- Arts and Design
How to Lucet - How to Make a Lucet Cord
Make a Viking or Medieval Craft Braid with a Lucet
Making cords with a lucet or a knitting fork is a way to connect back with an ancient craft, one used by vikings and during medieval times to make for closing up clothing and lacing boots and shoes and for decorating.
The lucet fork creates a strong square cord, similar to a knitted i-cord or braided cord, using a technique that dates back to the vikings. In Medieval times women would have a lucet as part of their sewing or crafting tools.
I was looking for an easy craft that I could teach my tween and teenage daughters who are in to friendship bracelets as well as exploring their viking and Scandinavian heritage. This lens is the result of my researching this ancient medieval craft technique to teach my daughters how to make a lucet cord the way that the vikings might have done.
Join me in learning how to create a lucet cord for your own use. You may be making colorful friendship bracelets too, or using lucet cords to decorate your own crafts.
What is a Lucet?
The lucet is a craft tool shaped like a fork. The basic style is a two pronged fork with a hole in the handle. It was often made from wood, bone, ivory, shells or even antlers in more modern times has been made from plastic.
The use of this knitting fork dates back to at least the time of the vikings and medieval times, based on archaeological diggings. This ancient craft tool goes by many other names including:
- Lucet fork
- Lucette (French)
- String fork
- Knitting fork
- Chain fork
- Tvinningsben cords
- (the Swedish term for cord fork)
- Knytgaffel (Swedish for tie fork)
- Slynggaffel (Swedish for coil fork)
Fork by Netalloy from Openclipart.
Making Lucet Cording
How to Use a Lucet - Video
RadMegan does an amazing job showing how easy it is to use a lucet or a knitting fork. She demonstrates two different techniques for using the lucet.
Start with a Lucet Kit
Get started learning how to lucet with this kit that comes with a lucet, yarn and a knitting needle / pick.
This lucet kit from Flights of Fancy is a great way to get started learning how to lucet.
This decorative lucet comes without a handle, which some lucet crafters feel makes it easier and faster to use.
The kit also comes with a bit of yarn to get started and a knitting needle / pick to help in slipping the stitches.
Basic Technique for Using a Knitting Fork
A lucet is a two pronged fork that allows one to make a strong, durable cord. One can start with a fork with the middle tines bent down as seen in this image on Flickr or a plastic fork with the middle tines broken off or carve your own out of a bamboo spatula or spoon like Emma
Lucet crafters recommend smooth cords or yarn to get started learning how to do lucet cording. Embroidery floss is a nice smooth thin cord that comes in many different colors, plus is fun for making friendship bracelets.
Learning the technique for using a lucet is easier seen than described, so you may get more out of watching the video clips than trying to read the directions.
The technique is similar to finger knitting, only you are working with just one or two "fingers" or prongs. You wrap the yarn around the prongs and then pick up the bottom loop over the top loop to make the stitches. Here are some basic instructions to get started.
- 1. Thread the yarn through the hole in the lucet.
- 2. Wrap the yarn in a figure eight around the prongs. Start with the yarn around the back of the left prong, then the front of the left prong, over the the back of the right prong and bring the yarn to the front.
- 3. Turn the lucet clockwise (one half turn) to wrap the yarn around the prong, creating a second loop.
- 4. Lift the bottom loop up over the top loop with your fingers, a knitting needle or crochet hook.
- 5. Tighten up the string by tugging on the yarn in the lucet hole.
- 6. Turn the lucet clockwise and repeat to desired length.
For more written instructions see "Basic Instructions for Creating Period Cord with a Lucet Using a Turning Method" or "How to Use a Lucet."
Start with a Plastic Fork
How to Make a Lucet Cord - Video
Evelyn Skae gives a visual demonstration on how to make a lucet cord and also gives a bit of the history of lucet cords and their uses.
More Instructions on Using a Lucet
More instructions on using a lucet along with a bit of the history of this ancient sewing and craft tool.
- How to Lucet
The lucet, a horn-shaped tool often made from wood, dates back to the Viking era. Lucets were in common use throughout Europe until the 16th century. A luceted cord is exceptionally strong and slightly springy.
- How to use a lucet | Stringpage
The usual lucet is a two-pronged gizmo used for making cord (although there can be 4 or more prongs- spool knitting is an adaptation.)
- Making Lucetted Cord | Northwest Territory Alliance
A lucet is a smooth two-pronged implement of wood, bone, shell, or horn. It can be found with or without a handle, and it was used from Medieval times through the 18th century for utilitarian and decorative cording.
