My mother says i’m the luckiest person she knows, and she may be right! I am a sucker for anything tactile, and especially novelty toys and tools that allow you to create simple, tactile items and objects. While browsing today I got a knitting nobby tool, which I have been eyeing up on Ebay for weeks. The vintage ones are approximately 15 US Dollars, and generally plastic. The one I got is wooden, and has a cute little face on it! Delighted, especially because it only cost me 10cent! Yes, 10 cent! It is missing one peg, but hey, lucky me – happened to be reading up about ‘toy’ weaving kits and tools last night and came across a marvellous website which details how to use them all with clear, step by step pictures. She just happeend to mention that Panel Pins are the name of pins used in most of these tools, and I knew instantly that it would be a panel pin I would need for replacing today when I saw it! Kerazy!
So, while doing my internet searching on how to use my new knitting nobby tool properly, I came across another new tool which I have not heard of before, called a Lucet (pictured below). I have become slightly fascinated! I’m a sucker for these kind of things, especially when they are historical tools, used in the past to make simple, practical, everyday items that people now pay little attention to – and completely take for granted.
Information about the lucet seems quite rare. The majority of sources which mention either the tool or the technique quote Sylvia Groves . She states:
“In medieval times horn-books, pen-cases, pincushions, pomanders and many objects of everyday use hung from the waist suspended by cords. Hooks and eyes and metal fasteners [...] did not become generally available until the late Georgian era, so that both under and outer garments had to be laced up or gathered in with cords, or ‘chains’ as they were then termed.
The closure of bags and purses presented another and more difficult problem; money was often carried in a silk purse contained in an outer bag of leather drawn up or tied round with string or laces.
All of these cords had, of course to be made by hand, usually on a simple, but very essential, implement known as a Lucet. [...] (use of which died out by about 1830) [...]
In some forms of needlework the tool may still be employed with advantage; to those entrusted with the repair of old costumes or ecclesiastical embroideries it may be of particular value.”
The lucet is a tool which is Viking in origin, and is used for making simple braids. It seems less fiddly then the macrame alternative for producing the same braid, and I can imagine the cord it allows you to produce being used in drawstring bags and as simple bracelets – even as a base for some embroidery thread wrapped pieces or as a chunkier “cord” for knitting small decorative items with. Beautiful!
If you would like to find out how to use the Lucet, I found this really mellow video that shows you how it works in a really straightforward, relaxing, no frills kind of way. Highly recommended!
A quick search on ebay showed me that Lucets are widely available, and are cheap enough. Might be a nice first project if I ever get around to playing with wood…
Curtain tassels? Jewellery? Laces? Yes!
So anyway, there you have it! Lucets! Fabulous! <3