INTRODUCTION TO NETTLE
Clothing made from nettles is not a new idea; for the past 2,000 years people have worn fabrics made from these stinging plants. But nettles lost their popularity when cotton arrived in the 16th century, because cotton was easier to harvest and spin. Nettles made a brief comeback during the First World War, when Germany suffered a shortage of cotton and nettles were used to produce German army uniforms. Now, new advances in spinning technologies and cross-breeding to produce super-high-fiber plants mean that stinging nettles are set to become the latest fashion.
However, there is still a long way to go to for nettle to be used in even the most delicate forms of fabrics like baby clothes or underwear.
The nettle is a highly successful plant found all over the temperate areas of the world. It spreads by means of seeds and underground rhizomes that creep around just under the surface of the soil.
The jagged leaves held in pairs along the square stems are easily recognizable particularly after having experienced the sting. The plant itself is variable growing from 0.6 to 2 meters plus in height and can be found in a variety of habitats and soil types. It prefers rich soils and therefore does well around human settlements benefiting from the waste we produce - often indicating where old settlements have long since disappeared from the countryside.