Bosnian Crochet: Slip Stitch on Its Own

One of the crochet techniques I am currently learning is Bosnain crochet. This technique uses slip stitches worked in the front or back loop of the stitch below to create a braid or a woven fabric. If you've never heard of Bosnian crochet, it may be because you know of it by a different name. Bosnian crochet is also known as shepherds knitting, påtning, pjoning, virkning, among other names gathered as it was worked in Scotland, Iceland, Norway, England Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Rumania, and former Yugoslavia.

Originally worked with hooks created from old spoons, combs, or fishbones, Bosnian crochet was used to create caps, mittens, bags, stockings, capes, and longjohns. Many of these items were fulled, or felted, to create extra warmth, protection, or water resistance for the fishermen, lumberjacks, blacksmiths, and others that used them daily.

To teach myself the basics of this technique, I turned to the Compendium of Finishing Techniques. Bosnian crochet can be worked in either a single color or you can use multiple colors to create intriguing patterns. When you are working a pattern in more than one color, such as the pattern I worked (below) from the example given in the Compendium, crochet in the back loops only and float the threads on the wrong side of the work. If you are working in a single color, try experimenting with your stitch placement, working in either the front or back loop, to create different textures. With either technique and unless you are working in the round, you fasten off the yarn at the end of each row and join it again in the first stitch, much like you would with tapestry crochet.

Let me share with you a couple tips I picked up while working this swatch. Number one, for your first attempt, use a hook at least one size larger than normal. When working entirely in slip stitch it can be a little difficult to find and insert your hook in the correct loop. Looser stitches make this process much less difficult. And practice with a light colored yarn. I fell in love with this deep eggplant yarn, but my ability to find the back loop on the first couple of rows would have been dramatically improved with a lighter yarn.

The final result has great give, perfect for hats like the Acorn Hat above, collars, and more. You can find the basics of Bosnian crochet as well as crocheted edgings, seaming information, embroidery stitches, and more in the Compendium of Finishing Techniques. Order your copy of this eBook today.

Best wishes,

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