Nettles For Textiles member Sally Pointer kindly shares her process of making coil basket from nettle.
Coil baskets are a great way to make use of the strength and flexibility of nettles without going to the lengths of fully processing for fine fibres.
View the Pdf of the process here: PDF Link
From Sting to Spin. Gillian Edom (2019)
The wait is over! The second edition of “From Sting to Spin” is now available.
We have created a little website with more details about the book, a few chapter previews and how to purchase it.
The web address is https://gillianedomsbook.blogspot.com.
I hope you will enjoy browsing the website and learning a bit more about my book From Sting to Spin (2nd edition, 2019).
A short film demonstrating how to extract strong, fine fibres from ‘green’ nettle plants to create thread. It also looks back into time and explores how our Neolithic ancestors may have been processing nettles to extract fibre for textiles. Allan processes the green nettles ‘wet’, i.e. directly or very shortly after collecting.
You’ve seen the video(s), now you can read in detail the various processes that Allan uses in order transform nettles into textiles too.
The document is still evolving, any comments let us know 🙂
If you would like to use any parts of this document, please check with Allan and cite as follows:
Brown, Allan. NETTLES FOR TEXTILES (2017), www.nettlesfortextiles.org.uk
Due to popular demand a post on retting:
Here we are talking specifically about ‘dew retting’ – which involves laying your nettle stems on the ground, usually a grassy area and allowing the dew and possibly rain to aid in the process of breaking down the gums and pectin that bind the bast to the woody core of the plant. ‘Retting’ will aid you in the removal of the bast (outer skin and fibre) from the ‘woody core’ of the plant.
I have been experimenting with processing nettles after they have been drying for a week, or so, in the summer sun. AKA NO retting. Comparing it with the dew retted material the fibre seems very comparable, if not a bit stronger, and I love the colour. However I reckon it will be fugitive and fade. I have not spun this fibre yet, so can’t comment on its properties as a yarn.
On the measuring front, I got a total of 7 gr from 15 gram dried stuff, and fibre of various length from the green dried nettle skin bast. Some nice long line fibre, some medium length fibre some nice tow, some tow for other stuff (stuffing?) The stages roughly relate to my process: While getting the very long fibres from the dried nettles, shorter pieces come out, which I scrape later, and so on. Until I have short fibres left which need carding and then become a rolag.