Doris Chan is well known for her flirty crochet garments and her focus on lace. Crochet Lace Innovations, first published in 2010, is a pattern book that explores three specialized crochet techniques (broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Tunisian crochet) along with what Doris calls “exploded lace” (crocheting lace patterns similar to what you would see in thread in yarns with a larger hook for a better drape).
The book opens with an introduction where Doris shares her passion for crochet. This is followed by a How to Use This Book page.
The next 3 sections, Broomstick Lace, Hairpin Lace, and Tunisian Lace, include an overview of the crochet lace technique along with a written and illustrated tutorial and a list of tips for success. The next 3 sections focus on variations of exploded lace: Exploded Motifs, Exploded Doily Lace, and Exploded Lace Trim. The book closes with a section called Garment 101, where Doris shares detailed annotated patterns for Jacket 101 and Skirt 101. Finally, there is a resources section which includes a guide to crochet stitch symbols and abbreviations, and links to yarns, tools, and crochet websites.
Skill level: This book is geared towards an intermediate to advanced crocheter. There are 8 easy patterns, 6 intermediate patterns, and 7 experienced patterns.
Techniques: There are 3 broomstick lace patterns, 3 hairpin lace patterns, 4 Tunisian crochet patterns, and 11 exploded lace patterns.
Project types: There are 8 top patterns (including jackets, vests, sleeved tops, and a poncho), 4 skirt patterns, 4 wraps/stoles/scarves, 2 belts, 1 dress, and 1 collar.
What I like about this book:
Doris has a conversational style but isn’t too chatty.
The designs are striking and the photos make you want to pick up your hook and start crocheting!
There are schematics including for the garments and there are stitch symbols for most patterns in addition to US pattern abbreviations.
This book allows you to explore several different crochet techniques while making women’s garments and accessories.
Some challenges about this book:
A true beginner to some of the special techniques may find the illustrations difficult to use as a primary learning resource. Luckily, there are many online tutorials for broomstick lace (you can find a roundup here), hairpin lace (a beginner’s roundup here), and Tunisian crochet.
There isn’t much discussion about under layering. It would be great if Doris would have shared more ideas about how to layer to wear these designs in real life.
Like all mostly pattern books, your enjoyment will be based on how many of the patterns you want to make. Check out the Ravelry source page for the book here to see thumbnails of all designs included in the book.
Overall, I would recommend this book to an intermediate to advanced crocheter (or an adventurous, confident, and patient beginner!) who enjoys crocheted women’s garments and accessories. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
So, has this review left you itching for your own copy of Crochet Lace Innovations? To enter, visit the Ravelry source page here and leave a comment letting me know which pattern you would crochet first. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers only. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, June 2, 2015! Please note that only entries in the Rafflecopter widget will be counted, so be sure to log your entries there.
Full disclosure: A review copy and giveaway copy of Crochet Lace Innovations were provided by Potter Craft/The Crown Publishing Group. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.
I reached out to the nice folks at Clover because I really love their Hair Pin Lace Tool (also known as a hairpin lace loom).
The tool comes with 3 pins, though I’ve only ever used 2. I love the sturdy construction of the clips, and the clip holes, which allow you to anchor the tail of your yarn.
Although the Tool is a bit pricier than other looms (it retails at $17), it is definitely worth the price.
The top and bottom clips are sturdy and can help keep your loops from sliding off when you put down your project.
The clip hole is a great anchor for the yarn tail so that when you start your hairpin lace project, you don’t have to worry about about it moving around as much.
Another great feature is the eyelet at the bottom of the pins. You can thread another color of yarn through that eyelet, and when you are crocheting a long hairpin lace strip, the other color of yarn can serve as a stitch holder. This will help to prevent your strips from twisting when it’s off the loom.
There is also a small guide included in the package, which provides basic illustrated instructions for using the loom to create hairpin lace with 2 or 3 pins, as well as how to combine strips. The guide is available in English, French, Spanish, and German.
If you’re new to hairpin lace, why not pick up a Clover Hair Pin Lace Tool and check out my roundup of free tutorials here? It’s actually pretty fun once you get started, and you can create some stunning projects!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win one of two Clover Hair Pin Lace Tools, courtesy of Clover USA. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, May 26, 2015! Please note that only entries in the Rafflecopter widget will be counted, so be sure to log your entries there.
Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.
As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a mini interview today with Tammy Hildebrand from Hot Lava Crochet. Tammy is a crochet designer, author, teacher, and blogger. She’s also the current Vice President of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)!
You can find Tammy online at the Hot Lava Crochet blog, and on Craftsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter. (By the way, May 18 just happens to be Tammy’s birthday, so don’t forget to wish her Happy Birthday on social media!) After reclaiming her health 22 months ago using a nutritional cleanse program after 7 years of illness,Tammy is also a health and wellness coach. You can find her health and wellness Facebook page here.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tammy before here as part of her blog tour for Crochet Wraps Every Which Way, and you can find more details about her background there. Today, we’re all focused on hairpin lace, one of Tammy’s favorite techniques. All images are used with permission and are copyright Tammy Hildebrand unless otherwise noted.
Underground Crafter (UC): You have several designs featuring the hairpin lace technique. How did you first learn about hairpin lace?
Tammy: A number of years ago I attended a Stitches West show to work in the CGOA booth. Jennifer Hansen (Stitch Diva) was giving a demonstration of hairpin lace on the show floor. She is such an amazing teacher and made it so easy that I picked it right up and loved it immediately.
UC: What do you enjoy about designing with hairpin lace?
Tammy: I love how quickly it works up and it is very methodical and relaxing. Plus the end result is beautiful!
UC: Do you have a preferred loom or other specialty tools for hairpin lace?
Tammy: I do! Jennifer sells a handcrafted Walnut frame on her site that is the best loom I’ve ever used. It adjusts to more sizes than the typical metal and plastic looms and it is much sturdier.
UC: Are there any crochet websites or blogs that you frequent for inspiration or community?
Tammy: Well, obviously Stitch Diva! Ha, Ha. I also love to search for inspiration on Pinterest.
UC: Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’d like to share?
Tammy: I will have a design in the upcoming issue of Interweave Crochet that I am rather proud of. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it was a bit challenging but very rewarding!
Tammy, thank you for sharing your love of hairpin lace with us! We’re looking forward to seeing that upcoming pattern!
If you love these patterns, you may enjoy my Crochet Lace Board on Pinterest.
Hairpin lace seemed the most daunting of any from the book. I actually tried several tutorials unsuccessfully before finally learning how to make a hairpin lace strip. Once I actually “got it,” I realized that hairpin lace is actually deceptively simple. (Maybe I was overthinking it!)
So, what is hairpin lace anyway?
Hairpin lace is a crochet technique where you form loops with the aid of an object alternatively called a hairpin lace “loom” or “tool” by different manufacturers. Yarn is wrapped around the loom and then secured as a “strip” of loops with single crochet. Once the strip is the desired length, it is removed from the loom and can be joined to other strips or crocheted to the rest of your project.
Hairpin lace got its name because apparently, back in the day, U-shaped hairpins were used as the loom.
What’s special about hairpin lace?
To make hairpin lace, you only need to know single crochet and have access to a hairpin lace loom, but it creates very complex looking projects. (Basically, you will impress everyone with your hairpin lace!)
Hairpin lace also allows you to make very open work designs.
To see more examples of hairpin lace, check out my growing Hairpin Lace Crochet Pinterest board!
Free Hairpin Lace Crochet Tutorials for Beginners Roundup
If you’d like to try out hairpin lace, here four free tutorials to get you started!
I learned hairpin lace through the Hairpin Lace Coaster pattern and tutorial by Ferosa Harold. The pattern includes a photo tutorial for both righties and lefties. I like this tutorial because the project is small and easy to complete so you can quickly master the technique.
My favorite hairpin lace loom is the Clover Hair Pin Lace Tool. (Spoiler alert: I’ll be sharing a giveaway for this great device in a few weeks!). You can watch the Clover video tutorial for using their tool here.
Jennifer Hansen is well known for her hairpin lace designs, and here is her video tutorial for making a basic hairpin lace strip.
I’m wrapping up this month’s series on broomstick lace with a roundup of over 30 great broomstick lace patterns, including more than 20 free patterns. If you’re new to broomstick lace, don’t forget to check out my roundup of free beginner broomstick lace tutorials here.
All patterns are free unless otherwise noted. All photos are used with permission and are copyright the respective designer unless otherwise noted.