Hairpin lace top

Hairpin lace techniques - a mix of repetition and lots of attentive stitch counting

I bought a netting fork a while ago and never got around to using it. I have dabbled in hairpin lace before, mainly because it involved crochet, however, the first time I used a netting fork that I had made by lashing together knitting needles!

I think that hairpin lace looks very delicate and complex, but infact it is really simple to do. For me it's a great technique if you want to use both hands and improve your numeracy skills!

There are three main stages of the technique. By this I mean as an ensemble yes it is just one piece, however, unlike some projects when there is no real beginning, middle nor end, hairpin lace allows you to visualise a progress schedule. This is always good for setting yourself goals, to feel accomplished at the end of crafting session. Of course this is possible with crochet for example if you set yourself a target of X rows by tea time. I find with hairpin lace I really did want to hit those targets, because I imagine  picking it up the next day from a half a job situation means it can be difficult to get into the swing of things again.

With this projects I had that lovely feeling of 'waking up' from a craft meditiation. I got so into the project that it felt like I'd had a little nap! That's not to say I wasn't concentrating though. It's quite easy to lose your way if you aren't concentrating with this technique, mainly because of the stitch counting. Additionally, I think the mindful compatabilities of this technique is a result of using two hands. Often for a larger project involving crochet, a rug, wallhanging, blanket... the repetitive nature means you can just use one hand and lay the rest of the piece on your lap, with a netting fork you must lift and twist the apparatus.

I'll talk a bit more about those three stages of the technique. First of all I learnt by following YouTube videos so I recommend that. Below is an image of the first stage, this is the most physically demanding stage of the technique. Don't worry, we're not running a marathon, it just means you might need a bit more space around you. The first stage involves wrapping and securing the center of the wraps with crochet. I quite enjoyed this part because although repetitive (and repetitive can often mead the mind to wander) there are a lot of elements to repeat; wrapping the yarn, making the crochet stitch, pushing the hook to the reverse side of the work and turning the netting fork... (Sounds confusing but check out a tutorial and it'll make more sense). Like this it is the technique kept me involved constantly, not your average 'repeat'.

The second stage keeps you involved mentally for the need to count constantly, I wont go into detail but the counting isn't as obvious as counting crochet/knit stitches for example because the limited length of the netting fork might mean that the stitches are all bunched together and a bit overlapping so there is a need to mindfully count using your hands.

The final stage is constructing and connecting the pieces from the netting fork. For this top I made in total four pieces on the fork. This gives you the great satitsfaction of knowing a lot of the work is already done and you can visually see that! The first two stages are fully completed, therefore only one thing to think about at any one time.

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