Bosnian Crochet – Let’s Find Out What It Is and How To Do It

What is Bosnian Crochet?

Have you ever heard of Bosnian crocheting?

I stumbled upon it while working on a research paper in college that delved into the history of fiber art – I’ve always been very interested in the fiber arts, and find it fascinating to look back at the genealogy (so to speak) of crocheting.

Bosnian Crochet is a niche type of crochet that originated in Bosnia but has also been practiced throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

I haven’t really worked much in the Bosnian style. However, what I’ve picked up is that it uses variations on the basic slip stitch, worked either the front loop or back loop, to create a textured, tightly knit fabric, but one that can be very stretchy.

The finished project is an incredibly dense and warm fabric, which is perfect for braving the cold winters in Bosnia and Eastern Europe.

The Bosnian Crochet Hook

Like any craft, Bosnian crochet has its own specialized tools.

The Bosnian crochet hook has a unique look because the handle is really wide and flat in comparison to more traditional crochet hooks.

Pjoning Crochet Hook
Image via Lacis.com
Pjoning Crochet Hook 2
Image via Lacis.com

These hooks aren’t as easy to find as regular crochet hooks. The shop Lacis offers them – click here to check out their selection, if you’re so inclined!

Bosnian Crochet projects often involve switching crochet hook sizes mid-stream. This makes sense since a change in hook size can make a big difference in design when working only with slip stitches.

Imagine working a pair of mittens – you’d want to use a smaller size to make the ribbing along the bottom, then switch to a larger size for the main body of the mitten.

Who Is Writing About Bosnian Crochet?

Bosnian Crochet is an ancient type of crochet but it’s not one that you hear about all that often. That said, it’s popped up here and there over time.

  • Sylvia Cosh and James Walters, who began working together in crochet in the 1970s, have written about Bosnian Crochet.
  • There was a Fall 2010 Interweave Crochet article on the topic by Dora Ohrenstein.
  • There was also a great 2010 article on the topic on the Finnish blog Hillevis Threads.
  • There is also a short chapter on Bosnian Crochet in the book Needlework through History: An Encyclopedia (Handicrafts through World History).
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Needlework through History: An Encyclopedia (Handicrafts through World History)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Leslie, Catherine Amoroso (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • If you like videos, there’s a YouTuber named Pjonica to check out (videos are in a foreign language but the visuals are clear).

The History of Bosnian Crochet

Many sources say that it’s possible that Bosnian crochet is the oldest crochet that exists, which makes sense since it is widely believed that the slip stitch was the first part of crochet to ever be developed.

However, according to Needlework Through History, Bosnian Crochet has also been greatly important to the recent history of people in this country.

The area was ravaged by war in the late twentieth century, and once the war was over there were many people that needed to support their families in a time of economic crisis.

One way to do that was to turn to those old handicrafts, like Bosnian Crochet, to create small businesses with help from organizations like Women for Women International.

Other Names for Bosnian Crochet

If you’re looking online for Bosnian crochet info then you shouldn’t limit yourself when it comes to search terms.

Bosnian crochet is also known by many other names including:

  • Dutch Knitting
  • Shepherd’s Knitting
  • Slip Stitch Crochet (although it should be noted that Bosnian Crochet is only one sub-type of a broader category of slip stitch crochet)
  • Muslim Crochet
  • Old World Crochet
  • Pjoning
  • Gabelinstitch
  • Krokvirkning
  • Patning
  • Smygmaskvirkning
  • Schaapherderssteek
  • Bosnisk virkning

Bosnian Crochet Patterns

Sylvia Cosh Bosnian Crochet Neckpurse
Image via Crochet
Bosnian Crochet Wool Gloves
Image via Ravelry
Arm Cuff pattern

Image via Interweave