Off to the right is a picture
of wood nettle, which has some of the strongest plant fibers I've come
across. Some nettle plants have good fibers and don't sting but I used
because I knew
where a lot could be collected.
Collecting Nettle: I collected most of my
wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) in the
summer, when the plants were still green and fresh. It was actually quite easy to collect. I
stripped the prickly nettles off of the stalk by grabbing near the
base of the plant and stripping upwards. When stripping off the
nettles I had a paper towel in my hand. If you want to collect nettle in the summer I recommend
you use a piece of
or leather. After the majority of nettles have been stripped, the
leaves can be plucked off.
I was also able to collect a bit of
after the first frost. The plant was shriveled and brown but I could identify it by its height and leaves.
The best part of nettle
harvesting after frost is that the frost eliminates the stinging mechanism -
so you have no need to fear getting stung by a droopy nettle.
After stripping the plant and pulling the leaves off,
I pulled the stalks out of the ground and tapped them a few times to remove
most of the dirt. Then I cracked the stalk and pulled on one of the
ends. Then I could see the fibrous outer "skin" of the plant. I
grabbed that fibrous "skin" and stripped the rest of the stalk.
Stripping the fiber off went pretty quickly. When I thought I had
enough fiber I tied some bundles and left them to dry.