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News about Netting!

A good while ago, I ran a series about medieval hairnets and netting, writing about my experiences and results from working netting both as a spiral and based on real rounds. And I wrote this:

I’d say that an unadorned, simple net might well be worked in a spiral, since it will take very hard looking to see that: In the crown section, there’s too much thread on too small an area, and the lower end of the net, if stitched to a band or sporting longer loops for closure, will not be easy to read. For any net that will show different size mesh, colour changes or embroidered patterns, spirals are out of the game, because they are just irregular enough to show.

in that post back there.

For my suspicions about nets worked in true rounds because of colour changes, different-sized mesh and embroidery, I had a prime example in mind – rolling all those treats into one beautiful hairnet that I had already blogged about by that time – this hairnet:

I was, at that time, convinced that this so amazingly regular-looking hairnet must be made in rounds, not in a spiral.


I stand corrected, and many thanks to Cynthia, who studied the net much closer than I did. And gave me a heads-up on my error. Proof that I’m wrong (and that looking at the evidence much more closely than I did in that case is always the right thing to do) was before all of our eyes all the time, because even on that blurry picture, you can see that it was netted as a continuous spiral – if you look at the bit at around 3 o’clock:

Can you see it?

Maybe it’s a bit clearer in this picture:

(This comes from HEINEMEYER, ELFRIEDE: “Zwei gotische Frauenhaarnetze.” Waffen- und Kostümkunde 1 (1966): 13-22.) There’s a jog right beside the upper edge of the little shield motif that is cut by the upper edge of the picture. The one without a partner by its side. And there might even be a single green thread going down from the last green bit to the next green bit, crossing right through the white bit. Which would be totally the thing to do if you couldn’t be bothered to cut the green thread just for that little bit of white.

So much for netting in rounds… and I take back what I wrote, and now say:

While you might suspect that netting in the rounds would be more useful for nets with embroidery, different-sized mesh and colour changes, the busy overall pattern of such a net, made in fine threads, distracts the human eye enough from the slight irregularities of the jog that these are only seen when looking very hard or studying a net in detail.

(And now I’ll wait for somebody else to prove me wrong again. Bring on your hairnet analysis results – I’m quite in the mood!)

This entry was posted in headwear, netting, textile techniques and tools, togs from bogs. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to News about Netting!

  1. Jane says:

    Cool, very interesting. This net is beautiful, as an owner(?) of long hair I would love one like this. As one with a big interest in historic costume and textiles, I'm off to read the original post and find out more. Once that little jig is pointed out it's obvious isn't it.

  2. Yes, totally obvious. I will look at nets better in the future (and I'll always, always try to find a jog in them from now on)!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Salve, mi chiamo Carmela,
    Voglio comunicare Che oltre alla tecnica a spirale, la rete in tondo PUÒ Essere Lavorata senza il gradino.
    Rete Cerca in tondo.

  4. Hello Carmela, thanks for your comment! And yes, netting CAN be done completely in the round without step, but that was not the way this historical net was done!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Salve Katrin,

    dalle mie conoscenze risulta che netting in the round without step è nato intorno al 1920-30,
    tutto quello che è stato creato è a spirale.
    ho imparato a lavorare a spirale, la mia maestra conosceva solo quella tecnica.
    Complimenti per il suo sito.
    Cordiali saluti Carmela

  6. Carmela, thanks for the compliment – and may I ask where you learned how to net?
    Thanks also for the hint that netting true rounds is a modern technique; however, it must have been introduced and become common before the 1920s or '30s, because Thérèse de Dillmont describes netting in rounds only in her Encyclopaedia, and that was published in 1908.
    This is getting really interesting!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Salve Katrin,
    Ho imparato la rete, per sfida di una signora, Voleva vedere se ne ero Capace, nel mare al 2005, ci sono riuscita, conoscevo solo 2 modelli uno spirale.Non mi sono accontentata, successivamente, Tramite internet ho conosciuto Un'altra persona appassionata come me. Nell'indirizzo del sito, con Nella galleria i quadri, sono quasi tutti disegni inventati da me e ci sono lavori a spirale e senza il gradino,
    Per Quanto Riguarda il gradino, io faccio riferimento alla rivista Rund-Filetto band di Martha Kupfermann 103, i lavori sono il gradino con, Mentre Nella successiva Rivista, band 76, i lavori sono tutti con il filo di collegamento Che Annulla il gradino.
    Spero Che Il tutto SIA veramente interessante.
    Con simpatia Carmela.

  8. Christina says:


    After making a replik of this net, I found your blog by searching for an answer of another interesting question : Who has done netting in mediaval times? Do you know any pictures where it is been showed?

    Best Regards

  9. Hello Christina, there will be a proper blog post answering your question (well, at least trying to) one of the next days…

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