Some years ago, during the annual “Woolfest” in Cockermouth near Carlisle, I found at the stand off the Mulberry Dyer (http://www.mulberrydyer.co.uk/) a tool called ‘Lucette’.
This tool predates French Knitting and was used for braiding a wide range of everyday items.
In my research on the internet I found a very interesting range of design, some with a handle, some without like the one above.
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia
A lucet is a tool used in cord making or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking and Medieval periods, when it was used to create cords that were used on clothing, or to hang items from the belt. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loop like knots, and therefore will not unravel if cut. Unlike other braiding techniques such as kumihimo, finger-loop braiding or plaiting, where the threads are of a finite length, lucetted braids can be created without pre-measuring threads and so it is a technique suited for very long cords.
Archaeological finds and a literary description of lucets strongly suggest that its use declined after the 12th century, but was revived in the 17th century. Its use waned again in the early 19th century.
A modern lucet fork, like that pictured, is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other. It may also have a hole through which the cord can be pulled. Medieval lucets, in contrast, appear to be double-pronged, straight-sided implements, often made of bone. Some were shaped from hollowed bones, left tubular, presumably so that the cord could be drawn through the centre hole.
In a seminar, where we were asked to show an example of our practice, I decided to demonstrate how to use a Lucette.
Two of my fellow students, Claire and Vicky agreed to volunteer and received a crash course in “lucetting”!!!
We used wool from the Vicarage Farm in Penryn, which I had bought some time ago at the Falmouth Farmers Market.
My two volunteers learned the trick of the trade very quickly and enjoyed the new techniques.
I was inspired by the artist Francoise Dupre, whose work incorporates French knitting and participation.
de fil en aiguille snaith nasc, 2004
French knitting, Four needle knitting, Irish knitting stitches, wide range of yarns including plastic, cotton and wool and digital prints
Installation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
The project is based on social interaction and creative collaboration between artist and participants. The design of the installation is inspired by the Museum Formal Garden and Irish knitting.
-Floor piece: 4m x 4m x 10cm-
-Wall piece: 209 video stills, 6cm x 4.5cm-
-Mixed yarns and digital prints-