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lucet-cord-msg - 2/21/01


Making lucet cord for trim, lacing.


NOTE: See also the files: straw-crafts-msg, basketweaving-msg, rope-msg, favors-msg, p-favors-art, netting-msg, macrame-msg, lace-msg, knitting-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: Elise A. Fleming (1/31/95)

To: markh at sphinx

RE>CRAFT - Lucet cord


Greetings!  A very quick reply, probably full of typos since I

am quite tired.  My mother died on Sunday and I have been getting

ready to leave for NJ on Wed. plus working full time.


The lucet tool is shaped like a lyre and fits into the palm of the

hand.  Yarn or string is wound around the two "horns" in various

patterns, forming a square cord.  It bears something in common

with macrame and some descriptions are found in books on Needlework

and on Knots.  It take some 9" of yarn to produce 1" of cord.  One

inch of cord takes about 1 minute to make, without interruptions

and working quickly.  Many who use the lucet in the SCA have never

learned to work it quickly.


Pardon the brief description.  I'm trying to get at the mail before

my week-long absence from the ether.





From: Elise A. Fleming (1/31/95)

To: Mark Harris

RE>CRAFT - Lucet cord


My last scanning of mail until Feb. 8...The cord is used for

tying things -- shoe laces, as ties on clothing, bags, pouches...

Mistress etc. Sir Hilary had some of mine tying on her back armor.

Works well as laces in gambesons.  There are many different patterns

but I don't know them and the gentle in Florida who does still

hasn't sent me his info.  Oh, well..





From: Elise A. Fleming (2/28/95)

To: markh at sphinx



Greetings!  Ashley's _Book of Knots_ (found in a number of library

systems) has a number of different methods for doing "lucet" al-

though not all are listed as "lucet".  A gentleman in Trimaris

taught himself many kinds of knots by that book.  It is, according

to most and me, difficult to read and interpret but some people

are more visual-minded and can make sense of his words and draw-

ings.  The Trimarian sent me the name of another book but I can't

locate the name now.  It's another book on knots, so if your a

library "habitue'" you might try looking through a number of

knot books.





From: dickeney at access2.digex.net (Dick Eney)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: cording

Date: 1 Apr 1997 00:04:09 -0500

Organization: Express Access Online Communications, Greenbelt, MD USA


Eric & Lissa McCollum  <ericmc at primenet.com> wrote:

>I'm looking for some information on how to

>make my own fine cording.


>I've just about finished a spiral bead fillet

>(glass beads strung with silk thread), and

>wish to braid my own cords to attach to...

>the ends, so I can tie the fillet ... together in the back.

>But...I know nothing about cord making.


>So...can anyone help? How period are the

>various macrame techniques? Are there books

>I can look in for how-to's and documentation?


One very period way to make a good strong cord is to make lucet cord.

You say you've never made cord, so I assume you also have never done

"tube knitting" on a knitting spool, otherwise I'd say it's two-loop tube



To make lucet cord (it helps to have the little device, which looks like a

u-shape of wood with a little hole in the bottom of the U, but you can do

it without that):

Take anything with two prongs; if you have two clean pencils, that'll work

too; I've used two knitting needles held parallel.  It helps to have a

crochet hook but you can use a knitting needle or your fingers.


Wrap your yarn/thread around the two prongs in a figure 8 so that you have

two loops on each prong.  (Secure the bottom tail of the yarn.)


On each prong, lift the bottom loop over the top loop and over the point

of its prong.  Tighten by pulling gently.


Make another figure 8 of loops.  Repeat lifting over and tightening.

Keep on until it's long enough for your purpose.


I'm told lucet cord is 7x stronger than leather the same thickness.


=Tamar the Gypsy (sharing account dickeney at access.digex.net)



From: alysk at ix.netcom.com(Elise Fleming )

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: cording

Date: 1 Apr 1997 14:16:54 GMT


Eric & Lissa McCollum <ericmc at primenet.com> writes:

>I'm looking for some information on how to

>make my own fine cording.  (deletion)  So...can anyone help? How

>period are the various macrame techniques? Are there books

>I can look in for how-to's and documentation?


