September 5, 2010

Remember Macrame? Watch-Guard from Peterson's Magazine

"Charlotte and Sophia affectionately threw around his neck a watch guard the result of their joint industry..." - A Gift Book of Stories and Poems for Children

Watch-guards were used to keep a pocket watched securely attached to a man. Watches were expensive in the mid 1800s and a big item for pickpockets. When robbing someone, pickpockets could be sure that the victim has at least a watch from seeing a watch chain, but a watch-guard hung the watch around the neck, keeping it more discrete.  

When I was in elementary school, I remember getting a book out of the library that taught macrame, this was the only pattern I learned. I was surprised that when I saw this watch-guard pattern, that I could still do it relatively simply. The instructions recommend securing one end of your word down in front of you and tying a ribbon around your waist to tuck the end strings in. I wish I had thought of that, I always just sit on the ends with makes for some interesting posture while knotting. Modern instructions with good pictures can be found at Handcrafted by Elaine. I was going to post a tutorial but this one is very easy to understand.  Be sure to use the "square knot" instructions.

A watch guard is a good gift for a gentleman, especially if he's a "soldier." At reenactments, the men frequently have to know what time it is but don't want to lose their watches in the field when they will never find them again. Historically, this was a popular gift, it was a chance for a lady to show off her skills while giving a gentlemen something useful which also demonstrated a concern for his safety.  

"Lucy had been sitting up nearly all the night finishing a watch guard for her father." - True Briton


Similar to a watch-guard chain, this "fork" or lucet makes an interesting, square-shaped cord. Those of us that are knitting sontags have the option to make their cord on a lucet or by crocheting it, both are historically accurate options. I am thinking of trying to use a lucet as not many people normally have lucet braiding on their clothing. 

There is a good video on how to use a lucet here. It turns out, you don't actually need a lucet to do this, so I plan to try and make one out of cardboard and see if it works. I think I may practice by making a "neck chain" like it says in the instructions. I love hairwork so a chain that looks like hairwork will probably look very pretty. 


  1. As far as I know, lucet-braiding is practically the same as "loom knitting" or "spool knitting", only reduced to two rods.
    That's how I'm making the cord for lacing my silk medieval dress, actually.

  2. I remember doing spool knitting when I was little, but I don't really remember much about it.


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