I love exploring traditional crochet techniques, and Bosnian crochet is my latest fascination. This traditional slip stitch technique is enjoying renewed interest, but there is still plenty of stitch exploration to be done.
You can find out more about Bosnian crochet on yesterday's blog, but briefly, Bosnian crochet is worked in slip stitches in either the front loop only or back loop only to create a colorwork or textured fabric.
I recently fell in love with Mary Jane Mucklestone's new book, 200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory. While the charts in this book were originally intended for Fair Isle knitting, I want to adapt them to crochet use.
I chose motif 55, a simple 4 stitch checkered design, for the edging of a simple cuff. Bosnian crochet was usually worked in the round with the colors stranded on the wrong side. After working a few rows of colorwork, I can see how working over the top of the unused yarn might make the stitches too tall, disrupting the colorwork pattern.
For the center section of the cuff, I decided to play with single color texture by alternating working four stitches in the front loop only and then four stitches in the back loop only. For the last set of four stitches in the back loop only, I worked an additional fifth stitch to create slanted columns of texture. I love the subtle pattern this technique created.
While experimenting with Bosnian crochet, I learned a few important characteristics of this technique.
1. Because it is worked entirely in slip stitch, the fabric tends to be thicker and stiffer than what we think of as traditional crochet. This makes it incredibly warm, perfect for the cold winters where this crochet style originated, but means that it does not have much drape. Play with your hook size and gauge. You can create warm accessories with a smaller gauge or add some drape with a larger gauge.
2. The resulting slip stitch fabric does has significantly less horizontal give than a comparative fabric in single crochet. Keep this in mind if you are crocheting a hat that needs to stretch over your head or a sweater hem or neckline.
3. Because the slip stitches are so short, it can be hard to identify which loop you need to work into next. Try using a light colored yarn when you are first learning this technique. I found that identifying the loops even on the dark burgundy was easier with the majority of the cuff worked in white.
This simple cuff was a fun and easy way to experiment with Bosnian crochet. Find a hook and and a couple skeins of yarn and give it a try; I would love to see what you come up with.
by Toni Rexroat
Finished Size: About 7" in circumference and 3" tall. Note: These fit my child-sized hands and wrists. To make a larger cuff, try going up in hook size or adding additional stitches in a multiple of 8.
Yarn: DK weight wool, 1 ball each in white and burgundy.
Hook: Size G/6 (4.0 mm).
Gauge: 26 sts and 14 rows = 2".
Row 1: With MC, sl st in the 2nd ch from the hook and in each ch around.
Note: Cont working in a spiral.
Row 2: Sl st in the back loop only (blo) in each st around.
Rows 3–4: *With MC sl st blo in next 2 sts, with CC sl st blo in next 2 sts; rep from * around.
Rows 5–6: *With CC sl st blo in next 2 sts, with MC sl st blo in next 2 sts; rep from * around.
Rows 7–14: Rep Rows 3–6.
Rows 15–16: With MC sl st blo in each st around.
Row 17: *Sl st flo in next 4 sts, sl st blo in next 4 sts; rep from * around.
Rows 18–24: Sl st blo in first st, *sl st front loop only (flo) in next 4 sts, sl st blo in next 4 sts; rep from * around. Note: The beg of the row will move 1 st to the left each row for Rows 18–24.
Rows 25: Sl st blo in each st around, ending last row at beg of original row.
Rows 26–27: Rep Rows 5–6.
Rows 28–29: Rep Rows 3–4.
Rows 30–37: Rep Rows 26–29. Fasten off.