Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crochet Terms: Front Loop and Back Loop

As a frequent user of free online patterns I have noticed that there is almost always a comment or question when a pattern indicates to crochet only through the front loop or back loop.  I know I didn't get it at first and my work never turned out looking quite right.  It turns out I was always crocheting in the back loop without even knowing it!  Okay, so what are these and why should we crocheters care? 

When making a standard crochet stich you insert your hook into the stitch and through both loops of the stitch as shown below...
standard crochet stitch
This will produce a nice smooth finished project, but sometimes we don't want a smooth finish piece and this is where the posts come into play. 

When you are instructed to use the front loop you insert your hook through the front loop of the stitch only.

Front loop (insert hook only through the front loop of the stitch in the previous row)

Using the back loop only is just the opposite, you insert your hook only into the back loop of the stitch in the previous row. 

back loop (insert your hook through only the back loop of the stitch in the previous row)
So, what do these do to your finished project and why do we need them?  Using the front or back loop creates texture in your project.  Below is a photo of a green afghan that was worked in the back loop only which creates a ridge every two rows on the front and back of the project.  Alternating rows of front loop and back loop stitches will create ribbing, therefore you will use these often when making socks, gloves, and hats.  The ridges can be used for a decorative purpose or can be very practical, for example the ridges on my crocheted kitchen scrubber really help with getting the goo up that my boys leave on my table.

decorative ridge created by working all stitches in the front or back loop only

deep ribbing created by alternating rows in the front and back loops
There is one other place where I have come accross these stiches and that is when creating a nice neat corner on a project, one row done all in the front post or back loop will create a nice neat edge and cause the project to fold naturally.

Any questions?  Use the comments section and I will respond as quickly as possible!

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