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Net Casting

The traditional art of making and casting nets is a skill that can be traced back to West African roots. The skill was passed on from fathers and grandfathers and remains a unique South Carolina Sea Island craft and skill. Knitting handmade cotton nets required a great deal of time and patience and the nets generally lasted a lifetime. The art of knitting the cast net is the basic knots, the widener knots, and the pattern of tying. A net is started with 36 eyes, and after the third row, you put in a widener.

Then every third row, you need another widener. In the end, you have 18,000 knots in a net with a 5-foot circumference. This method of net tying comes from biblical times and has not changed. The net hardware was usually crafted out of cow horn. It can take approximately 200 hours to make one net. Today, authentic cotton nets are often displayed in museums.

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