Thursday, June 30, 2022

Knitted Cord, Revisited

Years ago, I wrote more than one post on the subject of lucets, specifically oriented toward discussing the subject of whether the Vikings used lucets, or a similar knitting technology.   

This month, Piecework magazine has published an article on "knitting nancies," or knitting spools, spool knitters, or corkers, or any one of more than half-a-dozen other names for a simple device that makes square cord that is similar in appearance and structure to luceted cord.  The Piecework article can be read here

The author of the Piecework article,  Mary Polityka Bush, does not discuss the Victorian lucet, or the controversy about whether the Vikings used lucets (and if so, what they might have looked like).  She merely discusses what she was able to discover about the device from early modern times (i.e., late 16th century and later) onward.  

What Ms. Bush found isn't much!  She found a suggestion that a kind of "knitting frame" might have been in use as early as 1535 and that such a device was permitted to be used by professional knitters.  She also discusses modern variants of the two-peg knitter, and that such "spool" knitters could come with different (even) numbers of pegs.  But most of her article is anecdotal evidence of the use of spool knitters by 20th century fiber artists, and lovely, full-color photographs of different modern spool knitters.  

So the evidence for the invention and development of modern "spool knitters," like the evidence for Viking-era lucets, is similarly anecdotal and inconclusive.  It is even possible that the Vikings or another early people invented the "lucet" but that the invention was lost, and later reinvented--possibly more than once.   That's one reason I keep posting my little articles on the subject of knitted cord.  Maybe through collecting such snippets I may eventually locate enough information to make an attempt at solving the mystery.


  1. Not sure if you've seen it already, but there's a recent article arguing (from linguistic analysis) that the tinbl-bein artefacts are weaving artefacts, not cord-related at all. (

    1. I had not heard of that erticle, Lena; I have not been very active with my blog lately, due to developments in my personal life. Thanks for the link!