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Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Broomstick Lace Crochet

Understanding the Broomstick Lace Crochet Stitch

broomstick lace crochet

Broomstick lace is a unique crochet stitch. The design is made by using a crochet hook to pull tall loops of thread up on to a dowel (historically, a broomstick, which is where the name comes from). These loops are made left to right across the row. They are then looped together into clusters using single crochet stitches worked right to left back across the row of loops. There are many variations of broomstick lace crochet but once you know the basics you can easily master the variations. Below we will look step-by-step at how to crochet basic broomstick lace and then we'll cover some of the variations and additional tips to help you with the pattern.

How to Crochet Broomstick Lace

In this section we will look at how to crochet broomstick lace in which five clusters of four loops each are worked in each row. The samples shown here were made using Red Heart Sparkle Soft Yarn in color 9301 Sand and an I9/ 5.5 mm crochet hook. The loops are pulled up on to the back end of a size Q plastic crochet hook; alternatively you could use a dowel, knitting needle or even a broomstick.

Step One: Starting Chain

Crochet a starting chain. The starting chain should be as many loops as you want for your broomstick lace rows, plus an additional one to use as a turning chain. In our example, we want five clusters of four loops each (20 total loops) so we will create a starting chain of 20 + 1 (total 21).

Step Two: Single Crochet Row

single crochet

Broomstick lace is worked from left to right so you need to single crochet back across the foundation row to get back to the left side and begin the pattern. Single crochet into the second chain from the hook and each chain across for a total of 20 sc.

Step Three: First Loop

broomstick lace crochet

Insert your crochet hook into the first sc on the left side of the row. Yarn over and draw up a loop. Make the loop as tall as you want your broomstick lace stitches to be. In this example, the loops is drawn up to the height of the Q hook that is being used to hold the loops. Slip the loop over the Q hook (or dowel) to hold it there.

Step Four: Second Loop

broomstick lace crochet

Remove your I crochet hook from the work, holding the existing loop on the Q hook or dowel. Insert the I crochet hook into the second sc from the left.

broomstick lace crochet

Draw up another loop and slip it onto your Q hook.

Step Five: Complete Row

broomstick lace crochet

Repeat the process of drawing up loops and holding them on the Q hook all the way across the row. You should have a total of 20 loops on the Q hook at the end of the row.

Step Six: Cluster First Set of Loops

broomstick lace crochet

Remove the I hook from the work. Slide the first four loops (on the right side of the work) off of the Q hook carefully to maintain their height. Insert the I hook through all four loops.

broomstick lace crochet

Yarn over and pull through all four loops. Ch 1 for a turning chain.

broomstick lace crochet

Sc four stitches (equal to the number of loops that you're working with) in the same spot.

Step Seven: Repeat Clusters

broomstick lace crochet

Working back across the row from right to left, continue to slide four loops at a time off of the Q hook, onto the I hook and secure them with a four sc each. (You don't need the turning chain on any of these, just on the first cluster).

broomstick lace crochet

Step Eight: Next Row of Broomstick Lace

broomstick lace crochet

Take a look at your work now and you will see that you have 20 sc stitches sitting on top of the first row of broomstick lace. You will now repeat Steps 3-7 to create as many rows of broomstick lace as you want for your pattern.

broomstick lace crochet

That's the basics of broomstick lace!

Variations on Broomstick Lace Crochet

There are several different variations on broomstick lace. In this section we'll go over some of the most common variations.

No Single Crochet Starting Row

Some people don't want to start their broomstick lace with a row of single crochet. You can work your first row of loops into the starting chain instead. Here's what you will do differently from above:

  • Do not "add 1" to the initial starting chain. If you want a chain of 20 broomstick lace loops then crochet a starting chain of 20.
  • When you reach the end of your starting chain, pull your I hook out of the work.
  • Re-insert your I hook into the first chain of the starting chain  on the left side. Draw up your loop and begin your first row of broomstick lace as described in the original instructions above.

Longer Starting Chain

Of course, you might not want to work with a starting chain of 20. You can use any length of starting chain that you want when working with broomstick lace (or whatever your crochet pattern calls for). If you want to create 10 clusters of 4 loops each then you'll need a starting chain that will hold 40 broomstick lace loops.

