That all-important first row
To start netting, you should have 3 things:
- The string you will be making the net from,
- your mesh stick,
- and a foundation of some sort.
The foundation (which is what you attach your first row of loops to) is not strictly required, but it is much easier to start with one than without as it provides an anchor/tension point for your netting. The traditional foundation is another loop of string, long enough to loop around your foot, or some other anchor point, and still allow your net to be at about navel-level (or wherever is most comfortable for you to have your hands) when pulled taut. This method is, as I mentioned, traditional, and a very portable and space-efficent way to net, but I have also found that the flexibility of this foundation can cause tension problems once you get going, and there are limits to the width of the piece you can make when using a string foundation loop. I generally use wood dowels as foundation sticks, since they come in a variety of sizes and lengths, and their rigidity helps avoid tension problems. When I am home, I have a number of stands and anchor points to attach the dowels to to provide tension, and can use longer, heavier dowels, and work on larger pieces. When I’m away from my regular equipment I will often combine the two methods of foundation by attaching my foundation stick to a reasonably fixed point with a loop of string (attach the string to both ends of the stick with slip knots, and then loop the string around your fixed point). I have a selection of 12″ and shorter dowels that I use while traveling. You attach your working string to the foundation with a knot called a lark’s head, or double half-hitch.
To Begin Your Net:
Bring the working end of your string up in front of your foundation, down behind it, and then to the front underneath.
Bring the working end of your string across, in front of the tail end, and up behind the foundation.
Bring the working end of your string over the foundation, and back down the front, making sure to go under the portion of working string that is crossing in front of everything.
Tighten the knot.
Place your mesh stick parallel to your foundation, and just below your first knot. Bring the working end of your thread down in front of the mesh stick and up around behind it to the foundation, and make another knot. You have now made your first loop. Continue making loops until you reach the width that you would like your net to be. Please note that as your net gets to be wider than your mesh stick, you can remove the stick from completed loops to make room on it for new loops.