Posted in crochet history

Crochet Lacework, Then and Now, Part 2

© Anna Murphy, 2018

Like an alphabet or musical notation, crocheted fabric is made up of individual units, or loops. You join the units into words, chords, and stitches. They become phrases and riffs, then novels and arias. Or hats, shawls, and heirloom bedspreads.

These loops lend themselves well to airy, lacy fabric. You can achieve this with different techniques, like using a fine yarn with a larger hook, by increasing the number of chain stitches, by pulling up the loops longer on the hook, and so forth. The detail is ultimately seen after the final product has been blocked.

Some crochet stitches have the name “lace” in them, like broomstick lace or hairpin lace. These are stitches used to create a lacy fabric, and they each use a device as indicated in their name. The hairpin lace tool or loom was modeled after 19th century hair ornaments but is not recognizable today as something to put in your hair. Long loops are made on the loom which are joined in the middle with the hook. These strips of loops are taken off the loom and incorporated into intricate designs with regular crochet stitches.

HairpinLaceStole56
Vintage (open source) Hairpin Lace Stole

Broomstick lace uses…a broomstick. Or a 50mm knitting needle, if you prefer, to make multiple, long, even loops which are joined with a crochet stitch as you work the loops off the stick. Depending on your pattern, you might join five together, then the next five, and so forth. These clusters of loops are joined with regular crochet stitches to make shawls, tops, scarves, and the like. Broomstick lace can be sturdier than hairpin lace, but you can vary each of them with the weight of yarn and your pattern. Continue reading “Crochet Lacework, Then and Now, Part 2”