Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Lucet Cords: Playing with basic stitch, threads and tension

I'm assuming you know what a Lucet is. If you don't go to this UK Lucet site to find out HERE. It's where I got my Lucet, the wooden one he sells. I've also got 2 bobbins to do advanced lucetting. But not got that far yet.

So, I did a lot of basic lucets in various different threads to see how they behaved

Top to bottom, left to right
Handweavers studio 2 orange/yellow rough threads
Medium blue crochet thread
Fine white crochet cotton
Medium crochet string in natural
Silky cotton knitting wool in silvery/greys
Gold crochet synthetic thread
Masson Mills Matlock Bath 2 thread cord red & buff.

I found it hard to get the tension right until I started using this Fast Grab technique from Ziggy of the Lucet company. YouTube video HERE. If you use his fast grab method, then when you grab the thread to do the next stitch, you are controlling the tension of the previous stitch. No pulling and prodding and fiddling around.

So, next I decided to play with tension. For this I used the first of Ziggy's two techniques, the slow one at the start of that video. And basically did the stitches without pulling them tight, just looped and turned and looped and turned. It's very fast, you can do long cords very very quickly...

In this picture above there's three cords. The middle one is a basic no tension cord, unevenly bubbly, quite lace like.

The bottom one I did a basic no tension cord then lucetted it for a second time also with no tension, makes a satisfyingly thick untidy cord as you can see in the picture below. Yes I did do a loose lucet cord then picked it up and lucetted it loosely again.

 The top one, I did a first lucetting loosely, then used that loose lucet cord and lucetted it again, with a medium tension, as you can see in the photo below. It'd have had better results if I did a more even loose tension as there's the odd bobble, but I like the quality of the cord as being thick but with some strength from double lucetting it.

I rather liked the idea of lucetting a cord once, then again to see what happened. So, I picked up one of my original playing around with threads cords, which was a variegated sock wool yarn from Lidl. I felt it was quite disappointing when done as a single medium tension cord. So I started playing around:

So from the bottom to the top:
1. my original basic lucet cord, obviously the variegated nature came out as inch long colour blocks. Rather boring.
2. Single lucetting of 2 strands of wool, one is the variegated sock wool, the other is a loosely twisted cotton thread from Texere Yarns in Bradford about a decade ago, with a 1inch long slub every 2 inches. Took the two threads together and lucetted them once. I like the way it broke up the colour blocks of the variegation.
3. Single lucetting of a strand of the variegated sock wool and a fairly tightly twisted black cotton cord (again Texere yarns). Gave a more uniform cord as no slub, and broke up the colour variations rather nicely.
4. Double lucetting of one strand of variegated sock wool. Firstly lucetted loose tension, then the loose cord was lucetted with medium tension. Bit lumpy but gave a nice chevron type pattern with the variegation.
5. Double lucetting of one strand of variegated sock wool. Firstly lucetted with medium tension, then the medium cord was lucetted with medium tension again. I lvoe this, it gives the chevrons in a very neat and tactile and strong cord.
6. 2 separate cords on this line! Both initial lucetting of one strand of varigated sock wool.
6a. Right - medium tension on first lucetting, then that medium cord lucetted with loose tension. This is my favourite, because the stitches are elongated and there's an openness to the cord.
6b. Left - medium tension on first lucetting. Then for the second lucetting I took the medium lucetted cord plus an unlucetted strand of the black cotton cord used in no.3. Frankly it didn't add much to the mix lol. But worth a try!
7. Top cord - I got out my spool knitter/ french knitting doll and used a single varigated sock wool strand in that. Then I lucetted the resulting french knitting/ icord. Gives a nice chunky thick square cord but the variegations got a bit lost.

Detail pictures (bottom to top again):

 Cords 1, 2 & 3. Bog standard then with white slubbed then with black cotton

 Cords 4, 5 & 6b. Double lucetted loose then medium tension, medium then medium and medium with a black cotton cord

Cords 5, 6 a and 6b and 7. medium then medium tension, medium then loose, medium with a black cotton cord and finally french knitting icord lucetted with medium tension.

For anyone wanting to try double lucetting, a rough rule of thumb with medium tension, is you need 3 to 4 times the length of first lucetting, to make the second lucet to the required length. I've still not worked out how much of the original thread you need to make a particular length of lucet cord, at any tension, though it's far less with loose tension than with medium tension.

Finally, I have also been playing around with gimps. That is a cord that runs through the middle of the lucet cord. This technique I picked up from the StitchDiva 7 Day Lucet Challenge HERE.

 Again bottom to top.
1. Bottom - bog standard lucet using bog standard red knitting wool.
2. Middle - lucet with gimp of black cotton cord (as used above). This was before I realised you needed to adjust the tension as you go along of the gimp and the lucet stitch. So it's lumpy. I did it using Ziggy Fast Grab. You just have to count the number of stitches you do then flip the gimp, so bit more complicated than using the StitchDiva's No Turn technique. But doable. If you concentrate.
3. Top - The gimp was french knitted out of the bog standard red knitting wool. Then a soft orange crochet cotton was used as the lucet thread. Appalling lack of tension and stitch control. But I like the way the final gimped cord looks like there's some sort of ladder stitch surrounding it.

Detail of the bog standard, single gimp and single french knitted gimp.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, the lighting is shocking and I forgot to set up the daylight lamp.

What's next? well, I've got sidetracked onto my spool/ french knitting doll. I was going to carry on french knitting then lucetting it. But, I have a large quantity of 100% Tussah Silk 4 ply (apparently made exclusively for Robin & Russ Handweavers in England. I googled them, they're in West USA somewhere and still going strong. This was a cop I acquired from the 'leftovers' bin at Texere Yarns in Bradford about a decade ago), which is a slightly odd pink and pretty disappointing as a lucet cord,  however, it really comes alive and looks like a golden pinkish brown when french knitted. So. I am french knitting the entire cop - no I have no idea how much thread it is - and am planning to either knit it into a scarf, or, if there's not enough for knitting, shape it into waves and sew together where it touches to make a scarf that way. I have ideas on my pinterest board HERE

I think I've used about half of what was on the cop. Won't know til it's finished, but it's probably about 6 metres of french knitting so far. :)

There's a lovely Lucet group on Ravelry HERE. And they have all sorts of ideas about using Lucets I've not explored yet - I've still to do fiddling around with gimps and also beads from StitchDiva's challenge for starters......

But why did I start lucetting? I owned it from way back and wanted some thicker cords to try some free embroidery couching samples with. Oops, not done any of those yet giggle.

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