Saturday, November 16, 2019

Not much, again today. The Italian lesson was more than ordinarily flattening, although perfectly pleasant and successful. I’ve read some Ferrante, walked as far as the corner shop to buy my weekend FT, done my Duolingo, that’s about it.

But I mean to stay up to watch the interview with Prince Andrew as it first goes out, at 9. Poor Queen. And that should provide time for some Dathan hap garter stitch. And soon – tomorrow? – we’ll have the new Netflix “Queen”; lots more garter stitch potential there.

Mary Lou, (comment yesterday), your November stash activity sounds intensely therapeutic. I don’t think we’ve discussed nettle, and it’s an interesting subject. Plant-wise, isn’t it related to flax? Or am I imagining that? I tried a bit of a google, and it’s out there all right. One website, showing a beautiful-looking sock yarn, said that it is “slightly molten, as the dye does not stick to the nettle yarn”. That sounds ominous. I’d be interested to hear anything more you have to say about it. What is the proportion of nettle in the Wild Wool yarn?

My current Trollope really isn’t very good, so far, but at least the travelogue is over and the characters reassembled in London.


  1. The nettle is 15% , and it does take the yarn differently, but it is certainly dyed. I think it may be related to flax. I was very fond of the Wild Swan as a child, where the sister has to knit shirts for her brothers out the nettle that she spun. If you are a fairy tale reader, or were, Michael Cunningham has a wonderful take on some of these, in his book The Wild Swan. That one is what happens to the brother who only got enough to shirt to cover part of him, and was left with one Swan’s wing.

  2. In botanical terms nettle is not related to flax, but it is one of those plants that has a fibrous middle to the stalk, and I believe that it is strong and much softer and silkier than flax. One other one is hemp - my son had a woven shirt of that and it had a lovely texture - somehow crisp and soft at the same time.

  3. Nettle, flax and hemp are known as vast fibres. They all have long fine strong fibres running along the main stem, and are “retted” (rotted) through submersion in water until the green matter dissolves and the stem fibres are left. I believe it’s a slightly smelly process.

  4. Poor Queen indeed! Some things are never OK.

  5. =Tamar12:47 PM

    Hemp fabric is lovely stuff, both in texture and in wearing qualities. It's supposed to outlast even linen. I've read that no one can tell how much surviving antique linen in museums is actually hemp because the tests would require snipping samples, but modern technology may have changed that.