Crochet · Techniques · Terminology · Tools

More about Bosnian crochet

The description of Bosnian crochet given by Luise Schinnerer in 1897 and discussed in detail in the preceding post, is echoed in almost all points of detail in the article on crochet in the Encyclopedia of Needlework; New Edition by Thérèse de Dillmont. Its publication date is not known but the first edition, dated 1886, makes no mention of Bosnian crochet, nor does the first French edition. The revised French edition appeared in 1900 (briefly reviewed in the newspaper Le Radical on 31 July 1900) and the various translated versions would not have been released earlier. This left ample time for de Dillmont (a native German speaker) to have taken note of Schinnerer’s article in the interim.

The Encyclopedia enters the English term ‘Bosnian crochet’ into the fancywork glossary, defining it according to Schinnerer’s description. However, de Dillmont does not retain Schinnerer’s exclusive focus on traditional tools and applications. The shared basic stitch is described in the Encyclopedia as the “single stitch” noting that it “is also known as the slip stitch.”

dillmont-plain-stitch

The work is not turned at the end of a row and the yarn is simply carried a bit beyond the final stitch and cut. When the next row is started, “the thread has to be fastened on afresh, each time.”

De Dillmont provides detailed instructions for making a strip of the mixed-color form, working into the back loop only of the corresponding stitch in the preceding row. (Schinnerer only says that the same loop is used without specifying which.)

bosnian-multicolor

Another instruction is for the characteristic relief pattern that results from working selectively into the front and back loops, which both Schinnerer and de Dillmont say is only done using a single color.

bosian-unicolor

Schinnerer also shows a photo of a hat where the upper closed-work portion is made in this manner (but does not describe the stitch structure of the wide band at the bottom).

bosnian-hat

Her article additionally describes Bosnian-Herzegovinian knitting with hook-tipped needles, and the regional practice of making fabric with alternating bands of slip stitch crochet and knitting. Although something of a centerpiece for Schinnerer, de Dillmont says nothing about it.

One interesting characteristic of the hybrid fabric is that the crochet is made using a special hook and not with the hook-tipped knitting needles, despite de Dillmont indicating that the latter option would be viable. Her illustration of an ordinary crochet hook being used to produce slip stitches could as easily show the end of a hook-tipped knitting needle. In fact, this ties into an earlier post that I left dangling with the intention of following up much sooner, where a cylindrical crochet hook (that could explicitly have been up to 35 cm long) is illustrated in use for slip stitch crochet.

Nonetheless, traditional slip stitch crochet is often associated with the use of a special hook, not just in the Bosnian school, but in others as well. Various local manifestations have been discussed in several previous posts. The current Swedish tradition uses this form, which can be traced back into the late 18th century.

penelope-flat-hook

It is also described in an early Dutch publication (details here ) and presumably used elsewhere. However, given the clear difference between it and the Bosnian hook shown by Schinnerer,bosnian-hook

there is no substantive basis for the frequent reference to the Swedish/Dutch form as a ‘Bosnian crochet hook.’

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