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Wild fibres

Weaving with Natural Fibres ~ from nettles to cashmere ~


Cordage (string, cord, rope) is a resource taken for granted today. However, to produce cordage in the field from natural fibres can take a significant amount of time (especially long lengths of thin strong cord). There are two main methods of producing a cord: twisting and plaiting.

10 Interesting Facts About Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

1. Leaves and steams of the nettles has small fragile hair, which actually are the capsules, full of several liquid chemicals, including formic acid. While touching the leaf, a hair, sharp like a needle, gets into your skin, then breaks down, and liquid gets injected into your skin. Ouch! The sting of a Nettle may be cured by rubbing the part with Rosemary, Mint or Sage leaves.

2. Nettle stems contain a fibre, which may be (and was!) used for making ropes, sails and fine linen cloth, suitable even for shirts and beddings. The first known nettle textile find in Europe is from the Bronze Age and there is evidence of nettle cloth production in Scandinavia, Poland, Germany, Russia. That’s why sometimes nettle is called „poor relative of Flax“. In some of these countries nettle fibre was used for textiles up to 17th or even 19th century, but finally was replaced by cotton. Recently there is again the interest to fibre of nettle, as it grows very easily and the textile has good characteristics. It doesn‘t sting!

3. If you went fishing on hot summer day, how could you preserve the fish you got? I have to say - in Eastern Europe people fish for food, not for taking pictures! So, how to preserve the fish up to bringing it home fresh? To wrap into stinging nettles! – it would not let bacteria to multiply neither to start fish to smell bad.

4. For ages until now nettles are used in medicine. I am not a doctor to describe what to heal with nettles, how and when to use them, but I know, nettles are not only for herbal teas – the stinging itself may be a cure against some rheumatic pains.

5. Modest nettle flowers have genders! The male or barren flowers have stamens only, and the female or fertile flowers have only pistil or seed-producing organs . A plant will bear either male or female flowers throughout, that‘s why the specific name of the plant, dioica, which means 'two houses.'

Wild Weed Nettle Juice

Nettle (Urtica dioica, U. urens) is a member of the Urticaceae (Nettle) Family. The name “Nettles” is said to be derived from the Anglo Saxon word “noedl,” meaning “needle,” which may refer to nettle’s use as a fiber/textile plant or to its sharp prickles. Other sources believe that “nettles” is from the Latin nassa, meaning “net” as its strong stems were woven into fishing nets, or that Urtica is from the Latin meaning “I burn.” The species name dioica means “two dwellings” in reference to nettles having either male or female flowers on different plants.

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