Chapter 6: Finishing a circular net

The hairnet is now almost finished, you only need to attach it to a fingerloop braid or a plaited band. It has taken many hours to get this far, so please finish your net with care. I usually reserve three days to knot the net and one day to just make the band and attach it to the net. The precise eyes in the net need a precise attachment method and they have actually done a very neat job in many medieval hairnets.

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If fingerloop braiding is foreign to you, a band can be plaited or twisted, also narrow tablet woven band works well. I recommend using the same silk and the same colour that was used in the last round of the net. The result will be neat and the stitches will disappear. You need about 60-70 cm of band, depending on the size of the head. Make enough to go around the head and about 10 cm for tying.

Finishing the net

You need to leave 10-14 eyes (about 8 cm) free at the back of the neck for adjusting the size. After the last round of the net, knot 5-7 more, so the end of the round comes to the middle back. Especially in striped nets the quite visible change of colour is good to centre at the back of the head. Don’t cut the yarn, leave about a metre for the sewing.

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When the net is done, weave in the yarn from the beginning. Using a needle, weave the yarn inside the lark’s head knots on the wrong side of the net for abut 2-3 cm. If the knots are really tight, use a sharp thin needle and just pick up some strands of the knots and weave the yarn under them.

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Attaching the band

The eyes are attached carefully in even intervals to the band gathering the net. I use safety pins for marking and holding the parts together during sewing, but you could use binding stitches or pins too.

Begin by placing a safety needle to the last knotted eye, the second is placed 10-14 eyes to the left from the first. Find and mark either by counting the eyes or just by eyeballing it, the middle point between these two marks. Now mark the pinning points about 4-5 eyes apart. I usually find the pinning points by searching the middle point between safety pins and then again finding the middle point between these safety pins. This way you get 17 marking points all together in the net. Depending on the number of eyes in the net, the marking points can be on an eye or between two eyes, it doesn’t change the end result.

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Next find and mark the centre of your band. Measure and mark 20-22 cm both ways from this point, so these points are 40-44 cm from each other. Test the band on your head, the measuring point should be from the top of the head to behind your ears. Measure and mark the same number of marking points as in the net, in my case 17 all together.

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Join the band and net with safety pins. Be careful that the band doesn’t twist around. The net will hang loose between these joining points, but that will change in the next stage.

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Using a blunt embroidery needle, start you sewing at right bottom corner, where the yarn already naturally sits. Make a couple of stitches through the eye and to the edge of the band. Sew the rest of the eyes to the band using two overcast stitches in every eye. Don’t let the eyes “run” over the marking points, that is to say, let them move further along the band.

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Take your time with the stitches and don’t let them tighten too much. Finish your sewing by making couple extra stitches, knotting the yarn and weaving it inside the band. After sewing tug downwards on the eyes, so that they settle nicely against the band (before on the right, after on the left in the pictures).

Weave the ends of the band through the free eyes so that they meet in the middle. The original idea for this adjusting method is from Anne Liese’s brief instructions. It works really well, specially if you’re making a net to someone else. When you wear the net, the bands are knotted together tightly and the tails hidden inside the hairdo.

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