Stinging nettles … who would think!
One of the luxuries of having a fibre business is getting to play with all kinds of fibres and blends. Our latest fascination is with Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle fibre that will be coming to our Online Store in the next few days. Have you tried spinning or felting with Rose Bush Fibre, Hemp, Ramie or other bast fibres? You may want to try our Stinging Nettle!
According to the Center for Sustainable Fashion, Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle from the mid range of the Himalayas in Nepal is the longest of natural fibres. The fibre is strong, fine and elastic. Sharon is looking forward to experimenting with spinning and blending this exceptional fibre. From our reading so far, it seems that it will spin and blend very nicely!
This isn’t like your backyard, pain-in-the-backside stinging nettle. Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle grows amazingly quickly, reaching heights of three metres in a year in Nepal and India. Local farmers have been harvesting this crop for centuries as a source of fibre, food and for the plant’s many medicinal properties.
The Nepalese locals cut stalks at the base, leaving the rootstock to develop new, vigorous growth. As stewards of this vibrant ecosystem, locals know this harvesting practice will stabilize the hillsides and help prevent landslides. The nettle industry also protects the region from deforestation since these plants depend on a bit of shade for optimal growth. Local farmers harvest the crop and process the fibre sustainably without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides or other chemicals.
In other parts of the world, stinging nettle has been used traditionally for many centuries. Aboriginal groups of the Pacific Coast used nettle as food, medicine, netting lines and clothing. Even the Ancient Greeks and Druids cherished their local stinging nettle for its medicinal qualities. But nothing compares to the fine and luscious fibre our supplier has created from the incomparable Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle. Come and see it at our next fibre festivals: Fibres West in Vancouver, 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival in Coombs and the 2017 ANWG Conference at the University of Victoria!