I was delighted to see that there were mesh-stick sizes given in the Netted Border with Fringe from The Priscilla Netting Book by Belle Robinson, editor, (published in 1914). An illustration is found on page 29, and the instructions are found starting at the bottom of page 31. The pattern specified a "small (5/8-inch) mesh-stick" and a "large (7/8-inch) mesh-stick." That seemed rather large to me, but I made it.
Gauge can be so important. In netting, gauge is determined by the size mesh stick used. To give you an idea of the size difference between the two samples, I'll show them here in the same photo.
I should have looked in the front of the book before starting any patterns contained in it, especially since it is an entire book about netting instead of just a couple of patterns. When I did, I found some important information. Here is what was said about mesh sticks:
- Mesh-sticks are numbered by the actual measure around the stick, as 3/8-inch, 5/8-inch, 7/8-inch, or 1 inch. The 7/8-inch corresponds very well with the "lead pencil" one often finds in directions. The 1-inch mesh-stick makes a mesh one-half inch square, and the same proportion is true of any other size.
- Netting-needles are offered in six sizes: Nos. 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22, No. 22 being the finest. It is somewhat longer, but in width is the same size as illustrated at Fig. 1. Any of the needles can be used with mesh-sticks 5/8 inch or larger; No. 16 needle is the largest that can be used with 3/8-inch mesh-stick.