What is….broomstick lace

Conjure up some magic, either with a broomstick or a super-large knitting needle, for a lacy crochet stitch.

Also called jiffy lace (because it’s so quick to work) or peacock eye crochet, this form of pretty, open crochet is worked with a large knitting needle (or a broomstick
if you’re feeling very daring!) and a standard crochet hook.

Broomstick lace dates back to the 19th century and gets its name from being worked with a broom handle, which was the most conveniently available big needle for ordinary people. This technique, full of twists and loops, is actually much simpler than it looks. A combination of large loops are worked over the big needle and gathered together in groups of 4-6 stitches to make lacy patterns that have a gentle twist. You can use double, half treble, treble – or indeed any other type of crochet stitch – to create quite different lacy effects. The larger the needle, the bigger the loops you’ll create. You can even change sizes of ‘big’ needle from row to row to create your own individual designs. Both the crochet rows and the loop rows are worked from the same side, so you don’t ever need to turn your work.

The open construction means that broomstick crochet is a fast stitch to work, and a magnificent way to showcase special yarns with one-off textures, twists, slubs or lustres. If you use a fine yarn, you’ll get a light, lacy fabric, whereas heavier yarns will create a thicker and cosier effect. Whichever you choose, it’s undoubtedly an impressive-looking crochet stitch, ideal for making a scarf, wrap or lap blanket.