Greetings.  I believe macrame is out-of-period by a few years.  A

leather thong or a ribbon would work.  If you send me your mailing

address I can send you directions on how to make "lucet" cord but you

would need a lucet tool.  These are sold at Pennsic and some other

places.  It produces a square cord, the fineness of which is determined

by the original material...crochet yarn, sewing thread, knitting yarn,

etc.  Lucets/lucettes, which are lyre-shaped, have been found in

late-Saxon Thetford according to an archeological magazine.


Alys Katharine, who has made "miles" of lucet cord



From: Eric & Lissa McCollum <ericmc at primenet.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: cording

Date: 1 Apr 1997 12:05:03 -0700


My thanks to those who replied to my cording

request! You all have given me some clues

to continue my search. I knew I could

count on this group. :)


I also came across


in my searchings.


Gwendolen Wold



From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming )

To: Mark S. Harris

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 10:24:01 -0600 (CST)

Subject: Re: cording


Greetings, again!  Yes, there are several merchants at Pennsic who sell

lucets of varying degrees of "niceness".  Some are pretty crude.


The archeological information is from pp. 192-193, Artefacts of

Skeletal Materials: a Typological Review.  Copyright 1985, Arthur

MacGregor.  The ISBN is 0-7099-3242-1.  I believe the title of the book

is Bone, antler, ivory, and horn.  I will put the sheet into the mail

for you along with my drawings of how to do lucet.


There is also "The Lucette Book" written by Daniel Phelps.  I have no

further information on it but I do have a photocopy of some of the

pages he sent me.  It is apparantly part of a larger text since the

page numbers are 152-168.  Phelps cites the archeological reference but

gives the title as what I believe is the chapter title. Daniel is/was

from Florida and sold lucets at Pennsic but didn't know how to "work"

them.  I taught him one year and gave him a copy of the information

from Ashley's Book of Knots.  He came back the next year having figured

out how to do many different things with the lucet.  He tried teaching

this that Pennsic but he is (or was) a poor teacher.  He can do the

process but couldn't explain _how_ he did it.  The Lucette Book

contains a number of drawings and explanations of the variations.  I

have tried to do them but I'm just as bad reading from a 2-dimensional

drawing as he was explaining the process to live people, so I haven't

gotten anywhere yet with it.





From: priest at vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: cording:  Macrame and Lucet

Date: 3 Apr 1997 18:03:30 GMT

Organization: Vassar College


Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!  


Alys Katharine (alysk at ix.netcom.com) wrote:


<snip of macrame info - see macrame-msg>


>Lucets/lucettes, which are lyre-shaped, have been found in

>late-Saxon Thetford according to an archeological magazine.


Could you provide a reference for the magazine article? I'd like to see if

there's any more current information there beyond what I've been able to find

out so far.  Here's what I've found on lucets.


Artefact #3874 on the World of the Vikings CD-ROM is a picture of "Lucet,

Bone," from Lund.  Artefact #2237, also "Lucet, Bone," is from York.  Artefact

#2453, also "Lucet, Bone," from Coppergate (York) shows a photo  of a

two-pronged implement with a piece of lucet cord being worked on it.  Artefact

#2455, also "Lucet, Bone," is a photo of several implements from Pavement

(York).  None of these have holes drilled in them; they're simply two-pronged



In Arthur MacGregor's _Anglo-Scandinavian Finds from Lloyds Bank, Pavement,

and Other Sites_, The Archaeology of York vol. 17, fascicule 3 (York:  York

Archaeological Trust, 1982), on pages 95-96, is discussion of seven

"double-pronged bone implements."  They are "nasal bones of cattle" and have

two prongs at one end.  They've been highly smoothed, especially at the

pronged end.  He cites comparison with finds from other sites, especially one

from Lund.  These seem to be the implements pictured in the Viking CD-ROM.


The Lund piece is alluded to on pp. 192-193 of _Arthur MacGregor's _Bone

Antler Ivory & Horn:  The Technology of Skeletal Materials since the Roman

Period_ (London/Totowa NJ:  Croom Helm/Barnes & Noble, 1985).  There he says:


        "Blomqvist and Martensson (1963) have published a double-pointed

implement cut from the shaft of a long bone which they identify as a

thread-twister (see also Graham-Campbell 1980).  Although not identical to the

find mentioned above, somewhat similar objects have been recovered from late

Saxon Thetford, Norfolk (unpublished) and from twelfth-cetury contexts at

Castle Acre, Norfolk (Margeson in Coad and Streeter 1982), Waltham Abbey,

Essex (Huggins 1976; see Figure 93d) and Aardenburg in the Netherlands

(Trimpe-Burger 1966).   Two others are in the British Museum (unpublished).  

