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How to Lucet - How to Make a Lucet Cord

Updated on May 30, 2013

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.

Lucet with cord by maco nix. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Image by Netalloy
Image by Netalloy

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
  • Snoddgaffel
  • (the Swedish term for cord fork)
  • Knytgaffel (Swedish for tie fork)
  • Slynggaffel (Swedish for coil fork)
Lucets were commonly used by people of these eras to make strong braided cording for clothing, shoes and to hang items on belts.

Fork by Netalloy from Openclipart.

Semple S and Lowe S. 2005. History of Lucet. Modern Viking. With photos in the Webarchive.

Making Lucet Cording

Image by Asfridhr
Image by Asfridhr

Lyre Shaped Lucet with cord by Asfridhr. Used under a Creative Commons License

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.

Flights Of Fancy Ancient Lucet Knitting Kit
Flights Of Fancy Ancient Lucet Knitting Kit

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.

 
Image by Asfridhr
Image by Asfridhr

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.
To finish off the lucet cord pull the cord off of the lucet prongs, cut your yarn cord or thread with at least 6 inches and then pull the end through both loops, making sure that the yarn will tighten and close the loops and not unravel.

For more written instructions see "Basic Instructions for Creating Period Cord with a Lucet Using a Turning Method" or "How to Use a Lucet."

Wooden Lucet in use by Asfridhr. Used under a Creative Commons License

Start with a Plastic Fork

Image by asolario
Image by asolario

Plastic Fork by asolario. Royalty Free Use.

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.

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

Making cording with a lucet is really easy. You only need a lucet and something to make the cording like yarn or even colorful embroidery floss (hence fun friendship bracelets)

You can even take the lucet with you when out camping as an easy way to Knit in the Woods.

  1. Lucet
  2. Cord, yarn, embroidery floss
  3. Scissors
  4. Optional: Books with Patterns

Lucets on Amazon

Amazon carries several different lucets.

2 Prong Lucet Braiding Tool
2 Prong Lucet Braiding Tool

Classic two prong lucet with handle measures 1 1/2 by 5 inches. Comes with instructions.

 
Lucet Braiding Tool
Lucet Braiding Tool

This larger lucet tool in cherry wood measures 2 1/2 by 8 inches. Comes with instructions.

 
Large 4 Prong Lucet Braiding Tool
Large 4 Prong Lucet Braiding Tool

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.

  1. Rope
  2. Clothing ties (bodice, corsets)
  3. Drawstrings - bags, skirts
  4. Button loops
  5. Shoe laces
  6. Decorative cording, lace and trims
  7. Jewelry cords
  8. Purse strings
  9. Friendship bracelets
  10. 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.

Lily Sugar 'N Cream Yarn, 14 Ounce Cone, White, Single Ball
Lily Sugar 'N Cream Yarn, 14 Ounce Cone, White, Single Ball

Basic white cotton yarn is a good way to get started with a lucet.

 
DMC 117F25-PC36 Embroidery Popular Colors Floss Pack, Assorted Color, 8.7-Yard, 36/Pack
DMC 117F25-PC36 Embroidery Popular Colors Floss Pack, Assorted Color, 8.7-Yard, 36/Pack

Embroidery floss will give you even more color choices in making your lucet cord.

 

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

Celtic, Viking & Anglo-Saxon Embroidery: The Art & Embroidery of Jan Messent
Celtic, Viking & Anglo-Saxon Embroidery: The Art & Embroidery of Jan Messent

Lucets were used by the vikings to make cords which were used to decorate and embellish book covers.

 
How to Knit in the Woods: 20 Projects for the Great Outdoors
How to Knit in the Woods: 20 Projects for the Great Outdoors

A lucet is one of the techniques recommended to create the cord for a camping towel.

 
Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting on a Loom, with Over 30 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)
Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting on a Loom, with Over 30 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)

Lucets are included in a section discussing how strong cords were made using these tools as a way of knitting before needles were used.

 
The History of Needlework Tools and Accessories
The History of Needlework Tools and Accessories

Another older book on the History of Needleworks that includes information on the lucet.

 
200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave
200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave

More braiding techniques for you to consider.

 

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What do you think about using a lucet for crafting?

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    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @CassandraCae: It is a fairly easy technique to master, at least for making cording.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @GrammieOlivia: Hope you enjoy learning how to use the lucet.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      Never heard of this before, thanks for a new craft, always looking for something to do with my time!

    • CassandraCae profile image

      Cassandra Kuthy 4 years ago from Ohio

      i definitely will put this on my things to try list.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      Thanks to you, I just learned how to lucet! Now I will teach my daughter. Lenses like this make the time spent on Squidoo worthwhile. Thanks a ton.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @CuAllaidh: Hope you are able to learn how from this lens. It is a pretty easy technique to learn, I think, easier than knitting or crocheting. Good luck with your UFP (Unfinished project) list.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @Cynthia Haltom: I can imagine people making lucet cording around a fire. This craft seems to take me back to those early time, more than knitting or crocheting.

    • CuAllaidh profile image

      Jeff Johnston 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Very cool article. I am a member of the SCA and often see people using these, always thought it would be fun to make one and possibly learn how to use it, but never got around to it, might just have to down, course gotta wade my way through my UFO (unfinished objects) first.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      It looks like a cool craft activity.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @TommysPal: I think the simplicity (and the practicality) of the technique makes it one that will appeal to men too, especially if they want strong cords for outside use.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @Arod17: It was an interesting technique to research.

    • Arod17 profile image

      Arod17 4 years ago

      Very informative Lens thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      TommysPal 4 years ago

      That's really awesome and so easy. I have never heard of this before. I want to go try it right now. Thanks for sharing.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
      Author

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @SheGetsCreative: Especially if you just use twine and twigs. If you can make a lucet from an antler, you could make one from a smooth branch.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Really interesting craft idea - passing on to a friend who's currently backpacking in the NW. I bet he could make a lot of lucet cord in is down time!