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Homespun: Nettles, WWI, and Gandhi  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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A fun video. The presenter is wearing an outfit that he made from locally-grown nettle fiber. It looks like storebought business casual until the closups. He discusses the process a little, mentions that nettle fibers are longer than Egyptian cotton yet the plants require no inputs, and speaks against empire on a couple of occasions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QSvdAZeOxw
 
steward
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I wanna see that guy go from a nettle plant to cloth and thread.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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paul wheaton wrote:
I wanna see that guy go from a nettle plant to cloth and thread.



He seems to have harvested & retted the fiber himself, then taken it to other enthusiasts for the spinning & weaving.

A big part of Gandhi's point is that spinning & weaving can keep a lot of people employed. It definitely isn't about rugged individualism, so much as community-scale self-sufficiency.

But yes, I'd like to see more of the process, too...
 
pollinator
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ive made bowstring from nettle fiber before its really not that hard.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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soil wrote:
ive made bowstring from nettle fiber before its really not that hard.



Oh, cool!

Tell me more: was it just spun in two strands, or was there a core of straight fibers and a braided sheath, or what?
 
Jordan Lowery
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um im not too sure on the technical side of making it. i was just shown by a friend once when i said i was making a bow.

the process is simple. harvest the nettle stalks. dry them. then theres this wood thing you make to "bruise" the stalks. then you pull this through a piece of wood with nails sticking up. this gives you the raw fibers.

then you go making string as normal. and yea it does use two strings. they are wound opposite to each other so when you let go they tighten on themselves.

works really good but definitely takes some patience. i know there is some sort of jig you can make that helps create the string but ive never tried it before.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Neat, thanks!

I've seen lots of bowstrings where most of the strength comes from un-spun fibers, to reduce the amount of stretch, but that seems like a complicated thing to make.

I've seen videos of the retting & carding equipment in use on flax, it makes sense the process would be similar.
 
Jordan Lowery
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you can use flax as well. i know a few people who grow there own to make bowstrings each season. but i prefer the nettles personally.
 
paul wheaton
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Any pics of the nettle-to-bowstring project?
 
paul wheaton
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