Always on the lookout for interesting fibers I stopped in a yarn store near work on the way home and was looking for something different. Here is my find - Classic Elite Yarns Verde Collection Woodland 65% wool and 35% nettle.
Nettle is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant that has stinging hairs called trichomes on its leaves and stems which act like hypodermic needles injecting histamine and other chemicals into humans and animals when they come in contact with it. They produce a stinging sensation hence their common name stinging nettles. The plant has a long history as a medicine and food source.
Unlike cotton, nettle grows easily and without pesticides and is therefore ecologically friendly. The plants contain a blast fiber that has traditionally been used for the same purpose as linen. The plant is also used as a dyestuff producing yellow from its roots and a yellowish green from its leaves.
Clothing made from nettles is not a new idea and for the past 2000 years fabrics had been made from these string plants. Nettles lost their popularity as a spinning fiber in the 16th century when cotton arrived which was easier to harvest and spin. Nettles briefly made a comeback as a textile fiber during the First World War when Germany suffered a shortage of cotton and nettle fiber was used to produce fabric for German uniforms. Now with new advances in spinning technology and the cross-breeding of nettles to produce super high fiber plants nettles are poised to become the latest green fashion trend for fabrics.
I bought 6 skeins of a lovely charcoal and have begun Debbie Bliss Ribbed Baby Jacket featured in Prima - July 2005 for my grandson. I'll post a picture sometime over the weekend.
Regards to All,