By Linda Dean
What is Hairpin Lace?
Classic techniques of crochet may result in beautiful heirloom pieces of art, but some of those techniques can also be intimidating to many crocheters. One such technique is hairpin lace—the counting of loops on both sides of a loom to create multiple strips that are then attached together to create graceful, airy fabric.
Drop-Stitch Mock Hairpin Lace
While the end product is beautiful, the process can have many points at which errors can be made, and it can be difficult and time-consuming to fix the work. However, there are ways to reinvent this old classic and update it into more of the everyday type crochet. By utilizing the technique of using a drop stitch, a mock hairpin lace can be created. The drop stitch creates an open, airy stitch that can be worked in scarves or sweaters without the need to assemble strips as they are worked. Being able to directly stitch the lace into the piece without using a loom simplifies that process greatly.
This stitch is worked best as an entire row to itself, because switching between the drop stitch and another type of stitch can become a little tricky to keep consistent row height. Fortunately, the drop stitch can be worked with any type of yarn and any hook size. And since, with this technique, the drop stitch is worked as a continuous piece and not strips like classic hairpin lace, it is easier to catch potential errors, such as miscounting the number of loops. It’s impossible to twist the strips while they are being worked, since there is no attaching necessary. Drop stitch can be utilized in a couple of different forms, and it can be started two different ways. You can begin with a chain and create an entire piece with a lacy opening, or you can work directly on a row of other stitches and use it as an accent area to create a unique design.
Mock Hairpin Lace Using Two Rows
When determining how you want to utilize this technique, keep in mind that it is a two-row technique; it takes two rows to complete the stitch. To create the drop stitch in the chain of a work (an entire piece worked in this airy stitch should begin this way) begin within the chain itself. Begin by chaining at least twice and then pulling through a long loop on the next chain; remove the hook and reinsert it into chain stitch behind long loop (see Photo 1). Yarn over and pull through a loop (be careful not to pull tension too tight and remove height from long loop). Chain at least twice and repeat until piece is desired length. Creating a unique accent piece, by mixing rows of various stitches and the drop stitch, is started by working into an existing stitch row (this is also the process for all subsequent rows of drop stitch throughout the piece). Insert the crochet hook into the desired location for the drop stitch and create a slip stitch, but pull the loop through about an inch.
Crochet Hairpin Lace
Remove the hook from the long loop and reinsert the hook into the base of the stitch (see Photo 2). Yarn over and pull through a loop (be careful not to pull tension too tight, which could remove height from long loop above—see Photo 3). Ch 1, slip stitch in next stitch and pull through a loop about an inch high, repeating the process (see Photo 4). Continue this across your row; there is no need to place a drop stitch in every stitch across as more spacing can be created by placing a slip stitch in between drop stitches. Row two begins upon reaching the end of the drop-stitch row and chaining enough to meet the height of the loops, and if necessary, the slip stitches at end of row below. Insert hook into the long loop and chain through both loops (see Photo 5) using a chain stitch wherever you may have a slip stitch continuing across the row (see Photos 6 and 7).