Yarn from Wild Nettles: A Practical Guide Paperback – 2 Apr 2014
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Nettles tend to be something we shy away from. They sting. Once they get established they spread all over the place.
But what if we could actually make use of nettles? We could make soup, but what if we could make fibres out of nettles that we could spin or weave, dye or knit? Our ancestors did it and now we can do it too, thanks to this fascinating book by Birte Ford, who was born in Denmark but now lives in Perthshire, in Scotland, where she searches out and uses nettles for many different handcrafts.
Birte takes us through the processes needed to produce nettle fibre. How to recognise the right kind of nettle to use; how to harvest them – without stinging ourselves; how to dry and store them for the requisite time before baking and pounding them to extract the fibres. She explains harvesting both dry and fresh nettles, and the intricacies of retting – a process which has been used for centuries. Finally, she suggests some uses for the resulting fibres, how to spin them, dye them or make them into pulp for papermaking. They can even end up as bio-fuel.
Clearly explained and with stunning photography, Birte’s book is a serious and practical approach to producing fibres from nettles and will make you look at these intriguing plants in a whole new light.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
After qualifying from the school of Interior Architecture in Copenhagen, Danish born Surface Designer, Birte B. Ford, studied at the Ruskin School of Fine Art in Oxford. Working with Roger Warner in Burford, she followed her interest in textiles and antiques. In 1963 she married a Scot and settled in Britain. In 1978 she became captivated by textiles through her work as a demonstrator and workshop tutor in weaving and textile printing at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Birte worked as a freelance surface designer, working mainly in gouache selling in Britain and USA.
Top customer reviews
Birte Ford has spent years researching and experimenting with nettle fibres and in this book she has distilled her hard won knowledge into a small space. She gives references in the text and a reading list at the end for those wanting to find out even more, but for most people interested in the subject this one book will give you everything you need.
She discusses where to find the best plants giving details about why they grow stronger in some locations than others; various methods of preparation and which work best. There are good pictures of how to break the fibres including some home made equipment.
There are no great details on carding and spinning as she assumes that readers will know the basics, but she does give detailed step by step pictures on how to make up a puni (a small dense rolag), which is less well known than the basics of carding and spinning.
The section on using the fibres is fairly short, though it is illustrated by examples, but it is enough to give you ideas about what is practical.
So not a text on carding or spinning, but if you want to know about extracting fibres from nettles it is well written and I highly recommend it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
1 star for the book's quality. The cover immediately rolled itself up on the table between readings (arid California summer and the swamp cooler on part time), which was very disappointing because no other books have this issue. It is not a book I can leave on the table between reading sessions because the cover and pages simply start rolling up! It must be sandwiched between two other books when I am not reading and will not last well. I will have to find a way to preserve this writing because the book has already begun decomposing itself physically.