Those of you who know me may well know I live with a half cat half Godzilla type creature that some may mistake for a simple cat. And how I handle her and nettles to avoid any sharp pains is pretty much identical.
Like cat fur nettle stings grow in one direction up the stem and out along the leaves stroke cat or nettle in the right direction and no harm will come however stroke them against the direction of growth and you’re asking for trouble.
Knowing this makes handling nettles a lot easier and once your holding a nettle there is so much to be done with it. The fresh new leaves once blanched make for an excellent spinach substitute. The older leaves make for a pleasant hot drink and the stem will give you some of the finest fibres for string making.