Demonstrations>Trims and Embellishment>Trims
Requiring Very Little Equipment
Hook Techniques -
following technique uses a crochet hook but can also be done
with just the hands. A crochet hook makes the process much
quicker. While Crochet as we know it today was not practiced
in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a type of braid
was made using a hook very similar to a crochet hook. A beautiful
example of extensive use of this technique can be seen on
a man's cape in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The braid,
carried out in a lovely gold is then attached to a cream satin
cape in various rectangular designs and along the seams. This
braid is simply a crochet chain. The advantage is that it
can be worked while it is being attached to the garment so
that you only make as much as you need. To work the chain,
place a loop around the crochet hook, catch the thread and
pull it through the first loop to make the second loop. Repeat
the process until you have as long a cord as necessary.
Lucet cord is a very strong, very dense double looped cord
which was used in period for every thing from ties to embellishment.
The 'knitting nancy', which has four prongs instead of two, as
in the case of the lucet, produces a four looped cord and
is really a form of knitting. The common lucet looks like
the illustration to the right, is approximately four to five
inches long and two to three inches in width, and is usually
made from wood but realistically can be made from any rigid
material. In period, bone, ivory, wood and even cardboard
were used. Theoretically, you can make lucet cord on your
fingers as well but, again, an actual lucet makes the process
much quicker (at least it did for me). The hole at the base
is placed there so that, as the cord is being worked, the
finished length can be threaded through the hole to keep it
out of the way and from getting tangled.
Lucet cord is worked in one of two ways. The first, shown
below does not require that the lucet be flipped at every
looping. I learned to loop over the right hand prong, flip
the lucet, and then loop over the left hand prong which had
become, in the flip, the right hand prong. Sound confusing?
Try the process below and it should become a bit more clear:
|Step 1: winding the cord. Start from the left
and keep that end stationary.
||Step 2: first loop. Pull the first loop on the
right up and away from the lucet, keeping the left end
||Step 3: the pull-through. Take the first right
loop over the second right loop and pull it down.
||Step 4: the pull-down. Do not pull too tightly.
Place the cord to the back of the left prong to form the
second left loop.
||Step 5: the second loop. After forming the second
left loop, take the first left loop and pull it up and
away from the lucet.
||Step 6: the second pull-through. Take the first
left loop up and over the prong and pull it down in the
same fashion as the first right loop.
When pulling the loop tight over the other cords, do not
pull it too tightly. You will need a bit of play to be able
to pull the first loops over the prongs of the lucet. This
particular technique takes a bit of practice to work but is
well worth it.
I've made a couple of lucets out of craft wood from a local
craft shop by taking a coping saw and cutting the shape out
of the wood, sanding the edges down and finishing the wood
with a light, protective stain. If you don't have the resources
or inclination to do this, try Lacis
online store. They sell a very nice lucet at a good price.
It is listed under "tassels and cords".
Cording Techniques -
uses simple twisting to force single threads together into
a complex corded structure. The simplest method is to attach
one end of your thread to a stationary object and the other
end to the middle of a pencil or a hook which has been inserted
into a drill. Twist the thread until it is fairly taut and
begins to "buckle" together in little twists. At
this point, find the middle of the thread and keep it stationary
while placing the two ends together. Gently release the middle
end and encourage the threads to twist together. A variety
of cords can be made this way but physical limitations are
a problem. Many craft stores and some fabric stores carry
a cord maker and most tassel supply companies carry a device
which has several hooks that can be turned at the same time.
in it's online catalog under "tassels, cords" has
some very good equipment for cord making which is also fairly
More Complicated Techniques -
These last two techniques require rather
simple equipment which can get fairly pricey. If you know
someone who has wood working tools such as a lathe and table
saw, you can probably get them to make the required tools
for you. Or, you can get creative. One person I know of, who
has taught bobbin lace for many years, still uses the bobbins
she made from tinker toys, which had been glued together.
However, if you are able to afford the equipment, try Lacis
online catalog. Bobbins, cards for card weaving and some looms.
also carries the Candace Crockett book, Card
Weaving, which I highly recommend.
Bobbin Techniques -
A Gimp or guimpe (Fr) is a flat trimming of silk, wool, or
other cord, sometimes stiffened with wire, for garments, curtains,
or upholstery. The word is an abbreviation of the term "guipure"
(Fr) which, in period, denoted any of the various braids made
using bobbin lace techniques. These were often heavy, made
of linen, silk, built cords or heavy threads, metal threads
or combinations of the previous, with the pattern connected
by brides rather than by a net ground. The brides were often
twin pairs of threads running down both sides of the trim.
This technique really requires its own demonstration. For
examples, visit the upholstery section of a fabric store and
look closely at the construction of some of the braided trims
for sale. Most of these can be accomplished with just a few
bobbins and various threads. The best text that I have found
(so far) for getting started is Practical
Skills in Bobbin Lace by Bridget M. Cook. Not only
does this book offer good advice on lace making in general
but the section on how to construct gimps is easy to understand
and contains good illustrations.
Card Weaving Techniques -
This is also a technique which requires its own demonstration.
Card weaving is ancient and extensive. It was used throughout
Central Asia and all over Europe as a means of decoration.
Card weavings can be found in Scythian and Pazyryk graves,
Norse burial sites from the tenth century, and on Arabic and
European clothing from the late sixteenth century.
Card weaving is really a hybrid between twisted techniques
and weaving techniques. The required equipment can consist
of very little; a number of cards, usually between 2"
and 4" square with holes drilled at each corner is the
minimum. Cards can be square, hexagonal or even triangular
and made from actual cardboard, very thin wood or thin plastic.
The threads pass through the holes and are anchored on both
ends. The cards, when turned, act as sheds, lifting the various
threads so that the weft thread may pass through. Depending
on the colors of each warp thread and the patterns, the number
of turns and the number of holes in the card, the pattern
of the final weaving can be very complex. For a look at this
technique, click here.
For an excellent text on card weaving, I recommend Card
Weaving or Tablet Weaving by Russell Graff I also
recommend Cadace Crocket's book, Card Weaving, which
is currently not stocked by either Amazon or Barnes &
Noble but can be found at Lacis
in their book catalog section.