What Is Broomstick Lace?

Donn Saylor

Broomstick lace is a crochet technique that utilizes a knitting needle or a special broomstick lace needle to create a unique design. The loops and stitches of broomstick lace are wider and more open than traditionally crocheted methods, resulting in pieces that give a more lace-like appearance. Broomstick lace is sometimes known as peacock eye crochet or jiffy lace.

Broomstick lace requires the use of a straight knitting needle.
Broomstick lace requires the use of a straight knitting needle.

In the 19th century, broomstick lace was a popular form of crochet. In lieu of a knitting needle, a broomstick was often utilized during the creation of the piece, lending the technique its distinctive name. As broomstick lace evolved over the centuries, other long, slim items were substituted for the broomstick itself.

By traditional crocheting standards, broomstick lace patterns are considered easier to accomplish. In modern times, the technique is done using a crochet hook and a knitting needle. A specially crafted broomstick lace needle may be employed instead of the more traditional knitting needle.

The loops and stitches that comprise broomstick lace are loose and airy. The method is predominantly used in creating sweaters, blankets, and afghans. The end result is a piece that can keep an individual warm but allow air to flow through the stitches and loops, keeping the piece well-ventilated.

A standard chain stitch is the foundation of broomstick lace. The chain determines the length of the finished piece and serves as the baseline for the looping and stitching of the broomstick technique. Multiples of five are the typically recommended standard chain stitch to begin a broomstick lace project.

The first row of the piece may be done in broomstick lace, though most modern crocheters use single or half-double crochet stitches on this initial row. This further strengthens the foundation of the chain stitch. The second row is then created with broomstick lace.

During the actual broomstick lace technique, the crochet hook works off of loops from the first row, moving the loop from the hook to the knitting needle or broomstick lace needle. A loop is lifted through each stitch. After this process is complete, the loops are slid off the knitting needle in small groupings, typically three, four, five, or six loops simultaneously. As this is being done, the crocheter is working the same number of single or half-double stitches through the top of each grouping. Most crocheters find broomstick lace to be an excellent experimental source of crochet as it allows for a variety of different sized loops and groupings.

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Discussion Comments


@Mykol - Don't be put off by using the knitting needle with the crochet hook. It is helpful if you are somewhat familiar with knitting terms, but this stitch is really easy.

What I love most about broomstick crochet is how fast a project comes together. I am not one that likes to spend a long time to complete something, so immediately fell in love with the broomstick lace technique.

I also love the look of these patterns, as the lace design is very feminine. I can complete a pretty shawl or small afghan in just a few evenings if I stick with it.

These make wonderful gifts, as someone who receives a homemade gift like this usually appreciates the time and effort you put in to it.

I have made several baby blankets using a broomstick lace pattern, and they always love them.


Do you have to know how to knit to use the broomstick lace technique?

I know how to crochet a little bit, but wondered since you are using a knitting needle, if there are any knit stitches you have to be familiar with.

I was never able to get the knack of knitting very well. I am much better using one crochet hook than two kitting needles.

I know how to crochet a scarf and a baby blanket, but other than that have not done that much. This type of pattern sounds like it would be very pretty if it wasn't too hard to learn.

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