In some of the textile fragments from clothes in viking age graves on the island Helgö, more common known as Birka, can you see some kind of braid or lacing sewn on the edges. I am no expert but when I look at it I think it looks like a square braid of wool. And my guess is that its both to protect and strengthen the edge but also an easy way to decorate and bring more color to the clothes.
So I wanted to learn to make this square and a bit elastic braids. For that I need a lucet. Today there is easy to find wooden lucets that look like a big fork for sale. But I think this is a modern design or earliest from the late medieval age.
And there is archaeological findings of small lucets in bone and horn from different places in Sweden that date to around 900 and 1000th. There is findings from both Lund and Sigtuna, probably more places.
Picture source: http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=42539
So I decided to try to craft a small lucet in elkhorn.
I have never worked in horn before but with a small saw, some different files and sandpaper it worked out ok. My first attempt fell to the stonefloor and broke. The second attempt worked out better but I was not satisfied until attempt number seven. Never give up when you are crafting!
Here is a picture of the original find from Sigtuna and my lucet. Its hard to se in the pictures but they are more or less the same size.
Picture source: http//sigtunamuseum.se/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Tinblbein-RF.jpg
Finally time to try using my lucet. I started out with the simplest way to braid in a plant dyed woolyarn. I really like how easy it was to start and how elastic the braid turned out. It is also a nice little textiletool to carry around with you. Next up is plantdying some woolyarn and make braids for my next approndress.
Sources and more info:
That lucet find I used as inspiration comes from the collections at Sigtuna museum:
Here is another picture of the findings of lucets in Sigtuna:
In one of my favorite blogs Linda Wålander writes about bj511 and the lacing on the textile fragments there:
Susannna Broome writes about braids and lacings in viking age findings here:
A blogpost with more reading about lucets in history from a reenactor in UK: