Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Sojourn Into Broomstick Lace

Yesterday, I met with my crochet guru - she taught a one-time class on Intro to Broom Lace and Crocheting with Beads. It was a one-afternoon only class, so we didn't go into a lot of depth, but it was fascinating enough that she has me intrigued about using this technique in my Freeform work.

What is broomstick lace? From what I understand, it's not a separate type of crochet, but rather, it's a technique in crochet that can be very useful in doing openwork lace-like effects using both a crochet hook and a HUGE knitting needle (size 35 or 50). At one time, people used broomsticks to hold the loops, and thus the term "broomstick lace." But I borrowed one of my teacher's size 35 needles. I also understand that someone over on Ravelry uses an empty paper towel roller and it works fine too. You're just using the roller/needle/dowel/pin etc. as a "holder" to make very large loops within the crochet.

In knitting, this would be the equivalent of perhaps a drop stitch, where you wrap the yarn around the needle several times and then "drop" it on the next row to create an open, loose effect in the work.

In the magazine Crochet Fantasy, No. 181. It is the Summer 2005 Crochet Fantasy. This magazine includes A Sampler of Broom Stick Lace, Waves Stitch Shawl, Desert Safari Shawlcho, Shell Cardigan and Iris' Blooming Cardigan.

The cardigan on the cover is crocheted using the broomstick lace technique, with Tess Yarns Microfiber Ribbon, which is 100% Nylon Microfiber with a size E crochet hook and size 35 circular knitting needle. This cardigan shows how sophisticated broomstick lace can be when done in contemporary fibers.

I don't think that I PERSONALLY would want to make a whole sweater, blanket or shawl out of it, but it was really fun playing with the technique and I can definitely see how it could be used in many different ways. The very uniqueness of it makes it fascinating to me. If you'd like to explore it or at least take a quick look at it, there's an online tutorial of the technique here.

The latest issue of Interweave Crochet has the pattern for a broomstick lace capelet/shawl.

We also played BRIEFLY with beads - and how to incorporate beads into both knitting and crochet. My teacher highly recommended the Lily Chin book called
KNIT AND CROCHET WITH BEADS by Lily Chin, Interweave Books. It has some gorgeous things in it, and she's pretty detailed about telling you how to put the beads in your work, and the different methods and effects of how you place the beads. I checked this book out of the library for now (because I'm so broke, I hate to buy another book) but I think I may eventually break down and buy it because it looks like a good resource - again particularly as I start bringing beads into my work, which I think I'll soon be ready to start doing.

I never was a big fan of Lily Chin, but I have to admit this book is a pretty good one. I really like the idea of combining knitting with crochet and beads. In the book, she demonstrates and explains using 16 different methods of putting beads into your work.

My teacher also suggested that she likes to prestring beads onto her yarn by dampening the end of the yarn with a dab of glue. This makes the yarn firm enough to string the beads, and then of course when you are done, you just snip off the crusty end of the yarn. This is much easier than putting them on with a needle.


Hilde C. said...

Thank you for the tip about the "Knitting and crocheting with beads" book. I've been in a knitting-with-beads-kind-of-mood lately, and now the book is on my wish list :-)
I'm glad to hear that you liked my summer evening shawl :-)

Carol said...

I know you would be intrigued by the broomstick. I several afghans with this technique years ago. I liked it because it goes so quickly. I did it in strips then croched them together. Even with all the holes it makes a very warm afghan.

Yarn Thing said...

Hi, Thanks for your wonderful comments on my Larger Than Life Bag. It was a lot of fun to make. If you should have any questions please feel free to ask any time!!

aka Yarn Thing