Plaited yarns could have been produced from threads attached to the terminal

points and drawn through the tubular shaft of the bone. This function has

recently been confirmed by Elisabeth Crowfoot (in Coad and Streeter 1982), who

suggests the term 'lucet'."


The Crowfoot source is:


J.G. Coad and A.D.F. Streeter, "Excavations at Castle Acre Castle,

        Norfolk, 1972-1977," _Archaeological Journal_ 139 (1982),

        pp. 138-301.


I haven't read Coad & Streeter yet.  However, I haven't seen any references

anywhere else to any extant early cording that displays the structure of lucet

cord.  Accordingly, I am not yet convinced about the identity of the pre-1066

pieces as lucets.  After 1066, well, Thora will be long dead. ;>


Carolyn Priest-Dorman                    Thora Sharptooth

priest at vassar.edu                        Frostahlid, Austrriki

          Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: shafer at spdcc.com (Mary Shafer)

Subject: Re: cording

Organization: S.P. Dyer Computer Consulting, Cambridge MA

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 17:53:03 GMT


There's a device called "The Wonderful Rope Machine" or some such name

that you can get from any good craft supplier.


Also, there's a book called "Tassels" that gives a very good

description of how to make cording.  I think it also shows how to make

a device like the rope machine.  The construction is fairly simple,

too.  I'll track this reference down if anyone wants it.


Mary Shafer  DoD #0362 KotFR  shafer at ursa-major.spdcc.com

URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html



Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 07:57:37 -0400

From: The Gahrmann Family <gahrmann at bellsouth.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: LUCET


Ah!!! A topic that has driven me crazy for a number of years.  Finding

period sources for this craft has been difficult and quite unsuccessful

for me.  All I have found is below:

"Knots, Useful and Ornamental" by George Russell Shaw, 1972, Collier

Books, McMillan Co.

        This book contains a great picture of different Lucets but none of them

seem to predate the 1700's (I have a photocopy sent to me and have not

seen the entire book.  There be more in there.)


The only period (I think) documentation I've found is the reference to a

Lucet found in "Artifacts of Skeletal Material: A Typological Review"


It states that "a double-pointed implement cut from the shaft of a long

bone which they identify as a thread-twister" was found.  And that

similar objects were found from late Saxon Thetford Norfolk.  I have not

been able to find any further information on this.

        This is all I could find.  I'd certainly appreciate any other

information anyone could come up with.





Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 09:08:39 EDT

From: SNSpies <SNSpies at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: LUCET


Hi, Isabeau.


Yes, it is frustrating, isn't it?  There really isn't much more information

that is different from what you already have.  There are plenty of the small

two-pronged bone implements...but absolutely no archaeological remains of

cords which would have been made from them.  Very odd. But then, this kind of

situation also occurs for tablet weaving in that there are no tablets known

from after about the 12th century, and yet there are hundreds of extant bands

in collections.  As to that, we must assume that the tablets were made out of

materials that haven't lasted such a paper and parchment. As to lucets, all I

can tell you is that I use a 2-pronged bone one and have made lots of cords.

You can not use the slingshot- or lyre-shaped ones for medieval reenactment as

they are way way out of period.


Let me quickly amend that to say that two objects which are possibly "lucets"

were found at York.  One is a carved Y-shaped antler tine while the other is a

piece of flat antler with two short points.  (P. Walton Rogers, Textile

Production at 16-22 Coppergate, p.1790)  So either shape - round with hole or

flat - would be appropriate.





Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 09:22:56 EDT

From: SNSpies <SNSpies at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Fwd: OED


This was just sent to me.


<<  the OED says the following:

lucet (1) a pike


lucet (2) Obs.

a 1650 in Furnivall Percy Folio (1868) II.402 Shee that liues by nille and

tape, & with her bagge & lucet beggs. 1858 Simmonds, Dict. Trade, Luced, a

lady's lace loom, made of bone, ivory or wood. >>





Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 00:32:27 -0600

From: Fred Yoder <fyoder at mesa5.mesa.colorado.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Lucets


This site is from the Regia Anglorum pages, a group that

seems to have their  collective poop in a group in terms of

research and such...

