Spinning a Yarn: Nettle Fibre Weekend Workshop 21-22 July 2018 West Lothian


  1. Two-day weekend workshop making nettle yarns and fibres with textile expert, Birte Ford. Includes all tuition, lunches and goody bag. See details below.

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Nettle cloth, once common in Scotland, is still used to make traditional fine nettle-linen shirts for bridegrooms in Nepal. It was also once used to make German army uniforms. Sadly this is a dying art but we’re determined to keep the knowledge alive.

Our guest tutor is the world-renowned nettle fibre expert, 80 year-old Birte Ford is coming out of retirement to share her knowledge with us over two days. Danish-born Birte studied Interior Architecture in Copenhagen and Surface Design at the Ruskin School of Fine Art in Oxford. Since the 1970s she has worked as a demonstrator and tutor in weaving and textile printing, then as a surface designer and, combining both Danish and Scottish heritage techniques, refined the process of extracting fibre from nettles over several decades.

Join us in the wild classroom for a very hands-on weekend making nettle fibre and yarn. Birte will cover harvesting, drying, retting (wet and dew methods), storing, baking the stems, breaking, carding and spinning. Also discussions on dyeing, pulpcraft using the boon and uses of the yarn.¬† This will be a small class of just 8 people. If you’ve ever wanted to know everything you possibly could about nettlecraft, this is the time!

Forager Monica Wilde will be hosting the workshop and included in the price is lunch on both days with nettle foods and nettle drinks. She will also talk on the culinary and medicinal uses of nettle (leaf, root and seed). Everyone will go home with a goody bag of fact sheets, recipes and samples of nettle yarn.


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