At Cudgel war this summer I bought a lucet, on which you can make cords of infinite length. I tried it the first week I got it, but had not yet learned the proper technique, so the silk I tried it with produced a sub-standard product.
A week or two ago I found some cotton yarn in my deep storage, and went ahead to do some practice cord with that on the lucet. I started by doing just a short cord, to get back into the swing, testing with my left and right hand both to see if I was using the wrong hand. I am left-handed for writing, but sew with my right hand, and was luceting with the right as well.
After the first short cord I came to the conclusion that I can do with the left, but the right is what feels most natural. I actually had to try doing it left-handed at Visby because a lady there had just learned and got stuck and needed some assistance to untangle a mess – and she was left-handed. I didn’t really reflect on it at first, that it was actually left-handed, but I could decipher it without too much trouble. So that is why I decided to try it with the left at home with my own lucet.
Each lucet, being hand-made, is a little different so using it most efficiently is a matter of practice, and the size of your hands compared to the two tines, the length of the tines, the width between them and the angle. I think the tines on my lucet are a teeny bit too long, but I can produce a smooth cord on it nevertheless.
So after producing several metres of brown cotton cord I switched over to white silk, using the same, rather thick yarn which had not worked for me at my first attempt. This time I had to be careful of the twist of the yarn, make sure I worked it the right way, and un-twist when it built up at the bobbin. I also found that I could work it entirely reversed, a necessity since one finger was bleeding and discolouring the thread, and I just couldn’t stop!
Anyway, from this white silk I produced a cord for my new stiffened bodice which is now entirely finished. The outside is an unbleached linen, the lining is silk satin, and the shoulder straps are tied down in front with linen cord, also produced on the lucet. I could remove the polyester satin tape which I had been using to close the bodies, so the front now laces up with my new silk cord, and stays beautifully, thanks to it being slightly flexible.
Making linen cord on the lucet is also some sort of badge of achievement, as linen yarn tends to have lumps here and there, but I used good quality bobbin lace linen and worked up a length of lucet cord in fairly short amount of time.
After finishing that white cord I remembered that I have other dresses where I am using the same polyester tape for cords, and started in on making more cord in the same thick silk, this time in black. For this I worked out exactly how to use the twist of the thread most efficiently, worked out how to hold the yarn in my hand and which movements produce the best result for this yarn. This means that right now my right hand is feeling slightly sore, as I’ve been working with my lucet the past few days, using new and strange muscles.