Taller Loops

broomstick lace

You can change the effect of the broomstick lace by altering the height of the crochet stitches. Shorter stitches will have a denser appearance whereas taller stitches will have a more openwork design. You can pull the loops up as tall as you want, although it's standard for loops to be somewhere between one half inch and two inches in height. The best way to get taller loops is to use a thicker dowel (or hook or broomstick) to hold your loops.

broomstick lace crochet

In the two photos above, you can see that I used the handle of a pan to get stitches that were significantly taller than those from my Q hook (which you can see in the row below the tall stitches).

See Kathleen Sams' Broomstick Lace crochet video for an example of how a Size 50 Knitting Needle is used to hold the loops and create taller broomstick lace.

Different Sizes of Clusters

In our example, we create broomstick lace clusters of four loops each. However, you can make clusters of any size. It is common for broomstick lace crochet patterns to use 4-6 loops per cluster. The only difference to the instructions is that you must make sure that your sc chains match the number of loops per cluster. Therefore, if you cluster a set of 6 loops, you must create a chain of 6 sc between each cluster. Each row ends on the left side with just one single crochet to tie together the final cluster. The number of chains in each row should be equal to the number of loops in the row below.

broomstick lace crochet

Alternating clusters of 6 and 3

Play around with what different numbers of loops look like to find what you prefer. Although it's typical to see clusters of 4-6, see what it looks like if you only do 2 or if you cluster as many as 9. You might also vary the number in the row, alternating 4 then 6 then 4 then 6, for example. Just make sure that your number of loops across the row matches the number of sc in the rows below and above.

Increasing and Decreasing Broomstick Lace

Once you have mastered the basics of broomstick lace crochet, you might want to use this stitch to create items that aren't just rectangular. If so, you'll need to know how to increase and decrease broomstick lace.

Increasing Broomstick Lace

broomstick lace crochet

This photo shows an increase worked into the top row

Increasing in broomstick lace is essentially done by creating two broomstick lace clusters in each single broomstick lace cluster from the row below.

  • Look at the number of sc stitches in the cluster. Pull that number of stitches up onto your Q hook or dowel. (We'll use the same example as before with a cluster of 4 loops.)
  • Cut that number in half to work your first increase. (In our example, we had worked 4 sc stitches so we will now work with 2.)
  • Create the next broomstick lace cluster by working a full cluster on that half. (So you will cluster the two together with 4 sc stitches.)
  • Create the increase by clustering the next two together with 4 sc stitches.

Decreasing Broomstick Lace

broomstick lace decrease

Decreasing in broomstick lace is worked in the opposite manner, so that you're working half as many sc into the loops from the row below to create the decrease.

  • Look at the number of sc stitches in the cluster. Pull that number of stitches up onto your Q hook or dowel. (We'll use the same example as before with a cluster of 4 loops.)
  • Crochet half that number of sc stitches across all of the loops (so in this case, you will do 2 sc stitches to cluster together all 4 loops). This creates a decrease as you work across the row.

Additional Broomstick Lace Crochet Tips

Here are some of the other things that you might want to know as you work with broomstick lace:
  • Make sure that each loop in the broomstick lace rows is pulled up to the exact same height for a uniform design.

broomstick lace

  • Many people want to know how to hold the Q hook (or dowel) as they work. Some folks find that they can hold the Q hook (or dowel) in their left hand. I like to actually use the crook underneath my knee to hold that hook steady so that both of my hands are free to work the loops. Other people press the hook into their lap to hold the hook steady. See what is most comfortable for you.

broomstick lace crochet

  • Some people find it easier to remove all of the loops from the hook at once when it's time to create their clusters. I prefer to leave them on the hook until I work each cluster to maintain an even height across all of the loops but play around with what works best for you.
  • Many people ask if you can crochet broomstick lace in the round. Indeed, you can. Crochet Kitten has a good tutorial for broomstick lace crochet in the round.
  • Cotton yarn holds its shape really well and has great stitch definition so it's a perfect choice for broomstick lace.
  • Broomstick lace crochet looks best if you block it when you have completed the item and after any washings.

by Kathryn Vercillo

Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Broomstick Lace Crochet