Lucet Demonstration Video
The Lucet is a Lyre shaped tool that dates back to the Viking era. Its primary use was to make utilitarian braids to be used as cording and lacing. It yields a strong and inflexible square braid. Traditionally the tool was made of bone, ivory, horn, wood and mother of pearl. No early workbasket would be complete without one. Today we can use the lucet to make shoelaces, pull-strings, tool leashes and lanyards. We can make very skinny braids out of fine materials and couch them down in a decorative pattern or motif for trimming cuffs, sleeves, lapels, decorate a pouch or tablecloth. The braid itself can be made quite decorative, making picots, using beads, gimp threads and yarns, or several different color threads for multi-color patterned braids. The yarn should be smooth, strong and non-stretchy. Using an unsuitable material for the video was necessary only to show the process, but yields a lumpy yet usable braid. I can easily make four inches in ten or twelve minutes watching the TV.
The process is simple: bringing the yarn between the horns from the back, go counter-clockwise around the front of the Right Horn to the back of it, then between the horns to the front, then clockwise around the front of the Left Horn, around the back and bring the yarn to the front between the horns and across the top of the Right horn. Holding the working yarn (coming from the ball of yarn) with some tension, lift the loop that was previously made on the right horn up and over the working yarn ensnaring it to the horn, pull the working yarn to pull up any slack. Turn your lucet like a page in a book laying your working yarn over the new right horn above the existing loop. Lift the loop and pull it up and over the horn ensnaring the working yarn, pull the working yarn to take up any slack, turn your lucet. From now on you will want to tension your loops. Pull the loop on the right horn from the front to snug your previous loop to the braid, then pass it over the working yarn and horn, turn your lucet, it is not necessary to tension or pull your yarn when you turn and doing so will add a motion and make yarn fight you, Always pull the front of the loop to snug the previous loop to the braid, if your loop is too tight, pull it from the back first and this will loosen it so you can get into it. A pointy tool like a knitting needle or crochet hook can help, but I find it more of a hindrance, at least until I’ve worked on a cord for awhile, then I find it nice to have something to hold on to. To end the cord: after turning, leave a tail of six inches or so and cut, pull the front of the right loop to snug the previous loop, then pass the end Down through the loop, and pull your working yarn to draw your loop closed, then pass the end Down through the left loop and pull your working yarn tight again.
Lucets come with and without a hole, for the tail and finished braid to pass through. They also come with and without handles. I have two, a large one with a hole, and a smaller one without a hole, both with handles. I like the smaller one the best, I find the size more comfortable and shape easier to use. I don’t even notice that it doesn’t have a hole. While I have never used a lucet without a handle, I don’t think I would miss it. When I’m making a cord to use, I tend to hold the lucet very close to where the braid is being made, and not the handle, so I think I might find/make one that doesn’t have a handle and see if its easier on the hands or not. Smaller Lucets fit easily in a knitting or crochet project bag and the cord doesn’t stretch like spool knitting cord. The square shape of the braid is unique and adds texture to a project. You can view this video either on the Mystic Handwork’s YouTube channel, or at www.MysticHandworks.com/videos.