So… I’ve tried lucet braiding/weaving and I’ve found a new hobby!
Lucets are a traditional tool used for creating cords and braids. They were in use during the Viking and Medieval eras and are surprisingly easy to get started with. Unlike traditional weaving you only need two things: a lucet and yarn. Although there are a number of different techniques (some using beads!) there are two basics that can quickly get you started with cord making.
How did I come across the lucet? My green Viking dress (!) from Armstreet arived in February and I was looking for a cord belt to go with it. I found an Etsy shop selling “lucet cord belts” and liked the look of them so added them to my watchlist. Then, when I was putting together my Friday Finds post on Daegrad Tools, I saw they had a listing for a neat little wooden Viking-style lucet. It wasn’t very expensive so I thought I’d buy one. I love learning about traditional crafts and this one was around in the Viking era so I was curious and thought I’d give it a go.
Mine is a more rustic type – there are other styles that are more generally available that are a bit more elegant – however, I quite like the simplicity of it, and it’s compact. Maybe I’ll be like one of those older ladies who takes their knitting out with them – only I’ll be sat at the bus stop with my lucet.
I couldn’t quite take in the instructions that came with the Daegrad lucet – my brain sometimes struggles with written instructions, especially on days when the brain fog is strong. However, YouTube came to the rescue and I found an easier technique to start with. Luckily my mum had some lovely yarn that I could use. Yarn is more forgiving than the jute that came with the lucet, and once you get the technique down you can adjust the tension more easily.
Next I experimented with another yarn, a thinner one I found in an old craft box, and some cross stitch thread. It’s pretty amazing how one lucet can make such different size cords depending on the size of yarn or thread used. There’s a lot of variation to be had from just one technique. Now I’ve got the hang of this one I can try others.
When you get into the swing of things lucet braiding/weaving can yield quick results. The great thing about the basic weaves is that you can easily unravel the cord if you’re not pleased with the results, or if you’re just practicing – so you can reuse the yarn over and over while you perfect your craft.
For now I’ll be sticking with my rustic lucets but maybe after trying out some more decorative braiding techniques I’ll buy a bigger, more elegant one. Who knows? But I’m glad I took the chance to try something new that’s also very old. Lucet braiding is a very mindful practice, and has actually helped to calm my mind. It helps to bring my focus back to a more restful state. I didn’t take to knitting but I’m really taken with the lucet. It combines many things I love: creativity, traditional crafts and history. It also makes me feel more in touch with my Ancestors and Norse roots. It has given me a mindful, creative pursuit, and one I can literally weave my love of beads into as I learn new techniques.
So try new things sometimes. You may just surprise yourself!
End note: the lucets I’ve bought so far are both from Daegrad Tools. Although they are the same listing they are different sizes. I bought my first in February and it’s quite small with pointed ends. The one I bought in March is bigger, with thicker prongs that aren’t pointed at the ends. They are handmade, so every one is different, but if you’re thinking of buying one from Daegrad maybe you could message them to ask for a specific size or pointed prongs. Having worked with both I’ve found the smaller pointy-end one great for all sorts of yarns and threads. The larger one works better with thicker yarns and those that are more flexible so they can be pulled easily over the prongs. I did have to sand the larger one down a bit to smooth the rough edges but they’re both nice to work with.
©️ Michelle Thereze, Enchant The Ordinary, April 2019