Monday, February 22, 2010

The Ancient Lucet ~ Popular Again!

I had a wonderful time yesterday visiting The Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival. Among the many colorful sights and sounds was a little huddle of people called The Crofters. I have some connection to The Crofters as members of my weaving and spinning guild are part of the group.

A croft is an enclosed area of land and a crofter is one who dwells and works on the land. The Crofters at the renaissance festival display and demonstrate many of the trades that might be encountered on a croft during the Renaissance.

I was given a friendly tour of all of the different crafts and projects. Among them is what I want to tell you about today, the Lucet.

"A Lucet is a tool used in cordmaking or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking and Medieval periods, when it was utilized to create cords that were used on clothing, or to hang useful items from the belt. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. ....formed by a series of loops ...lucetted braids can be created without pre-measuring threads and so it is a technique suited for very long cords." (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia goes on to share that the lucet made revivals in both the 17th and 19th centuries. I think one day the the 21st century will have to be added to that list. Along with the regained popularity of knitting and other fiber crafts, cord making seems to be making a comeback. Perhaps we all have childhood memories of knitting spools and making large bulky cords. Now, as the love of "do it yourself" is stronger than ever, you can find people not only making their own clothes and accessories, but the components that go with them.

We need and use cords for so many things from the drawstrings on our favorite handbag to the laces on our shoes. This gorgeous picture of a lucet is one I found from a fellow Etsy artisan. In her blog, Twenty Pound Tabby, she tells about using her lucet to make cord for a poet shirt. She also shares how she designed and made the lucet you see up above. It makes me want to run out and buy a scroll saw! To learn more about this artist, visit her blog or check out her shop Tabby Too on Etsy.

Why do I think lucets might just be getting popular again? Well because I didn't have a very hard time finding them online. In fact, they are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Yes, there is even a where you can pick out your favorite style and the wood you want for a custom lucet!

I am very drawn to crafts and techniques that have an ancient history. I love the connection I feel when I take part in them. As a Scandinavian and descendant of vikings, I feel a pull towards the lucet. Maybe a great, great, great, great, great grandmother held one in her hands as she sat by the hearth at the end of a long day.


~ Phyllis ~ said...

I have been very curious about the Lucet. I agree, I think it would make great cords for drawstring knitting project bags.

twenty pound tabby said...

Fantastic article! Lucets are great "take along" crafts for keeping the hands busy when at a guild meeting or event, much like knitting can be. I use the cord for shoe laces, drawstring bags, and shirts. Some folks I know use it as trim by couching it on clothing.