Other types of cord

Making, Pictures, Queries, Resources

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Other types of cord

Post by Colin Middleton »

Having read AD's thread on Lucet, It's started me thinking of some of the issues that I'm having with making cords.

I can quite happily make a finger-loop braid upto about 2 feet long (ok, so I'm not that happy when I'm doing it and get positively furious if I drop it, but that's by the by). But there must have been a call for cords longer than that. For example, to spiral lace a doublet or for lacing longer boots (which is my current project).

So, how do I make a longer thread? What fiber should I use for a shoe lace (a cheap, disposable item, as they were never fitted with proper aiglets).

P.S. I'v tried leather and I'm a bit sceptical about it. At that thickness it gets too fragile.

Many thanks
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Brother Ranulf
Post Centurion
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Canterbury

Post by Brother Ranulf »

If you want cheap and very strong, I recommend nettle fibre - you will need to harvest it in Spring when the first tall growth has risen. I use garden gloves to run a fist down each stem first - this removes all the leaves and side shoots. A small sharp knife trims long threads down each side of the stem, cutting through each node as you go. You need to dry the threads for a while then remove the woody, pale pieces.
Then twist the threads together as in making a bowstring - add more pieces irregularly and you can make as long a cord as you want.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Squish
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:34 pm

Post by Squish »

Birch or willow bark is good for cordage too.

GinaB
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:07 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by GinaB »

If you want to make fingerloop braids longer than your arm stretch, you're best to enlist the help of a second person. They then push each movement up tight. You can make very long braids in this way, with a bit of practice.

Other long braids can be made by plaiting - and 8 element plait looks very like (superficially), a 5 loop fingerloop, or a lucet braid. The easiest way to do long plaits is to wrap the excess around bobbins or into a butterfly knot, letting out a bit as you need it - you can braid for as long as you have thread in this way.

Twisted cords - such as you see on modern curtain tie-backs (but finer!)can be found as trimming, this method can be used to make very long cords from coarser material, such as you'd see in ropes, or very fine silk. You can buy all sorts of cord winders these days, but the simplest thing to do is to wind out some thread - how much will depend on what type - between two rigid points. (As you would prepare loops for fingerloop braiding). Take the loop formed closest to you off the fixed point, put a pencil through this. (Ensure the other end won't pop off it's fixed point). Twist the pencil in one directon, making the threads twist together. Do this until the group of threads is tightly twisting - almost kinking on itself. Carefully remove the pencil, but keep holding the thread taught. Place the pencil at the centre of the thread, fold it in half, and attach the loose end to the fixed point with the other end. Now, using the pencil, twist the threads in the opposite direction until tight. It takes some practice, and becomes so much easier with a cord winder - or even a drill with a cup hook attached, but the length that you can produce is really only limited by the length of a room for you to stand in.

Another method for making cords is tubular tablet weaving - found on medieval purses and the paternoster string in the MoL. This method can produce very strong cords, and again, isn't really limited in length.

Threads - well, for strength, filament silk - as this is the continuous length as unwound from the cocoon - there are no short fibres to break, as there are with other threads. However, that my not be suited to what you need. As a rule then, the more threads used to make up a 'cord', the stronger it is likely to be - as one can break, but there will be others which may hold. (Which is why a lucet cord can be so annoying - it can unravel in the same way as knitting or crochet can once broken). I always find linen very suitable for anything I want for 'everday' strong use where silk would be just too much.

However, all thread methods would need some type of finishing for the ends - be it a knot or binding/stitching, or an aiglet - anything to avoid the technique coming 'undone' if that makes sense. Are shoe laces never fitted with aiglets? Knots aren't likely to be suitable as you'd have difficulty getting them through the holes.

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

Acording to the MoL Dress Accessories book, only one shoe/boot lace has been found with an 'aiglet' and this was simply a peice of iron bent over the end. Not decorative or finished in any real way.

Like I said, cheap and disposable.
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

GinaB wrote:If you want to make fingerloop braids longer than your arm stretch, you're best to enlist the help of a second person. They then push each movement up tight. You can make very long braids in this way, with a bit of practice.
The seems to me to be a very inefficient way to make a long cord. I can see that it's a great idea for shorter items (like points) and worth doing where you need the extra strength (such as arming points), but I'm guessing that you'd not normally make long briads with it.

So the realistic options are:
Fingerloop (expensive?)
Plaited
Twisted
Tubular Tablet (good for decorative threads)

I'm guessing that I just want twisted shoe laces as it sounds like the cheapest of the options.

I'll also guess that I need to use either linnen or hemp (or nettle, but that sounds like far too much effort) for my shoes. Perhaps silk for the nice laces on my posh doublet.

Would wool ever be used?
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Karen Larsdatter
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:56 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Karen Larsdatter »

Colin Middleton wrote:The seems to me to be a very inefficient way to make a long cord. I can see that it's a great idea for shorter items (like points) and worth doing where you need the extra strength (such as arming points), but I'm guessing that you'd not normally make long briads with it.
Image
Detail from a retable by Nicolás and Martín Zahortiga at the Museo de la Colegiata de Borja, c. 1465.
Colin Middleton wrote:So the realistic options are:
Fingerloop (expensive?)
Plaited
Twisted
Tubular Tablet (good for decorative threads)
How about whipcord?

User avatar
Shadowcat
Post Centurion
Posts: 597
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:03 am
Location: London

Post by Shadowcat »

A sock, on four needles, with a coloured pattern? Fascinating! (Or is that 5 needles? My eyesight must be going!) Sorry to hijack.

S.

GinaB
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:07 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by GinaB »

Would wool ever be used?
There's no reason why not.

Karen - you beat me to it - I'd have quoted that pic too - but as usual you have the online link! And in colour - I've only seen it in black and white - and to that...

never noticed the knitting Shadowcat! (can't really make it out on my small pic) - yes, 5 needles I reckon!

User avatar
ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Posts: 299
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:57 am
Location: Xanadu

Post by ViscontesseD'Asbeau »

What's more remarkable about that - if it is a sock and I guess it could be anything - is she's knitting toe upwards, which is not the way we'd think of as 'traditional' in Europe... Wonder what it is? More than one colour isn't too surprising - plenty of examples of it from the earliest of times.

User avatar
Sophia
Post Centurion
Posts: 806
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:46 pm
Location: Camberwell, London
Contact:

Post by Sophia »

I think it may well be a sock - probably a baby sock as children tend to have short feet in proportion to the width of their calves - think of difference between adults long socks and kids long socks.

Am I correct in assuming that this picture is Spanish - if so perhaps the starting at the toe is an Arabic influence (seem to remember that Egyptian socks are knitted from the toe up). Only a conjecture so correct me if I am wrong.

Soph :D
aka Thomasin Chedzoy, Tailor at Kentwell Hall

Post Reply