There are few experiences more restful than relaxing on a summer’s afternoon — while the sun bakes well-being into your soul — in the cradling arms of a good hammock. Of course, the swinging lounges can be very expensive. But, if you can scrounge some 10 to 20 hours of work time and about $20 for materials, you might well be able to tie a netted slumber nest of your own.
Materials to Make a Hammock
To make a one-person hammock, you’ll need about two pounds (three, if you want a two-person sling) of seine twine, No. 40 to No. 46, two metal rings 2 to 3 inches in diameter (use welded steel or brass), two hardwood support bars measuring 1-1/2-by-1-1/2-by-33 inches each (make them 48 inches long for the double hammock); a smooth gauge stick that’s about 3/4-by-1-1/2-by-12 inches and a netting shuttle.
Then find yourself a comfortable spot with a handy hook, nail or knob to hang your work on, and begin.
Casting a Hammock
You’ll first want to cut a 3-foot length of twine, and square-knot its ends together. This is called the starter loop. Hang it from that handy nail or knob, then wind the netting shuttle full of twine and tie the free end of the shuttle cord to the starter loop, using an overhand knot.
Next, take the gauge stick in your left hand (unless you’re a southpaw, in which case, simply reverse all the directions given here), and place it behind the shuttle cord, right up against the starter loop. Draw the shuttle up in back of the stick, pass it through the starter loop, then bring it back down in front of the stick. Pull the twine taut, and pinch it against the stick with your left thumb to hold it in place.
Raise the shuttle again — still in front of the stick — and make a half hitch around both strands of the starter loop. Now, pull the twine down in front of the gauge stick, letting go with your left thumb and tightening the half hitch as you do so. Congratulations, you’ve just completed your first cast-on “stitch!”
Go on to repeat the same process by bringing the shuttle around and up in back of the stick, passing it through the starter loop, etc. Continue this procedure until you’ve made 20 snug and even loops around the gauge stick (you’ll need 30 for the two-person hammock). Incidentally, be sure you make your half hitches in the same direction each time (that is, so that the “over” strand is always taken from the same side) so your work will lie smooth.
Making the First Row of a Hammock
At this point you should flip the gauge stick over so that the shuttle cord hangs on the left side (you’ll work from left to right on each row). Then muster up a little courage and pull out the stick, letting the loops dangle free. Now, hold the gauge in your left hand, just under the work, bring the shuttle and its cord down in front, up behind and through the first cast-on (not starter) loop, and down in front of the stick again. Pinch the twine with your thumb, make a half hitch around the two strands of the first cast-on loop, and carry the shuttle down and around the gauge stick again. This time, pass the shuttle through the second cast-on loop, and continue as before. Repeat the process through each cast-on loop in turn, making sure to keep the work even. (This initial row can be a pain in the neck, but don’t let it get to you. If you persevere, the task will — honest! — get easier later on.)
Instructions from: Mother Earth News —