Discover Bosnian Crochet

Mar 5, 2012

You have probably heard of Bosnian crochet, though perhaps you know of it by one of its many other names, including Dutch knitting, shepherd's knitting, pjoning (Norwegian), smygmaskvirkning or påtning (Swedish), gobelinstitch (Danish), or schaapherderssteek (Dutch). This traditional slip stitch technique is not well known in the United States, but has long been a traditional crochet technique in many countries throughout the world.

Bosnian Crochet  
Bosnian crochet hooks  

Bosnian crochet is a slip stitch crochet method in which slip stitches are worked into either the front loop only or back loop only to create a thick, warm fabric. Worked primarily in the round in wool yarn, this stitch was traditionally used to make mittens and hats in climates with cold winters. The traditional Bosnian crochet hook has flat hook at one end, a wide handle, and was generally handcrafted from fishbone, wood, or even old spoons.

More than just a warm fabric, Bosnian crochet's beauty is evident in the creative use of this one stitch. Working slip stitch alternately in a pattern of front loop only and back loop only stitches creates beautifully subtle texture and patterning. You can see a simple example of this texture in the hat band of the Bosnian Twist Hat (below) in the March/April 2012 issue of PieceWork.

Colorwork was also very popular. Unlike tapestry crochet, which is worked in single crochet over the unused yarn, the examples of Bosnian crochet I have seen stranded the unused color on the wrong side of the piece. Many of the simple colorwork patterns seen in knitted garments were also used with Bosnian crochet.

 Bosnian Crochet Hat
   Cat Stolzenbach's crocheted hat with
Bosnian crochet rim.

Thankfully, this beautiful technique is currently experiencing new popularity. You can find Bosnian crochet hooks online or use your traditional crochet hook to create this traditional fabric yourself. You can also find patterns in historical as well as fashion crochet publications.

You can find out more about Bosnian crochet in the March/April 2012 issue of PieceWork. Subscribe to PieceWork today to learn more about traditional crochet techniques as well as knitting, quilting, tambour, embroidery, and more.

Best wishes,


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createmefree wrote
on Mar 5, 2012 3:38 PM

This was one that I didn't know about (by any name) and find really intriguing. Great niche topic. And those hooks look like fun!

mysstress wrote
on Mar 6, 2012 1:56 PM

Excuse the pun, but you got me hooked with this technique!  Can't wait to have a go, thanks for sharing it :)

Scop wrote
on Mar 7, 2012 7:56 PM

This is new to me, also.  Can anyone tell me where I could get this unique tool?

CarmelL2 wrote
on Apr 22, 2012 7:00 AM

Where can I purchase a bosnian -flat crochet hook... I am third generation irish crochet lacemaker... and I would love to try it out ..  Thanks Carmel

Toni Rexroat wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 3:14 PM

CarmelL2, you can work Bosnian crochet with a regular crochet hook. If you would like to try this technique with a  traditional hook, I know Lacis has one, called a Pjoning crochet hook. Good luck!