Book Report: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

IMG_3396I picked this up on Saturday afternoon and finished it before dinner. It was a breath of fresh air for me from Inheritance. Well, perhaps not “fresh” air–more like a well-needed burp. This book would be great for boys  aged 7 to 12 (and girls too if they’re not above a bit of nose-picking).

The plot of the movie of the same name resembles the plot of this book in much the same way that an apple resembles an orange. Which is to say, not at all. The conflict was aged-up for the movie (hint: the addition of a love interest). However, both are clever and funny. I don’t know if I could pick my favorite.

One thing I liked better about the book was that the dragons had more personality. This is of particular interest to me because the next story I’m looking at writing involves (to put it simply) griffin familiars. Cowell’s dragons have different motives from the humans, which creates friction and conflict between them as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, tries to figure out what makes his dragon, Toothless, tick.

I need to consider what kinds of conflicts would be inherent in a society made up of both humans and sentient griffins. It may be that because the griffins’ sentience stems from their bond with humans they operate on the same kinds of motives, but then again perhaps it is not so simple.

Lucet: Turning String into Better String


The other night, my husband decided to sew a pouch for his golden dollar coins, and I volunteered to lucet a drawstring for him.

Lucet is a simple, old technique–dating back to the Vikings at least–for making braided cord. I learned it from some of my medievalist friends in college.

All you need is a lucet. (If you’re patient, you can even do it on two of your fingers.) My handy husband made this lucet for me.


I usually use #10 crochet cotton, but you can use any string or yarn. You start from the bottom and make a figure-eight around the prongs, then the beginning of a second figure-eight.


Next, you bring the lower string up over the prong and let it go. Cinch the whole thing up carefully. Finish your figure-eight, going around the other prong, and pull the lower string up over the other prong. Cinch again.


If you keep doing that, you get cord!


Having grown up with a Strickliesel (Knitting Nancy), I find it easier to use this thing, instead of my fingers, to draw the loops up and over the prongs.


It makes nifty square cord, good for laces, drawstrings, necklaces, and what-have-you.


I realize this isn’t a thorough tutorial. If you want to learn more, just go Google “lucet.” Even better, find someone with a lucet in your local branch of the SCA. She (or he) would love to teach you.

Happy yarning!