Hammocks are made from a material known as acrylic spun yarn. The yarn is typically used in embroidery and crocheting, and is known to have the most natural feel of any type of yarn. Acrylic yarn is as soft as cotton, but still very resistant to the sun and water. It also comes in a range of different colors because it can be dyed so easily. Hammock manufacturers will either dye the yarn themselves or purchase it pre-dyed from the factories it is produced.
Hammocks are made from this yarn and a machine known as a hammock rack. Hammock racks are simpler to use than hand looms, but using one is an involved process that takes longer than traditional weaving.
Three different strands of the yarn are wound together into a single string before the weaving can begin. The yarns must also be winded into shuttles or cones that make it easier to weave them.
The process of making a hammock can then begin. It starts with having two sleeper yarns on the sides, with a dancer yarn woven between them in a criss-cross pattern. A lot of loops go into making a hammock. By the time a hammock is finished it has between 350 and 600 of these yarn lines, with up to 150,000 loops that are all shaped by hand as precisely as possible.
Hammock makers work with design sheets that tell them which colors to use and where to use them. There are around 400 different color designs in all, and each one takes over 50 color changes per hammock. It’s not possible to simply weave and hope for the best. The weaver must also concentrate on evenly distributing the loops and adusting the tension between the dancer and sleeper yarns.
The process of making a hammock is similar to weaving, as there are warp and weft yarns, but it also takes elements of braiding as yarns cross one another as is the case with braided cloth. Things are even more complicated for V-hammocks as the yarns will cross in several directions.
It takes a few days but eventually the woven part of the hammock – or the bed – will be completed. Now the non-woven aspects are added, known as “scale lines” or “spider yarn”. It takes another frame for this, with the scale lanes wound around it. Laying the scale lines for sitting hammocks is one of the most difficult parts of the hammock making process.
The last thing to be added is the “eye”, which is where hammocks are hung from. The hammock isn’t quite completed after this step is done however, as there is also some strict quality control must be done before the hammock is ready for the person that buys it, which could very well be you!