When you first learn to crochet, you will be working “through both loops” but you’ll quickly learn that you can crochet in either the front loop only (FLO) or back loop only (BLO) of any of the basic stitches.
Working in the back loop only is more common, but there are some great reasons to crochet in the front loop only. Read on for more info about the front loop only crochet!
Tutorial photos via Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence
Why work in the front loop?
The main reason to work in the front loop only is to create ridges in your work.
This is true for back loop only as well. The main difference between the two is that front loop only crochet is tighter, with less stretchiness than back loop only. Plus, stitches worked in the back loop will be taller than those worked in the front.
Because of this, front loop only crochet is a great choice when you want to create something (such as a washcloth) that has texture without a lot of stretch.
Another common use for FLO crochet is in amigurumi. Because amigurumi is worked entirely in single crochet, changing the loops that you work in can create dramatically different effects.
How to front loop crochet step by step
Let’s get to it! This guide teaches you how to single crochet in the front loop only, but you can use the same information to work in the front loop of other basic stitches such as double crochet and treble crochet.
Step 1: Crochet a chain
We’ll start with a basic chain first to help you get a sense of the anatomy of the loops. Later, we’ll go on to single crochet in the first row for a better understanding of how the technique works.
Step 2: Insert hook through both loops
OK, this may seem odd. We’re just doing this so you can get a sense of the anatomy of your chain. You’ll mostly likely naturally insert your hook through both loops.
Once you do this, you’ll see the two parts of the loop on top of the hook. Pay attention to both loops, noticing which one is in front (the one closest to you). That’s your front loop.
Step 3: Re-insert hook into front loop only
Go ahead and remove the hook. Re-insert it into the same stitch, but only in the front loop of the two loops that you originally saw. Done correctly, you will see only one loop above the hook now.
Step 4: Single crochet in front loop only across row
Proceed to single crochet as normal (yarn over, pull through, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook). Continue across the row, always taking care to insert your hook in the front loop only of the chain before working each single crochet stitch.
Step 5: Repeat Step 2
Once you’ve completed the first row, chain one to turn and you’ll be ready work your single crochet stitches into the front loop from the row below.
Go ahead and refresh your memory of what this should look like by first inserting your hook into the single crochet stitch naturally, into both loops just like you’re used to. Look at the anatomy of the stitch, notice the two parts of the loop sitting on the hook, and pay attention to see which one is in front.
Step 6: Repeat Step 3
Remove the hook and re-insert into the front loop only. Proceed with your regular single crochet stitches across the row, always working in the front loop only.
Front loop only HDC
Image via Craftsy blogger Kathryn Senior
You can use the technique above in all of the basic stitches. However, it’s important to note that the half double crochet stitch has three loops instead of two. Learn how to crochet in the front, back and third loop of hdc here.
Front loop crochet in the round
The technique for working front loop crochet is the same whether you are working in rows or in the round.
However, if you’re working in the round without turning the work (which is common) then you’ll get a different effect. That’s because when you turn the work, your front becomes the back and the back becomes the front, meaning that your ridges will appear only in every other row. In contrast, if you work in the round without turning the work, you’ll see the ridges in every round.
Want to practice working single crochet in the front loop only?
Image via Craftsy member Kristina Olson Designs Patterns
The Mollie Infinity Scarf is a simple crochet pattern for beginners that’s perfect for anyone who wants to practice this technique. It’s worked in two colors using worsted weight yarn, giving you ample opportunity to learn how to work in the front loop.