For the past 2000 years, nettles (weeds) have been used to make textiles. However, when cotton cultivation was introduced, nettle cloth fell by the wayside. The recently rediscovered nettle fabric has become a popular choice for customers that want a “green” alternative for their fabric needs.
Barkha’s nettle fabrics come from high attitudes in the Himalayan Mountains. Villagers have typically used this natural resource in their surroundings to earn a livelihood. Sustainable harvesting of nettles requires that proper care is taken to ensure that this resource is not depleted and can regenerate naturally. Barkha works with a master weaver in Nepal who has studied responsible harvesting of forest resources, and works with the villagers to harvest and produce fabric from this wild weed. No chemicals are used in nettle fabric production. The villagers actually perform the harvesting, retting, spinning, and weaving or knitting by hand. The result is a wonderful handmade, sustainable fabric that is great for multiple uses such as drapes, bags, belts etc. The fibers are also hollow, which means they have a great insulating quality. Nettle fibers are finer than those of hemp, so they yield fabrics that can be even softer than cotton.