Making a Net: How to Tie Holes Together With String

Making a net requires a bit of dexterity, time, and know-how, but is easy enough to do once you know how. This article explains how.

| September/October 1973

  • Netting - first set
    FIG 1: Your netting needle, whether you buy one or make it yourself, looks like this. FIG 2: Tie a big loop in your string or cord and secure it to a stationary object. FIG 3: Make sure you have three fingers' width of string before passing the needle through the loop. FIG 4: Holding string or twine between thumb and forefinger, pass the needle behind the loop.
  • Netting - second set
    FIG 5: Carry the needle all the way under and around the main loop, then pass it back through itself and pull taut to create a knot. FIG 6: Sixteen repetitions of the first five steps creates a figure that looks like this. FIG 7: Create a second row of loops off the first row of loops. FIG 8: The string bag with two rows completed.
  • 023-076-01-figure11m
    FIG 11: Technique for using the needle to make a flat net. FIG 12: Technique for using a dowel rod to create a flat net with consistently-sized loops.
  • Netting - third set
    FIG 9: The string bag all crumpled up. FIG 10: The string bag holding 23 1/2 lbs of gravel and one pound of kitten.

  • Netting - first set
  • Netting - second set
  • 023-076-01-figure11m
  • Netting - third set

Hats off, everyone, to the stone-age technician who invented the net ... a perfect example of just a little material used in exactly the right way to do a job well. A simpler solution to a hundred problems of holding, catching or carrying things would be hard to think of. No wonder that nets—already known to prehistoric man—appear in Egyptian wall paintings, were employed by the ancient Greeks and are still in wide use to this day.

The commercial fisherman has his trawls and seines, and the sporting angler his landing net. Webbing of various kinds is used in war for camouflage, in play as a barrier (tennis and volleyball) or as a catcher (basketball) and in everyday life to carry and hold objects. I've seen nets rigged in trains and cars to support small articles up out of the way, and tied over a truck bed to keep bulky loads in place. On one back issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS you can see one serving a purpose for which strength and lightness are mandatory (as a gondola support on a man-carrying balloon).

You can easily produce one of these useful devices by hand ... not a common operation nowadays, but the process of making a net is so simple and the result so handy that it's well worth your while to learn the satisfying netcrafter's art.

What can you make of netting? Well, how about a string bag that will crumple to a pocket- or handbag-sized handful ... yet hold as much as two supermarket sacks and—unlike them—never tear under any load you'd want to carry? The technique is so easy and quick that you can create one of these gadgets as a gift for—say—your dinner party hostess while she looks on.

Or you can make a hammock which will take up no room to speak of in a camping outfit, yet will spread to a comfortable bed when slung between two trees.

You can also knot together a protective cover that will keep birds off the strawberry patch, or a snare with which to trap animals for food. I myself learned the craft in wartime when I needed to catch rabbits for meat.


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