New Approaches to Broomstick Lace- The Bombay Vest with Elongated Loops

ScannedImageIn case you haven’t noticed I enjoy playing with stitch techniques and my latest design is no different.

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?Crochet World_April2015_Cover

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.

Bombay Vest

Bombay Vest- April 2015 issue Crochet World Photo courtesy of Annie’s

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.

Spanish Combs Scarf with Erika Knight Yarn = A Great Effect

ScannedImageSo at my home it already feels like summer. I would really like to experience spring, but I guess since winter skipped California this year that summer is due. However that only means that I can starting wishing it was fall all that much earlier!
So it makes it fitting that I am releasing a new” 2 in 1” pattern this week. Often when we see a photo of a pattern we do not think about how the yarn choice really affects the finished item, but this pattern capitalizes upon it. I had the pleasure of working with some gorgeous Erika Knight Yarns to create a scarf, Spanish Combs Scarf, which has two very different effects depending on the yarn used.

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Vintage Spanish Combs Scarf Photo courtesy Blue Water Fibers

The stitch technique itself was inspired by the ornate combs that adorned the hair of women in Spain during the centuries gone by. These “combs” nestle together and form an interesting dance of positive and negative space.

Spanish - M2..

Maxi Spanish Combs Scarf Photo courtesy of Blue Water Fibers

The Vintage Yarn creates a scarf that has a soft drape and nice open stitch work for a smooth edged classic look, while the Maxi Yarn has a warm chunky image. The fringe gives it a very retro look (it is a version that I have already been asked to make up as holiday gifts). These two scarves essentially share the same pattern, with the only difference being the finished sizes, the materials and the gauge.

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Maxi Spanish Combs Scarf Photo courtesy of Blue Water Fibers

If you get the opportunity, please check it out (available at Craftsy & Ravelry), and if you have the opportunity to play with some of Erika Knights Yarn, do it. You won’t be disappointed.