Broomstick lace crochet, also known as jiffy lace and peacock eye crochet, is a historic crochet technique believed to date at least from the 19th century and carried out using a crochet hook and another item such as a large diameter knitting needle. Traditionally the end of a broomstick was used, hence the name, but the modern variant uses a specially made 'king' pin, a lightweight plastic knitting needle or smooth wooden craft dowel (We will refer to it as a 'broomstick' in the rest of this booklet). A larger diameter 'broomstick' will result in a lacier effect, while a smaller will provide a more closely woven effect. Because the fabric created is soft yet stable, it is well-suited for clothing and blankets.
As with other forms of crochet the base of the pattern is a chain stitch. The number of stitches in this beginning chain are normally counted in multiples of 3 to 6, depending on the desired effect. The first row can either be immediately done in Broomstick lace, or instead incorporate a single or half-double crochet stitches. The "broomstick" is then used in the next row, as you pick up a loop through each of the stitches in row one and transfer it from the crochet hook onto the 'broomstick'. This part of the process is similar to knitting as all stitches in the row are being picked up and held at one time on the 'broomstick' being used. Once a loop has been pulled up through every stitch, the loops are then worked back off the 'broomstick' by sliding them off in groupings of 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 loops (depending on the desired effect) at a time and working the same amount of single or half-double crochet stitches through the top of each group of loops at the same time.
The overall appearance of the work will vary based upon the number of loops in a group, the size of the 'broomstick' being used, as well as the type of yarn being used. Experimenting with variations is encouraged so that the most desirable effect for the item being made will result. Typical items made using this technique include afghans, baby blankets, scarves, shawls, and other items where an unusual lacy effect may be desired.
A wide range of yarns are available and suitable for using in Broomstick lace so don't think you have to use a heavy fancy yarn. Although the Broomstick is entirely suitable for using thick mohair type yarns, we have found it equally suitable for Aran weight wools, ribbons, double knit cotton even 3 ply yarns all with the same size 'broomstick' and crochet hook.
For those of you who do not have one of our Broomstick King Pins, they are hand turned 20 and 22mm diameter by 350mm long beech wood pins - other diameter and lengths can be made to order.
These pins are usually used with a 4—5 mm crochet hook, although anything from a 3mm - 7mm hook would be suitable - depending on yarn thickness.
Now available as a download.
15 pages, Down Loadable or A4 loose bound format
Pub. Undy Yarn Crafts 2006