We recently discovered Nettle Grove from Plymouth Yarns and we're loving knitting with it. But we were really curious as to why the blend included nettle, considering we had just had nettle in a salad. How could it be good to eat and good to knit with too? Plymouth's Kaelin Hearn filled us in:
"The plant has endless uses and can be found in anything from lotions and soaps to food, tea and wine. The matter leftover after processing is often used for animal bedding. Nettle fibers make a fabric that’s even softer and more durable than cotton, and cultivating nettles is a much more sustainable alternative to cotton, as its growth rate and low-maintenance qualities mean it requires minimal amounts of water and no pesticides. Nettles grow like a weed in several parts of Europe, Africa and western North America, and are related to both hemp and flax of the bast fiber family. The plant also attracts copious amounts of wildlife and thrives even in the poorest of soil unsuitable for other crops, with the added benefit of fixing nutrients back into the soil it grows in.
"Nettle Grove is a blend of cotton, linen, nettle fiber and silk, and it's machine-washable and tumble-dry, too! The fibers of the stinging nettle have a special characteristic in that they're hollow, which means they can accumulate air and create a natural insulation. To create a cool fiber for summer the yarn lengths are twisted closing the hollow core and reducing insulation. In winter with a low twist, the hollow fiber remains open maintaining a constant temperature.
Nettle fibers are now experiencing a long awaited and deserved revival in the world of textiles and fashion, with fiber researchers and design-savvy clothing labels taking on the task of bringing us stylish and sting-free nettle garments made from nettle textiles."
We thought this was very cool and are now searching for nettle in other yarns too....