Since ancient times the fibres from the common stinging nettle have been used as a substitute for other plant fibres, such as Flax and Hemp, in the making of textiles and papers.
In my quest to find the simplest way to get spinnable fibres from nettles I have experimented with both dew and water retting which are the two traditional methods of retting for Flax and Hemp.
Both these methods work well for nettles, however, I have found that if you leave the nettles standing until the spring nature will do the retting for you. I call this method “root retting”, it works particularly well in a frosty North European climate.
My book Yarn from Wild Nettles: A Practical Guide is available for delivery in UK & Europe at Amazon.co.uk and in UK bookstores ISBN-10: 1999712501