As promised, here is an introduction to broomstick lace crochet. It’s one of the first techniques that I learned, and is much less complex than it appears. If you can work double (US single) crochet and are reasonably dextrous – as you need to handle a knitting needle or broomstick as well as a crochet hook and yarn – then you can probably manage this quite well with a little practice.
Simple broomstick lace starts with a row or rows of double crochet stitches; a series of loops is then worked out of those stitches, and the loops are gathered into clusters using a further row of double crochet.
I tend to work with groups of 4, 5 or 6 stitches; the example here is worked in 6 groups of 4, and the wrap I made last week has 18 groups of 4. This can be varied to achieve different effects and to suit the yarn you have chosen.
I will use UK terms throughout, with US terms in brackets when I remember.
Abbreviations used: dc – double crochet (sc- single crochet)
Tools and materials:
This sample piece and the wrap are made in a polyester-cotton marl yarn. Initially I’d suggest working with something that gives you good stitch definition, for example a mercerised cotton like Wendy Supreme.
You will also need a crochet hook to suit your yarn. Here two 4mm (G/6) hooks are shown, alongside a large knitting needle or ‘broomstick’. I generally use a 20mm or 25mm knitting needle. You could equally well use a broom handle or curtain pole for larger loops.
n to the required length. In this example, it is 25 stitches: 6 groups of 4 plus a turning chain of 1.
Row 1: Turn, and work 1dc (sc) into the second stitch from the hook and every stitch until you reach the first chain. Alternatively, you could use foundation double (single) crochet (links to a Moogly tutorial) to achieve the same end result.
Row 2: When you have completed the final stitch, draw the loop up to the size of your knitting needle or broomstick.
Without twisting the loop, pick it up on the broomstick. Next, insert the hook into the back loop of the next double crochet along the row, draw up a loop and place it on the broomstick in the same way. (N.B. you can work in the front loop only, or both loops, if you prefer; each will give a different effect and you might wish to experiment a little at some stage to see which you prefer
Repeat this along the row, until you have the same number of loops on the broomsticks as the stitches in your row of double crochet (24 here). You may find that you need to even out the tension of the loops a little, especially the first few, which I often find are looser than the later ones. At the end of each row I count the loops, to be certain that I have neither missed a stitch nor worked two loops into one or more stitches. Here I have grouped the loops into fours to help illustrate the next step, though it’s not necessary to do so.
Row 3: Now, with the crochet hook, pick up the first four loops. In this group you need to work a locking stitch – like a slip stitch – and need to will do so at the start of each row like this. Lift the loops off the broomstick,yarn over hook and draw a loop back through the four large loops (one loop on the hook); yarn over hook and draw through the loop.
You can choose to chain one here, or not to (I prefer not to, but feel free to try both ways and see what you prefer). You then work 4 double (single) crochet into the group of 4 loops (or as many dc/sc as you have loops in the group if it is not 4). Pick up the next group of 4 loops and work 4dc (sc) into these and into each group of loops until you have 24dc (sc) or as many stitches as you began with. I find that it sometimes helps to hold the loops with one finger of my left hand so that I don’t get them crossed.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until your work has reached the desired length. To finish, work one or more rows of dc (sc), fasten off and weave in the yarn end.
This larger piece, my spring wrap, has 31 2-row sets of the lace pattern and a row of dc to finish. I then dip dyed it in Dylon Sea Green (which is very pale due to the polyester content of the yarn).
As I experiment and learn more about increasing, decreasing and variations on Broomstick Lace Crochet, I’ll add more tutorials and patterns. Please share what you’ve learned, too, and feel free to ask questions or suggest changes that would make this clearer.