Saturday, 1 August 2009

Hairpin Lace

All last week I was in hairpin lace land. This was due to being at City Lit college for three evenings, teaching my first ever class on the technique and it was really fun. Hairpin lace, or crochet, is basically an advanced crochet technique using a hairpin, prong or, more often these days, a frame like the one above. The frame helps to create large loops held together by the basic crochet stitches; strips made in this way can then be joined together to make open, lacy fabrics, which are very quick to make up.
The technique is very absorbing and hypnotic due to its repetitive nature and as a result the class was the quietest I think I have ever taught!
Once the technique has been learned, you can play with the strips in many ways creating textural motifs as well as regular flat fabrics. A traditional way to use the strips is as braids and edgings.
Hui Ting tried an old pattern for a delicate edging using a thin strip made on a small width of the frame. The strips all come off the frame looking almost the same; the variations occur in how you treat the individual or groups of strips. Here, she used some simple crochet to join groups of the loops, creating a beautifully lacy piece which would make a stunning edge if she recreated it over a longer length.

Jo worked some fabulously striking circular motifs out of the originally straight strips, using varying shades of green. This would make a fun yet sophisicated throw when finished.

I also showed the ladies how to bead the strips and Carolina brought in some very bright, beautiful red wire and orange beads, which worked fabulously well in her strip, which may well become a bracelet. (bottom)

If you do not crochet, let that not be a barrier to learning the craft of hairpin lace, as most of these ladies were not confident crocheters, and a couple had never crocheted before, but all came away confidentally able to wield the hairpin looms and try some of the basic techniques.

If you are interested in learning the skill, I would heartily recommend it, for its theraputic qualities, simplicity and speed. Contact me if you are interested and I may be able to point you in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

I love hairpin lace, especially when designing my wire crochet jewellery as it looks beautiful - lookslike you had fun with your workshop too :)

Bee Creative said...

I love the creamy example. Could be another skill for Make and Bake!!

a mouse said...

oooh hairpin lace.. fun!
hope you like the movie!
its so inspiring :)