Learn to Crochet: Back Loop Only Stitches

Every designer has different go-to "tools" in their toolbox of stitches and Back-loop Only stitches are one of mine. These stitches leave a line of unworked loops across the front of your project that you can incorporate into your pattern or (my favorite) go back and crochet into later, adding another dimension to your project. It leaves your finished "fabric" stretchier; and, best of all, it's super easy to learn.  But in order to know which loop is which, first we have to talk about the sides of your project.

Working on traditional "flat" crochet, it's easy to tell which side of the work is which.   The front side is always facing you. Crochet across the top line of stitches, chain and turn, and Voila! Now that's the front.

Look at the the top of a piece of flat crochet swatch and you'll see two lines or chains of loops.

The loop facing you when you work is the front loop. The loop behind it, facing away from you, is the back loop.

Back loop only stitches, as the name suggests, are worked only in the back loop. Instead of inserting your hook under both loops, you insert your hook between the two loops, under the back loop only, and out the back of your swatch. Yarn over, pull through, yarn over, pull through both loops on your hook. You've now finished a back loop only single crochet. If you look at the stitch, you can see the unworked front loop at the base of the stitch post. That unworked loop is full of possibilities! Play around with a few swatches until you get comfortable with the idea.

Working in the round is a little more tricky. Working in the round leaves you with a definite "right" and " wrong" side.  This is one of the things I screwed up when I first started crocheting amigurumi.

When you crochet a ball, the piece usually begins to naturally curl wrong side out.  Your back loop only stitches will not be in the right place if you don't flip it right-side-out. A ball shaped amigurumi piece should have the "right" side on the outside of the bowl and the "wrong" side on the inside.

Then, when you work back loop only stitches, the back loop is the one on the inside of the bowl or the wrong side of the swatch. Working in the back loop will leave an unworked line of loops on the right, or outside of the bowl.  I did this wrong for a long time.

Note: There are designers and crocheters out there who prefer the look of the wrong side of the swatch. If you're one of them, go for it. Just remember to work in whichever loop leaves the unworked loop on the outside of your piece.

I'm working up a simple fall pattern that uses back loop only stitches. Hopefully, I can get it posted soon.  Until then, Happy Hooking!