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.
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.