Sovereign Threads

Weaving Community, Strength and Hope in Bosnia- Herzegovina


Bosnian traditional wisdom focuses many stories on the perils of placing a bare foot on cold ground. Out of this myth the slippers called Čarape (pronounced Char-a-pay) have been a common part of Bosnian home life. Historically mothers pass the knowledge of weaving traditional that they inherited from their mothers, down to their daughters. In recent years this tradition has begun to fade from the lives of young Bosnian. At BOSFAM, however, the rich heritage of handicraft, community, and comfort is alive and well. Woven into each pair is the love and strength of the women of Bosnia.

Each pair of Čarape is made with a warm wool blend yarn. The yarn used to make each pair is sourced from the former Yugoslavia region (Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo). In order to support local farmers and spinners, we are on constant watch for new colors and batches ready to knit with. We inspect and ensure the quality of each yarn used in our Čarape . The yarn is a wool blend has a slight stretch that makes each pair seem to stretch or shrink perfectly to fit its wearer like a glove. The bright, vibrant colors are dyed with color safe dye and will not run when machine washed.

Each set pictured is made by one woman in her family pattern and shows the unique variety that each new color brings.

Each weaver has at least one pattern that is her own. She learned it from her mother or from another one of the women at BOSFAM and can do it without a pattern. When new colors of yarn arrive, the women sit around together but make completely different pairs of socks. We structure the workshop in a way that gives each woman as much time as she needs to get each pair perfect. The women take pride in knowing that she is representing her family, her community and her country well.

The women encourage and help each other to improve their craft.