I'm not sure what prompted this, but I was laying in the hammock down by the Schuylkill River yesterday and started thinking how great and easy it would be to learn to make my own hammocks. They would make pretty great gifts, I could distribute them to all my friends, I could maybe start a neighborhood basement-business even. Point is, I figure making a gathered-end hammock is pretty darn easy and it would be pretty fun to do. My mom has a sewing machine (I have to go dig it out of her attic and see what kind it is - hopefully it's up to the job) and can teach me how to use it. As for everything else, there's internet tutorials.
Anyway, I have a ton of questions. The list may expand as I think of more.
1. Fabrics. I guess there's a whole subforum, but I'm just hoping to find an overview of what fabrics are good for hammock usage. Specifically,
a. What's the lightest fabric that's strong enough to make a hammock out of?
b. What's the strength cutoff point of various fabrics?
c. What's the cheapest fabric that's strong enough for a hammock?
d. What's the most comfortable (nicest feeling against the skin I guess) fabric?
e. What fabric gives the most warmth/wind blockage?
f. What material should I use for thread for sewing things like end channels where strength is key?
2. What's the cheapest suspension option if I were making a number of hammocks to give to non-backpackers (i.e. weight is not an issue)? (assuming tree-friendliness in all cases)
3. How wide/long should a hammock be to accommodate an extra-tall/heavy person? Two people? I'm 5'9" and 140 pounds and my current hammock is 9'6" x 4'6" and it's more than enough room for me.
4. Where are good places to find deals on fabrics if buying in small quantities? Larger quantities? I assume online is probably the best way to go for price.
5. Is making a double-layer hammock any more complex than just a single-layer one?
6. How do you figure out what the ridgeline length should be for a hammock, assuming you're aiming for a 30-degree angle of hang?
7. Bug net material - what are various options, what's the cheapest, lightest, most protective against all bugs, most see-through?
8. How would you rate the difficulty of adding an integrated bugnet to a hammock with zipper along the side?
9. If doing the above, and hanging the bugnet over the ridgeline, how do you make sure it's closed at the ends of the hammock?
10. Let's say my mom's sewing machine turns out to be too old/broken/low-quality. I know literally nothing about these devices. What should I know if trying to cruise Craigslist for a decent used one? I don't really have any plans of sewing anything heavier than hammock material. MAYBE quilts someday, but if I needed to, say, have end loops added to webbing, I'd just order them already made.
11. How many folds should I put in the hem when making an end channel for a gathered-end hammock? How many stitches?
12. What makes a hammock "asymmetric" as Hennessy's and a few others are advertised? How does the WBBB have a "footbox" and "shelf?" I assume it has to do with shape of fabric but I can't picture how it would work.
Thanks for any and all answers. It's possible this interest will pass, but I think it could become quite a fun hobby.