Hairpin Lace: Joining strips and making edges

Date: 3rd January 2014


[Above: Photography © Rod Howe from Fashion Crochet by Claire Montgomerie]

Hairpin Lace: Joining strips and making edges

Following on from last weeks guide to getting started with Hairpin Lace, this week we look at removing the strip from the loom, joining strips, open loops and edgings. 


âž» Indicate the first loop of the strip with a marker or contrast yarn to ensure that you always know which end is the bottom and make joining simpler.
âž» Always insert a guideline for neatness when linking, especially in extra long strips.
âž» Insert a marker in loops at intervals of 10 or 20 down one side of your strip to make counting the correct length of loops easier.
➻ Keep pushing the loops gathering on your loom down to fit more on. If you don’t have enough room, let out some of the loops from the bottom of the strip, rolling the extra length up neatly at the bottom as you go and securing with pegs, contrast yarn or an elastic band to reduce tangling.
➻ To check tension, work a short strip of just over 10cm/4in, try not to pull out of shape and then count the number of loops in a 10cm length. Read the pattern carefully to see whether strips are measured by total loops on both sides or down one side only – therefore in pairs of loops.
➻ Try using other fibres rather than regular yarn – hairpin worked in wire makes fabulous 3D strips for jewellery, and adding beads to the wire is even better!


âž» When the strip is complete, you will need to remove it from the loom. Unfortunately, the nature of the strips means that they will spiral and possibly tangle before you can tame them by joining or edging, which can make it hard to identify which side of the strip is which.
To control the loops, insert a guideline before removing, which is a length of contrast yarn in the space where the prongs hold the yarn loops, working up through one side of loops, over the top and down through opposite side. Tie loosely at the bottom to secure (left).

➻ To make a garment or larger piece of fabric, you’ll need to join your hairpin strips. Always try to ensure that the loops are straight while joining, or twist purposely in different ways to create fancier lace patterns. Here are the basics as a guide.


âž» This join does not require extra yarn to link and creates a quick and simple, solid join. This example uses groups of 2 loops to join, but you can use larger groups of loops if desired.
Lay out two strips next to each other. Insert the hook, front to back, into 1 loop at the bottom of the right strip, then insert the hook into a group of 2 loops (front to back through bottom then next loop up consecutively) on the adjoining strip. Draw the group of loops through the original loop.
Insert the hook in a group of 2 loops on the right strip and pull through, then insert through 2 loops of the left side and pull through.
Repeat this zig-zag join along the length, ending with 1 loop on the last join. Secure the final loop temporarily with a safety pin or stitch marker, or sew it neatly in place straight away.


âž» This join requires extra yarn to connect the strips, similar to a regular slipped stitch seam. Lay the first two strips to be joined next to each other, making sure that each strip is the same way up. Insert hook from front to back into bottom loop of right strip, then front to back into the bottom loop of adjacent strip, without twisting loops. Place slipknot loop on end of hook and pull through hairpin loops, working 1ch to secure. *Insert hook through next loop of right strip, then adjacent strip, without twisting loops and keeping yarn behind the strips, yrh, pull through all loops. Rep from * to top of join and fasten off yarn.


âž» Link strips with the traditional joining zig-zags of chains anchored into adjacent strips (right). Attach the yarn into one loop on right strip. Work 1dc, 3ch, *1dc in group of 2 loops on opposite strip, 3ch. Rep from * across, ending with 1dc in one loop on last join. To fasten off, insert your hook through the back of the right loop on the loop opposite the one just worked, yarn round hook and draw through everything on your hook, then fasten off yarn normally.

➻ You can leave the outside edges of your hairpin fabrics loose to create a looped fringe, or you can crochet into the loops along the side to create edgings. You can keep the loops straight or twist them when doing so for different effects – which you can also do when joining strips.
Both methods give lovely results but because they are different, you need to be consistent in the method you use, unless any variation is an important element of the design. Be careful to read the pattern and associated notes before beginning, and examine any photographs.

âž» Insert hook into two or more consecutive loops, without twisting, from left to right along the strip, working a multiple of dc or other stitch into each loop group.

âž» Insert the hook into two or more consecutive loops from right to left, along the line of the hairpin upright. You can add more twists into these loops by rotating your hook as many times as desired once the loops are on the hook.

Now that you know the basics, try out the Navajo wrap in issue 44 , and  experiment with beading your yarn or  using different fibres and gauges to create stunning techniques. 

[Above right: Photography © Rod Howe from Fashion Crochet by Claire Montgomerie]

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