guild. The short leftovers were sent to the women who could card and spin it as an “inferior” product.

      Men really have invented a lot of bullshit during all of time from fear of losing their footing among the “weaker” sex, just in case physical brutality wasn’t enough. I think this tendency really is the biggest difference in the genders, and I know they say men are now being taught to be weak and unmanly as society slowly becomes more feminist, but isn’t that often the case in times of change? You go from one extreme to the other before settling somewhere in the middle. The number of “soft” men being bullied by strong women is so insignificant compared to millenia of women being abused and treated like slaves, so boohoo, boys, wipe your eyes and get on with it.

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