Thursday, December 12, 2013

So what is a lucet, anyway.....

The term doesn’t seem to be in any dictionary on my shelf (believe me, we have over a dozen). Wikipedia comes to the rescue unless you have a book on braiding, like “200 Braids” by Jacqui Carey. Then you can find it in the “Interlooping” section as it is a simpler version of the spool knitter. Even more basic, Jacqui shows how to use 2 fingers to create a similar braid.

“Chain fork” is another term for the lucet, normally a two pronged weaving tool. There is no definitive, archaeological proof that a lucet was used in ancient times as none have been found with the braid attached to it. However, two possible cord pieces were found in a Swedish dig site from the late 11th century (documented in 1968) but without a tool present. It is commonly believed that the Vikings used two pronged bone or wooden lucets, either hollow or flat, to create cords for clothing (belts, drawstrings, trims, etc.). Working from a spool of thread or wool, very long braids could be made.

Contemporary lucets can be made of wood or plastic and have four prongs, attached spools, and even several holes for thread or hanging from a belt. The most common style looks like a tuning fork with or without a handle. Another lesser known version has the two prongs in the shape of a curved V or duck’s bill. The Ducette™ was created in wood to incorporate both styles with a handle joining the two ends. Embellishment with pre-threaded beads or additional coloured fibres adds more interest and variety to the finished braids.

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