Post stitches are a unique way to add texture to your crochet projects. They are a fun skill to learn because you aren't simply combining other basic stitches into new patterns. Instead, you are learning a new way to work the stitches you already know.
Let's explore post stitches and how we can use them in our work.
The parts of a stitch
Before we get started, it's important to cover the terms I will be using to explain post stitches. As labeled above, the top of a stitch is composed of a front loop and a back loop. In normal crochet, you work new stitches under both loops (the "V"). Some patterns may ask you to crochet through one or the other (tbl, tfl).
The bottom part of stitches is what I am referring to as a "post." We will be working our post stitches around these posts by inserting our hook into the spaces between the stitches. There are two ways to make post stitches and using either or a combination of both can have different effects on your designs.
Front post crochet stitches
For simplicity sake, I'm going to demonstrate the post stitches with a double crochet (DC). You can use the method with any stitch, but the longer they are, the easier it will be to see between the stitches.
The front post (fp) DC creates a DC that is raised up from the fabric. You work it as follows: yarn over (yo), insert the hook from right to left around the post of the next stitch, yo and pull a loop through (3 loops on hook); Yo, pull through two loops, yo, pull through remaining two loops.
Another way to think about it is you are inserting your hook from front to back, then back to the front and working the stitch as normal. On subsequent rows, you may end up working a post stitch around a previous post stitch. It sounds confusing, but it's actually a lot easier to see the posts once they are raised (photo above, right).
Note: Make sure you skip the "V" of the stitch you just crocheted around, so you will end up with the same number of stitches each row.
Back post crochet stitches
The back post (bp) DC creates a DC that is raised on the back of the fabric. You work it from the opposite side, as follows: yo, then from the back of the work, insert the hook from right to left around the post of the next stitch, yo and pull a loop through (3 loops on hook); yo, pull through two loops, yo, pull through remaining two loops. You are inserting your hook from back to front, then to the back and completing the stitch.
How/when to use post stitches
You can create a ribbing by alternating the front post and back post stitches. Ribbing looks good at the brim of hats or on the edge of gloves, socks and even cowls. Above is a mason jar cozy created with alternating front and back post double crochet stitches.
Photo via Craftsy member knotsewcute
Cables aren't just limited to knitting! You can use post stitches in a variety of ways to achieve beautiful cables in your work.
Photo via Craftsy blogger Andrea Sanchez
The basketweave stitch alternates groups of front and back post stitches to produce a woven design. It looks great on blankets and accessories!
If you want some more detailed information about post stitches, check out Drew Emborsky's class, Amazing Crochet Textures. The class includes detailed video instruction for working cables, adding beads, and decorative ribs, along with other tips, like how to work a chainless foundation and a join-as-you-go border for squares.