The class was taught by Bonnie Phillips, who mended nets in the original Net Loft when it was exactly that. She has had varied careers since, but has always made artistic use of net materials, buttons, beads, bones, and feathers. For a picture of Bonnie in her net mending heyday and the story of how she inspired Dotty Wideman to start a craft paradise called the Net Loft, look here.
Our classroom table was set up with a 2 cup hook jig at each place on the table, and with a packet of supplies and some instruction, we wound our needles with waxed linen cord and began:
The knots in a net are a simple pattern of half hitches, but it takes a lot of practice to remember the sequence and form the loops evenly. In imitation of the real thing, decorations are strung along the top like floats, and on the bottom like weights. Because it is a fanciful art project, beads and things may be scattered around the netting as well. These are examples of some of the students' work:
Here's my first effort:
Pretty uneven, but, then, I don't need to catch any fish with it, I guess. My first knitting was probably pretty uneven, too. Decorations were some beads on the top and mainly some single earrings saved after I had lost one of the pair.
Notice the boo boo extra loop on the right side. Easy mistake to make, hard to correct. But, as I'm sure thousands of knitters and crafters have thought since the beginning of twisted fiber, what happens if I make that error consistently and on purpose? It's a pattern! It's a design feature!
Another mistake I made from the beginning of signing up for the class was the intended purpose of these little nets. From the git-go they looked like necklaces to me. I was a bit surprised that this had not seriously occurred to anyone else, and that the original vision was for them to hang in a window (light through glass beads) or in a frame or pinned to a board.
So in the afternoon session I laid out my journeyman effort with the intention that it should be a necklace and that a different shape would make it better to wear. Having used up most of the decoration stuff I brought, I had to repair to the shop downstairs for more dangle supplies. In the end, this is what came together:
Shell pieces, metal charms, bone and wooden fish, and a somewhat more even net! A necklace! A net-klace!