Verde Collection by Classic Elite Yarns

Always on the lookout for interesting fibers I stopped in a yarn store near work on the way home and was looking for something different. Here is my find - Classic Elite Yarns Verde Collection Woodland 65% wool and 35% nettle.

Nettle is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant that has stinging hairs called trichomes on its leaves and stems which act like hypodermic needles injecting histamine and other chemicals into humans and animals when they come in contact with it. They produce a stinging sensation hence their common name stinging nettles. The plant has a long history as a medicine and food source.

Unlike cotton, nettle grows easily and without pesticides and is therefore ecologically friendly. The plants contain a blast fiber that has traditionally been used for the same purpose as linen. The plant is also used as a dyestuff producing yellow from its roots and a yellowish green from its leaves.

Clothing made from nettles is not a new idea and for the past 2000 years fabrics had been made from these string plants. Nettles lost their popularity as a spinning fiber in the 16th century when cotton arrived which was easier to harvest and spin. Nettles briefly made a comeback as a textile fiber during the First World War when Germany suffered a shortage of cotton and nettle fiber was used to produce fabric for German uniforms. Now with new advances in spinning technology and the cross-breeding of nettles to produce super high fiber plants nettles are poised to become the latest green fashion trend for fabrics.

I bought 6 skeins of a lovely charcoal and have begun Debbie Bliss Ribbed Baby Jacket featured in Prima - July 2005 for my grandson. I'll post a picture sometime over the weekend.

Regards to All,

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cacunn's picture

If you wait long enough everything comes back around. Let us know how this yarn knits and what it feels like once your sweater is finished.

scottly's picture

I love Classic Elite yarns - Firefly is one of my favorites. I'll go hunting for Woodland soon.

I love this "new" wave of old plant fiber that has been coming out in the last several decades. The Rayon derivatives probably aren't that green but lovely to work with. Ramie has been in my vocabulary since the 80s.

and hemp has been making a come back as well.

and now nettle. Thanks for sharing.

Tallguy's picture

Yes, when you get to be old enough, you will notice that things are coming back. It's the new generation that thinks they have discovered something new!

Nettles are very versatile from providing a lot of vitamins and minerals when the plant is young (tasty when cooked) to the bast fibre in the stems of older plants. It was used as the poor man's linen at one time. It grows in poorer soil, and we always had some in the back of the property that was not used that often. And us kids always had to run through it in summer to see if we would get bitten or not! Guess didn't hurt us too much, if we survived.

Because it grows so easily and everywhere, it is harder for big business to control and therefore they are not interested in cultivating it. But it is processed much like linen, so if anyone has the time and space, there is a business idea.

michaelpthompson's picture

Does this mean nettle is the new bamboo?

"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."