> Regia Anglorum attempts to recreate a cross section of English life around the turn of the first millenium. Our actual self imposed brief is AD950 - 1066, although our events may sometimes be set a few decades either side of these dates.


These folks are in England and do some truly impressive

work...  I highly recommend them and their site.  They have

some practices that I'd sure like the SCA to look at.  The

main drawback in terms of SCA practices are that they limit

their time frame considerably, and their geopgraphic is

limited similarily...


Good description of a lucet tool a how to use it...



Fred Yoder

Grand Junction, Colorado



From: Sharon Palmer <palmer.74 at osu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Lucets and Nalebinding

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 06:02:35 -0500

Organization: WOSU


Mary Shafer wrote:

> I think Clotilde sells lucets (it's either Clotilde or Lark Books) and

> I'd try Lacis for the books, since they have books on just about every

> fiber-related handcraft known.


If you are at all handy with woodworking a lucet is easy to make.

It is a U shape with a slight bulge on the ends, so the thread

doesn't slip off by accident.  The one I have has a hole at the base,

to pull the finished cord through.  I have seen pictures that have

a handle.  The lucet is about 2  1/2" across, maybe 3" long.

It should fit in your hand nicely.


Even I was able to make some for a class.  I cut the outline

with a jigsaw, but a coping saw would work.  I rounded the

edges with a file and finished with sandpaper.  Take some

time making  sure there are no rough edges to catch the thread.


Start by winding the thread in a figure eight (looking from the top)

then wrap it around the lucet and lift the previous loop over the top.

Pull the thread to tighten each time, then turn the lucet to

the other side for the next stitch.


I haven't used mine for a bit (arthritus). If you have trouble, email me

and I will try to be more specific.


Ranvaig the Weaver

Sharon Palmer     palmer.74 at osu.edu



Date: Fri, 22 May 1998 18:33:21 -0500

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Lucets


I'd like to mention that the World of the Vikings CD-ROM has an excellent

photo of a lucet made from a cow nasal bone.  Microscopic examination of

the bone shows a history of cord being moved over it consistent with



We have one gentle here in the Kingdom of Ansteorra who has done quite a

lot of work researching lucets and lucet weaving.  This is our Central

Region A&S Officer, Fionna ni Cealleagh <dankat at myriad.net>


I highly recommend contacting Fionna and asking about the results of her



Gunnora Hallakarva



[Submitted by: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>]

Subject: Re: lucets

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 13:15:25 -0500

From: "Rowanwald Central" <rownwald at gte.net>

To: <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>


Baron Donal wrote:

> Please, what is a lucet?


A lucet is a small two-horned tool used for braiding cord. Most often, it

looks like a tiny lute, hence it's name. It appears to have been used from

before 700ce (the time of the artifact found in Britain) through to the

late 1800's. There are numerous post-period examples of lucets, the cord,

and instruction books - and baring the two sweetbags found in the Colonial

Williamsburg Museum (thank you, thank you, thank you Mistress Anne Hatfield

for suggesting that trip!!), no other positively-identified evidence of

period lucetted work has been found to bridge the time between Viking and




once known as the LucetLady



[Submitted by: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>]

Subject: Re: lucets

Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 13:32:20 -0500

From: "Rowanwald Central" <rownwald at gte.net>

To: "Rebecca Stidam" <arianwen76 at hotmail.com>, <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>


> Poster: "Rebecca Stidam" <arianwen76 at hotmail.com>

> Can anyone suggest any books, texts, web sites, etc where one could find

> documentation on LUCETS?  Any responses would be greatly appreciated and

> can be directly emailed to me.


> Arianwen ferch Angharad


Various books on British Viking sites show a picture of a tiny bone tool

with two "horns" - easy to recognize as a lucet. The picture is fairly

common. Other photos or documentation I've not been able to find (except

for two sweet-bags dated 1600-1650 and 1610 that have lucetted cord to

close them, and which are, go figure, no longer on display because they're

being restored....)




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org