With the Bombay Vest, in The April 2015 of Crochet World, I was playing with broomstick lace. This classic crochet technique is one that I find has a great untapped potential. It creates such a iconic “peacock eye” appearance, but what if you use those loops a little differently?
For someone new to the concept of broomstick lace, it is a process in which you pull loops through a crochet base and over a large knitting needle (or as in times past a broomstick, hence the name; although it can also go by Jiffy Lace due to a long ago popular pattern). Once all these loops are placed on a needle, they are then grouped, usually in sets of 4-5 loops and single crochets are worked into the set of loops. The single crochet is most traditional, but any stitch can be used to solidify these loops into a group.
One of the ways I decided to play with this stitch was to simply twist the loops before filling it with stitches. This gives a very different positive/negative space appearance, almost more silhouetted, making you recognize the space between the set of stitches then the loops of “eye” created in the center.
Then I took this one step further, by attempting to create 2 different heights of lace using the same knitting needle. One of the limitations with broomstick lace, in my opinion, is that the height of the row is limited by the size of the knitting needle (or broomstick) you are using. Yes, this tool gives you even and consistent loops, but often they are smaller then I might like, I want something really open, really tall. So I found that I could accomplish this by using every other loop of a set, and pulling the unused loops back into the ones that I have selected. As a result I have a loop set that is twice as tall as the needle created. (To get a better visual of this effect, please watch my video here). My only note of caution is to make sure that if you are going to pull up loops that you make sure that you do not drop the last loop from the needle, make sure that this is a loop that you elongate the length on, as it is part of the last stitch of the row below, and you do not want this to unravel.
When playing with these techniques I ended up creating a swatch, almost by accident, and thought it offered a great, almost retro feel, and immediately thought of a vest to wear. Then to find the proper yarn, I was looking for something that was not to springy and offered great drape, so Paton’s Bamboo Silk worked as an easy fit. This is a fun work project to work up, but I have to say I really enjoy the approach to the technique. So I hope that you consider giving it a try and see what broomstick lace can have the potential of being.