Virtual lucet demo

I sometimes go to craft meetings and medieval fairs to demonstrate and teach how to make lucet cord. If you don’t have a chance to meet me in person, this virtual demo is an attempt at explaining what your experience could be like.

What are you doing?

What stops most people at my tent or desk or demo point is the action, the luceting itself. Very few Finns have seen it before and when I’m up to steady speed, things can get a bit blurry:

At this point I usually slow down and move the yarn to my left hand, so the new loop on the right horn is more obvious and then I start doing the lucet, explaining the process at the same time (sorry, no voice on these videos, at least not yet), on how I always pull the lower loop outwards and then over the new loop/yarn, then turn and start over.

What do you get?

Nyörihaarukka / Lucet

Most often I’m working on a basic lucet cord while at a demo, because it is easy to put down and pick up.  I say that I’m using this tool to make very durable and sturdy square cord that can be used e.g. for lacing medieval costumes.

Mostly I’m using one of my favorite lucets with a handle (as in the videos) and the finished cord gets automatically wrapped around the handle – so I can easily show it to you by holding the lucet in one horn or I may even hand the whole thing over to you for inspection.

Then, especially if there are a lot of people, I’ll pass around my basic lucet sample cords. These are cords in natural fibers that can be shown even at medieval fairs. I’ve made them at demos in 2006-2011 of my leftover yarns and they’ve never been intended for any other use than being demo objects.

Basic lucet cords, materials left to right: cotton perle #5, mercerized cotton (dk thickness), single-ply linen (coarse uneven quality), smooth knitting wool, coarser hand-dyed wool, smooth knitting wool doubled.

Quite often people are also drawn to my beaded lucet samples and usually I also carry some thread with beads so I can explain how it is done, i.e. that beads need to be on the thread before one starts, but that otherwise the technique is the same:

A beaded lucet sample cord, plastic beads on cotton crochet thread. On the right a roll of crochet thread with glass beads, waiting to be used for beaded lucet.

If you haven’t gotten bored and walked away yet, I might pick up my sample cards and explain about other possibilities. I have several sample cards, this being most popular due to the fancy beaded cord with #8 black cotton perle and 8/o (3mm) seed beads.

One of my ‘special techniques’ sample cards.

If I’m not in a period event but rather on some craft fair or similar, your eyes might also be drawn to my newest samples, made with so-called novelty yarns of all types, some of which pleasantly surprised me as I’m not used to working with “modern” fibers:

Basic lucet cord, various novelty yarns

I know, I have a funny ruler, it’s there just to show you the scale of things. E.g. the fuzzy cord is about as thick as my little finger and very light and airy.

Why do you have so many different ones?

I collect lucets. I buy every lucet I come upon if I don’t have it yet. When I do demos, I spread the whole collection on the table – and it happens that somebody finds a tool they’ve seen in e.g. grandma’s stash.

Usually I explain that one can make even the thinnest cords on a largish lucet, but that the distance between the horns of the lucet limits the thickness of the yarn used as at least the finished cord has to fit between the horns (I also prefer to pick my loops in the front of the lucet, not on the side, which means that there has to be space for my fingertips between the finished cord and the lucet).

Other than that I always say that it is a matter of preference. If one has small hands, some lucets may feel too big and clumsy, and especially if one does the no-turn technique, a handleless lucet might work better. A small one is also easier to transport, like I often have one of the smaller lucets in coat pocket for luceting while waiting for a bus or train. On the other hand, the really small and/or slippery lucets make my hand muscles cramp, so I can’t work on them for too long – the big handle helps me rest the lucet lightly on my palm and allows me a very economical use of left hand, so I can lucet in my favorite style in hours.

Further I say that some people prefer the lyre shape and find that the outward curving horns stop their loops from falling off, while I don’t like those because my style of luceting means that the point of  a curving horn rubs on my finger at every lift and leads to soreness and even a blister on top of my index finger. I try to remember to stress the fact that it is a matter of preference and that one should maybe try a few options before buying a lucet.

Will you teach me?

Yes! I have a selection of Superiors and Basics (with minor blemishes) for teaching use, and you are also welcome to borrow any of my lucets displayed on the table/stand. You’ll get to pick a skein of (cheap) cotton perle size 5 and if there’s an extra chair, you can sit down, otherwise you’ll just have to come and stand next to me. Then I’ll grab an empty lucet and a piece of yarn, too, and I’ll show you how to start and then watch you and help with any problems that may arise. Most people catch on surprisingly quick!

One Comment

  1. This is wonderful! Particularly your first video, which speeds things up enormously – I’ve never seen anyone hold the thread in the right hand, but now that I’ve seen it, it makes a lot of sense1 thank you!

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