Now, do you crochet as well as knit? If you do, you have probably heard about broomstick lace… A friend showed me once how to do it and I’ve finally decided to give it a try. I didn’t keep my swatch as the yarn I swatched with is way too precious. I have a couple of skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino and I’ve been looking at them for months, taking them out, trying different patterns… sighing and unravelling the swatch… Broomstick lace was my last desperate attempt to find that perfect stitch pattern – and it didn’t work either. BUT what has worked is the smock stitch from the previous week! I’m half-way through with the project and I still don’t have the urge to rip it all, which is a good sign!
But let’s go back to broomstick lace. Here’s what it looks like:
And here is how it’s done:
You don’t actually need an XXL size needle, a simple ruler will work as well:
Now, if you don’t crochet there’s a beautiful stitch that looks much like the one above, if not better… It’s from The Essential Guide to Colour Knitting Techniques by Margaret Radcliffe and she calls it Estonian shell stitch. I haven’t found a picture other than that on the book cover, it’s the first square in the blue, green and violet variegated yarn.
This video shows you how to knit broomstick lace (aka Estonian shell stitch):
And here is my homework!
As you can see, I have tried three versions of the last pattern row: purl all, knit all and p3, k1 (following the pattern of the previous row). There isn’t much of a visible difference between variants two and three but I have the impression that p3, k1 results in a better organized and stretchier, ribbing-like surface.
My modified pattern goes like this:
On a multiple of 4 sts +1,
R1 (RS): *p1, 2YO’s, k1, 2YO’s, k1, 2YO’s, k1*, end with p1.
R2 (WS) *k1, sl YO’s wyif* end with k1.
R3: *p1, sl YO’s wyib* end with p1.
R4: *k1, sl YO’s wyif* end with k1.
R5: *p1, (k1, YO, k1) into the back of the loops*, end with p1.
R6: *k1, p3*, end with k1.
My verdict: this stitch is actually easier than it looks: the most difficult – or, rather, the most inconvenient – row is the first one where you accumulate lots of yarn overs. The remaining rows knit very quickly as you mostly slip stitches from one needle to the other without knitting them. I find the crochet version a bit easier but I prefer the smaller and neatly packed knitted shells.