01 May, 2009

Sourcing Nettles

I may have found a source where I can buy prepared nettle fibre for spinning. This is Julie Northcott-Wilson of Northcott Wilson Artisans, who is going to talk to her suppliers in Asia about the possibility.

Northcott-Wilson sells skeins of handspun nettles as well as other interesting fibres.

In the baskets of skeins you can see from left dyed banana fibre—which is harvested from spent branches—sari warp thread, unspun sari cloth remnants, and spun sari cloth remnants just peeking out of the back far basket.

You can see in the middle the spun sari cloth skein's firm texture compared to the unspun sari cloth skein on the left. (Click to enlarge.) Northcott-Wilson says either skein lends itself well to weaving but each gives a different effect.

The spun warp thread skein on the right is suitable for crochet and knitting.

At her booth last weekend in Williamsburg's Merchant Square I got to see these skeins along with her line of bags, some of which were made of nettle fibre.

Reclaimed silk fibre for spinning is available at her online shop.

I found a reference on Etsy from another vendor that nettle fibre is considered a moth repellent and is traditionally used in Asia to back wool rugs.

Aha! I could use nettle fibre as tapestry warp thread to make a wool weft-faced wall hanging that would last and not get moth-eaten. Assuming I can spin strong warp thread. Assuming I learn tapestry weaving. Assuming I get a tapestry loom. Assuming nettles do repel moths. Northcott-Wilson says the smell does repel people.

She adds that the smell of nettles can be removed through prewashing if desired or left to dissipate, which it will do after a few weeks.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19 NIV


  1. Hello,

    I just found your blog today.

    Wow, you are one of the best bloggers that I'm now following!!

    Stinging nettles...


    Here is some info from eHow, that I found:


    Heckel- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckling_comb

    And a tutorial page that I found a little while ago regarding stinging nettles and how to prepare and use them:


    And this site may be selling nettle fiber if not now, soon:


    If you find a good source for nettle fiber please email me at pas3@verizon.net and if I find one I'll send you the site or store...ok?

    Blessings to you and yours!

    You are a very wonderful and articulate blogger... I've read through from the most recent entry through to 2009.

    I keep telling myself that I'm going to start my own blog, but then I think "who is going to want to take the time to read what I'm thinking or doing?"...just nerves...

    Take care and keep up the great job that you are doing!!


  2. Hi Anne,
    glad to hear you like my blog–and all of the blog, wow!
    Thank you very much for the links.
    I will try to remember to let you know about nettle sources if I stumble across one.
    When you think about a blog of your own, consider whether a blog will be useful as a record of your spinning projects so you can see how far you've progressed (even in addition to a hardcopy project notebook with yarn samples or project entries in Ravelry). Also consider whether writing down your thoughts about handspinning will be helpful as a way to think things through thoroughly.
    I doubt any blog writer is ever certain other people will notice and believe her stuff is worth their time, but you can write for your own satisfaction and see what happens.


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