- How to Use Your Lucet - Right Hand Guide
The following directions for using a lucet are for right handed users.
- How to Use Your Lucet - Left Hand Guide
The following directions for using a lucet are for left handed users.
- Lucet Cord Instructions | How to Use a Lucet Tool
This is a tutorial on how to use the lucet to make a basic braid. Lucets, also known as knitting forks, have existed since Viking times and are easy to use.
- How to use a Lucet
A graphic with pictures and instructions on how to use a lucet.
- Lucet basic single
Picture tutorial showing how to make a basic single lucet braid.
- Lucet Flat braid
Picture tutorial showing how to make a flat lucet braid using two different color cords.
- Regia Anglorum - Anglo-Saxon and Viking Crafts - Weaving with a Lucet
Many everyday objects were hung from the waist by these type of cords. Useful for drawing up bags and purses, garments were laced up with cords or 'chains' as they were termed.
- How to Lucet | Atenveldtus Glorious
This method of making lucet cord does not turn the lucet making it more ergonomic and less stressful on your wrist. It has been widely accepted as an alternative to finger loop braid.
- How to Use a Double Lucet
While I have not been able to formally document the use of a double lucet, the technique is simply a variation on basic luceting, creating a thicker, sturdy, two-color cord, by essentially working two single lucets slotted together perpendicularly. T
- Lucet Basic double
Picture tutorial showing how to make a basic double or two stranded lucet braid.
- Viking Answer Lady Webpage - Scandinavian Lucets
Most of the Anglo-Scandinavian lucets found at York appear to have been crafted from a cow nasal bone, which naturally has the general shape seen here.
- Medieval Crafts - Lucet
A collection of Medieval Crafts including lucet on Pinterest.
- The Lost Art of Knitting Nancies
How to make and use Knitting Nancies to make long braids that can be used for a variety of crafts.
- Costume Wardrobe: Lucet
Recreating a bone lucet.
- Intreccio con Lucet
Historical information about the lucet on an Italian historical re-inactment website.
More Lucet Cord Tutorials on YouTube
Some of the many other tutorials that I found on how to make lucet cording from B MacSwain, Jimmy Beans Wool, MsLaceyDesigns, Stitch Diva and Little Woodlanders. Many of the knitting shops and companies are stocking lucets and doing demonstrations to teach crafters this viking craft.
Take a look at several of them to get an idea how this technique is done.
Using Lucet Tools
Materials Needed to Make Lucet Cord
- Cord, yarn, embroidery floss
- Optional: Books with Patterns
Lucets on Amazon
Amazon carries several different lucets.
Classic two prong lucet with handle measures 1 1/2 by 5 inches. Comes with instructions.
This larger lucet tool in cherry wood measures 2 1/2 by 8 inches. Comes with instructions.
The four prong lucet creates an i-cord much like that from a knitting Nancy, a knitting Jenny or a knitting spool. Measures 1 1/2 by 5 inches. Comes with instructions.
Wooden Lucets on eBay
eBay has wooden lucets available for making braided cords.
Uses for Lucet Cords
Lucet cords can be turned into flat, spiral or picot cords, fashioned using multiple threads or embellished by adding in beads. There are many different ways to use lucet cords once the cords have been made.
- Clothing ties (bodice, corsets)
- Drawstrings - bags, skirts
- Button loops
- Shoe laces
- Decorative cording, lace and trims
- Jewelry cords
- Purse strings
- Friendship bracelets
- Hair ties
Lucet Weaving Looms on eBay
These uniquely designed lucet weaving looms would be a fun way to teach children, tweens and teens how to lucet.
Cotton Cord on Amazon
For thinner cords, you need to start with thinner yarns; for thicker cords thicker yarns or cording.
Basic white cotton yarn is a good way to get started with a lucet.
Embroidery floss will give you even more color choices in making your lucet cord.
Try bamboo crochet thread for a different look.
Books on How to Lucet
Lucet Braiding on Amazon
For those who want to learn even more about using the lucet including different techniques, Lucet Braiding: Variations on a Renaissance Cord comes highly recommended.
Adding Beads with a Lucet
Find out in this four part visual demonstration from LucetFi how to add beads when making a lucet cord in this advanced technique.
Books Featuring Lucet Cord on Amazon
Lucets were used by the vikings to make cords which were used to decorate and embellish book covers.
A lucet is one of the techniques recommended to create the cord for a camping towel.
Lucets are included in a section discussing how strong cords were made using these tools as a way of knitting before needles were used.
Another older book on the History of Needleworks that includes information on the lucet.
More braiding techniques for you to consider.
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What do you think about using a lucet for crafting?