While working on my medieval gown, I struggled with a lacing cord for it. There isn’t much that is suitable in Wellington, and I didn’t really have time to order something in.
I used a simple linen cord to hold it the dress together while I was working on it, but it started fraying pretty quickly, and also made the dress look a little too Friar Tuck robe-ish.
I researched cord options and came across lucet cords. I read a couple of tutorials (I’m all about reading tutorials, youtube is not my thing) and realised that lucet cord is basically a two-finger yarn lei – and I know how to make yarn leis!
Unfortunately along with a dearth of period-appropriate cording in Wellington, I haven’t been able to source a lucet fork in NZ.
I started out really make do: with a plastic fork with the middle tines broken out, and linen thread. The resulting cord was beautiful, but the making process was rather unsatisfactory. I was only able to make rate at about 2cm an hour, and the thread kept slipping off and then I would have to unravel to get to a point where I could be sure I was at the right place to restart, and it was all quite discouraging.
I was also slightly worried that the cord was going to be so tiny and delicate that it wouldn’t be strong enough to lace my dress.
So I went and found some wider linen cord, and I improvised a lucet fork:
Or, as Mr D puts it, in tones of scandalised horror worthy of the primmest spinster headmistress “You broke a fork!”
I keep trying to convince him that the fork was already broken (it had a bent tine), I just improved the break into something useful, but every time he sees it he mutters about breaking forks.
With a better fork, and bigger starter cord, my lucet cording went along quite speedily. Unfortunately I quickly discovered that it was going to be too thick for lacing, but I persevered, figuring I could use it as a belt.
And then, when it was almost done, a bit more research on medieval cording suggested that while it may (note emphasis!) have been done in the very early medieval period, there is no evidence for lucet cording in the 14th century, and I really should have done finger weaving.
So now I have a length of lucet cord with no obvious use.
Felicity, however, loves it, as did a friend’s cat. Felicity wants to just hold it and rub her face against it (she’s all about texture) and Poh the cat adored chasing it. It pulls and moves quite satisfactorily. So, I have a historical (for the 18th century, if nothing else), elaborate, expensive, cat toy?
The Challenge: #9 Brown
Pattern: Based on the tutorial at Rosalie’s Medieval Woman.
Year: 10th-12th centuries (possibly), or 17th-18th centuries (definitely – and what I’ll most likely end up using it for)
Notions: 12m of linen cord
How historically accurate is it?: The end result is probably not accurate for the period I wanted it to be for (14th century), but possibly accurate for earlier periods, and definitely accurate for later. Obviously my metal fork is not period!
Hours to complete: about 3 hours, all done while hanging out with friends or watching TV.
First worn: It’s getting plenty of wear as a cat toy, but nothing else!
Total cost: about $7.
I may not like YouTube tutorials, but I’m learning to embrace it in other ways, because look:
Felicity makes her film debut!