Tied in Knots

A beginner’s story on how to find your personal passion.

A few years back I was introduced to the art of making square, single color, Lucet cord for use in garb making as lacing cord or drawstrings. I sat in the company of our very own Mistress Ann Greye and fumbled helplessly braiding knots so tight the crochet yarn wouldn’t move a millimeter let alone slide gently through allowing me to make a loop to create the next round of self knotted braided cord. She was gentle and supportive as she sat making cords so swiftly and efficiently she didn’t even have to look at her creation as she was making it…in minutes she had several inches made as I sat still struggling to get past starting it without tying a knot so tight it was immovable and needed to be cut out to restart the project. I was all thumbs and felt like a hopelessly lost duck that was far out of its element. After a week of struggling with my new found drive to figure this string thing out I finally discovered how the string moved and got it to work…it was neither pretty nor efficient yet but I finally figured it out.

Move forward several months and many feet of plain, square Lucet cord later…I am not proficient at making general purpose Lucet cord. It’s my first Pennsic…I am busy trying to take in ALL the THINGS…I agree to take a Lucet class with Mistress Ann who still makes me look like a child who is fumbling with two thumbs and 3 toes on each hand. And sometime during this single hour of advanced Lucet techniques for beginners it happened. I was struck with an illness…the light bulb went on…and in a single hour I learned how to make flat Lucet cord, 2 and 3 color Lucet cord – stripes, buttonholes, dots and dashes – and I was so absolutely hooked! I had become obsessed with string…

In that single hour the passion I found for string became an unstoppable force. Suddenly, within hours of class, I found myself teaching others how to make all the wonderful and exciting things I had leaned. I craved to discover so much more. Master Robert Grey saw this flickering flame in me and bought me my first book on Inkle looms and weaving. He bought me my first weaving tools. He saw a passion and talent in me so he made me my first Inkle loom after that Pennsic. And so it was, my passion for fiber arts was born.

My passion for making things is strong, not making them for myself but making them for others. To see the look on their faces and know I made something just for them is so rewarding. Learning new techniques drives this passion, but the single most moving part of this for me is picking apart the techniques I have learned from books or have been taught by others into small digestible easily learned parts which enable me to more easily teach them to others making it easier for them to learn. I have learned the true passion is not doing the thing but teaching the thing to others and lighting the fire within them and seeing the light bulb go on for them and the passion within them awaken.

I have found my true passion is really sharing the knowledge I have learned with others to make it easier for them to learn what they desire and make them better at doing it. My true passion is a quest for knowledge to be shared…the heart of what our society is built upon.

Article and photo by: Lady Máirin Ó Nialláin

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