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
|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.
|| 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
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.