If you’ve ever stumbled on a crochet pattern that asks you to work in the back loop, you may have wondered why. Crocheting through the back loop only (blo) is used in patterns for a variety of reasons — to help keep your stitches aligned in Fair Isle crochet, to join pieces on amigurumi projects, even to add a purely decorative touch.
But if you’re unsure of what exactly the back loop in crochet is, it helps to have a visual:
If you crochet a row of single crochet stitches and look at the top, you’ll see how those little Vs form the stitches you crochet into. When you hold the piece of crochet in front of you with the Vs on top, the part of the V closest to you is the front loop. The part of the V farther away from you on the opposite side is the back loop.
Typically, when you crochet you insert your hook under both the front and back loops of the V. But when a pattern asks you to crochet into the back loop, you insert your hook into the back loop only and make your stitch as instructed. In other words, you skip right over the front loop (as shown in the photo above).
Crocheting in the back loop makes two rows of stitches look like they’re sitting right on top of each other. Take a look at the swatch above — the first two rows on the bottom are crocheted using regular crochet. The third row was crochet into the back loop. Notice how a little ridge forms at the bottom? That’s because when you crochet in the back loop, those front loops have to hang out in the open. Sometimes these ridges can be functional; other times they’re decorative.
The back loop isn’t the only one to get singled out in crochet. Sometimes a pattern asks you to crochet in the front loop only. Just like crocheting in the back loop, this technique provides a different texture (albeit one that’s totally different from the one you get when working in the back loop).
Crocheting into the front or back loops can also give you a crochet fabric that’s a bit stretchier than usual. This can be handy for certain garments or accessories you’d like to add a bit of stretch to, like a sweater./p>
At the end of the day, back loop crochet is pretty straight-forward. So the next time you see a pattern that calls for it, you can hook it with ease./p>