Hammock practice

I've learned a couple of macrame netting knots, one denser than the other, and am practicing with yarn while I wait for my larger hammock rope supplies to arrive.  The two contrasting knots will let me make a pattern on a square grid; something simple and geometrical should stand out well.

The smaller pattern on the bottom right is more of the Clones lace I've been working on for years.  It's all about the size of the pixels.


Grim said...

If you want to make a practice hammock, I'd be happy to serve as your guinea pig.

Texan99 said...

I'll happily make a hammock for anyone who's willing to buy and ship me the supplies. It turns out that all kinds of cord and rope are pricey. I was cheerfully reading a website that claimed I could buy 3-ply hemp cord enough for a hammock for about $4.50, but it turned out to be an article from 1972 (and they never did make it clear what size the cord was). I'm still trying to get a feeling for what kind of cord or rope is the right size, is soft enough, and will hold up outdoors. Depending on the size of the hammock and the choice of knots, it can take several thousand feet of string/cord/rope to make a hammock of a standard 4.5X7 size plus 3 feet of leader cords on each end.

But seriously, if the supplies arrived on my doorstep, nothing would please me more than to weave some hammocks! Grim, you already have my address. The rest of you guys, email me at texanninetynine at earthlink dot com, and you can have my address, too.

I just scoured Amazon for a bunch of 1970s-vintage macrame books, all available used now for about 99 cents plus shipping. Several books are on their way to me know. They may not have hammock patterns per se, but there should be lots of great knots in there.

douglas said...

There is something mesmerizing and beautiful in the simple developed into patterns of complexity.
We see it in Bach, and in nature, which is perhaps why we feel that it is so 'right'.

"Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect."

Teller (of Penn and Teller)

Grim said...

So, 3 ply hemp cord, eh? A few thousand feet?

Texan99 said...

I'm willing to experiment with anything, and that was something that at least one site mentioned. I think it must be possible to adjust the knots to any size of cord. My first try will be with 7/32 inch rope, but one site mentioned "bedspread" weight crochet thread, which is smaller than ordinary butcher's twine. The other consideration is how well the cord will hold up to UV and damp, and to some extent the scratchiness and stiffness. But what the heck, these things don't have to last for centuries. If they need replacing, all the more opportunity for fun work!

The prices for various sizes and compositions seem wildly variable to me. I don't think I quite grasp what the differences in quality are.

I'm trying now to figure out what kind of wooden dowel to use at each end.

I really can't tell you how itchy I am to get to work as soon as my rope arrives. I see knots in my sleep. It's a mystery why I never tried this before. In a former life I probably supplied fishing nets to the village.

Texan99 said...

PS--And I'm still guessing about the lengths required of each size of cord. One reason I was hoping to find better directions in an internet search was to give me a better idea of the supplies needed. Maybe one of my soon-to-arrive books will help. My yarn experiments suggest that I need each piece to be about 3x longer than the finished hammock, to take account of the 45-degree zigzagging and the occasional knot, at least for that netting pattern. How I wish I could find a hammock-weaving guru!

DL Sly said...

I would suggest oak for your dowels. Good straight grain pieces will hold a lot of weight and will weather nicely over the years without breaking down.

I learned how to macrame in the mid-70's in school, but have long since forgotten what the heck to do. I could probably pull it up from memory with a lot of coaxing. Good luck on the project! I'm looking forward to seeing the progression.

E Hines said...

This might give you some ideas about how much stuff you'll need. From the imagery, it's a much simpler hammock than the one you're contemplating, though; your knitting and macrame experience might help you adjust from this baseline.

I've not heard of ordering string, or rope, by the pound, though.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

It turns out that sisal twine costs less than $10 for 2,500 feet, so I'm practicing with that now. It's about as scratchy and stiff as you can imagine, but it's still possible to work with; the knots will hold. This tells me that just about any fibre of almost any size will do, so it's a question of balancing look, feel, and cost.

Sam's Club sold me 2,850 feet of 1/4-inch polyester rope for about $85 including shipping. Every other type and source of cord or rope I've found has been more like $10-25 bucks per 100 feet. I don't think I understand the pricing and quality differentials yet.

Texan99 said...

The jute twine experience tells me that 2,500 feet is enough for a hammock length of about 8 feet but a width of only about 20 inches, whereas a hammock probably ought to be at least 40 inches wide, and my neighbor's hammock, which looks pretty ordinary to my uninformed eye, is 54 inches wide. Eight feet is a little longer than necessary--my neighbor's hammock is 7.5 feet long--but I'm overestimating so that I'm less likely to get to the end of the pieces and find that my whole project is too short. I don't want to have to splice.

The moral being, if you're thinking of sending me supplies, jute twine of the thickness you'd use to tie up a package works out to about 5 loops per inch of width of the finished project, or 60 loops per foot. Multiply each length of twine or cord by about three to get the length of the finished project. In other words, the total length of supply cord is 180x the area of the finished project. So a hammock that's 7.5x4.5 feet would require 6,075 feet of twine, which is about 2.5 rolls of $9 twine at my hardware store. Round up to take into account that I'm not sure yet how the variety of knots will affect the length, and that this estimate excludes the need for terminal strings between the main bars and the rings from which the hammock will be suspended. Got to get to work learning how to tie that clever clew knot that draws all the terminal strings together at the ring! (But I'm not sure the jute twine will be suitable for that part.)

When my 7/32-inch rope arrives, I'll get some notion of the lengths required in that medium.

Texan99 said...

Correction: that's "sisal" twine, and although the package doesn't specify the size or ply, it's T.W. Evans Cordage Co. product 37-301, a 5-lb. roll of 2,500 feet, and it retails for just under $20 per the Internet. (I may be misremembering the price at the hardware store, unless they had a really good deal.)

Gringo said...

Which reminds me of the Christmas present I bought for my widower uncle when I was in high school. In the card I taped to the present's wrapping I noted how it was hard to work, and attend to the duties of a single parent: keep up the household and take care of the kids. My gift was designed to help him in his parental endeavors. I bought him a hammock with a T-shirt which featured William Blake's "Tiger Tiger" poem.

The idea was that my uncle could take a nap in the hammock, and by wearing such an educational T-shirt while napping, could assist in my cousin's education. They could get some literary knowledge just by reading the T-shirt.

I suspect that the T-shirt contained only the beginning lines:
TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?