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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Origin of Broomstick Lace

A question for you: 
Have you ever wondered why this pretty lace, which I make so very often,  is called the broomstick lace? It is also known as the peacock eye lace or the jiffy lace.

In ancient days women after their work for the day sat down with their brooms and wrapped yarn around the handle of the broom and gathered the loops thus formed often in groups of five and crochet these groups together to form long flowing garments and pieces of accessories. 

The Broom is the most commonly used household tool, designed to handle a common task,  and this tool has been re engineered by ancient women, to create a new technique in weaving. Thus the  use of the broomstick has been an excellent innovation, born out of the necessity to use what was at hand and also with an attitude of being accountable for any little time that the women got at hand, and staying busy creating, and expanding activities rather than making break times into  a time waster.  This beautiful ancient art is what I use often in my creations integrating this technique with modern and contemporary colors and textures. The name broomstick lace was thus given to this lace made with the broom handle. 

Over time the broom handle was replaced by a large knitting needle, or wooden dowels to cast on the loops. The prop I used in this picture is a broom and a grass mat imported from India, purchased in a local grocery store. The sample I made is with lavender yarn. A pumpkin patch orange and green leaf scarf is in progress.

Broom handles are no longer used, and I have created this only to show/ enact  the origin of the name.
There are brooms that have a long handles wherein one can sweep without having to bend the body. But the Indian broom is shorter and requires one to hold the handle and bend over to make the sweeping motion, and the outcome  is as fine as using a swifter.  Broomstick lace is believed to have originated in Europe. A Scottish missionary brought crochet into India (in the 1800s)  and that is where I learnt crochet from, having learnt this stitch at age 12.  Hope this nugget of information was educative.

click HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE and HERE for some of my broomstick lace work (There is more if you go into the search box and type broomstick lace) 
Until next time,
Lots of love


  1. I still use a broom handle as I'm not ambidextrous as I'd like to be.The broom handle simply lays in my arm and the weight of it helps with control.Thanks for the article!

  2. My MIL who has been doing this stitch for over 50 years....still uses a broom handle. It is how she taught me, and I use a broom handle. It is actually easier to control and handle than the large knitting needle.

  3. Once I used a pen in place of needle. another time I used ruler. Needle is too small and ruler is too long. But I tried both. Now I will try broom handle!!!

  4. What is 'Reply Delete'? I have not marked for this!!!!

  5. Hi Shanti Thnx for invite v educational informative. Amazing talent. I always enjoy your postings

  6. Hi Shanti Thnx for invite v educational informative. Amazing talent. I always enjoy your postings