The Anatomy of the Back Loop in Crochet


Have you ever looked at a pattern that asks you to work in the back loop in crochet? Many crocheters have been stumped by these instructions. What in the world is the back loop in crochet? Rest easy, crocheters. It's very simple! Let's take a look at the anatomy of that mysterious back loop in crochet, plus see a few ways to use it in your projects.

Photo via  The Feisty Redhead

What is the back loop in crochet?

Crochet a row of single crochet and take a peek at the top of the row, or just check out the photo above. See how those little Vs form the stitches that you crochet into? When we learn to crochet , we insert our hook into that V, right? You may have also noticed that those Vs have two parts: a front loop and a back loop.

If 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.

Photo via The Feisty Redhead

When a pattern asks you to crochet into the back loop, you simply insert your hook into that one little loop and crochet as instructed. Check out the photo above and notice how the hook skips right over that front loop and only goes through the back loop.

Easy, right? That's all there is to it!

Why do we crochet in the back loop?

We crochet in the back loop for a few different reasons. Here are just a few:

Photo via The Feisty Redhead


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.

Now take a peek at that third row that was crocheted into the back loop all the way across. Notice how crocheting into the back loop forms a little ridge at the bottom. Those ridges are formed because when you crochet into the back loop, those front loops have to hang out in the open. This creates a line that resembles a little ridge. Sometimes these ridges can be functional, and sometimes they're decorative.

Fair Isle trivet

Fair Isle Trivet via Bluprint instructor  Karen Whooley


One crochet technique that uses back loops to achieve a technique is Fair Isle crochet . Take a peek at the Fair Isle Trivet above designed by Bluprint instructor Karen Whooley. Karen crochets in the back loops while also carrying yarn floats along the row to achieve that gorgeous design.

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Want to try the Fair Isle crochet technique yourself? Check out Karen's Fair Isle Crochet: Demystifying Colorwork class. You'll learn to read Fair Isle charts, cleanly change colors, banish bulk by encasing ends, seamlessly crochet colorwork in the round and more!


Front loop vs. back loop

The back loop isn't the only loop that gets singled out. Sometimes crochet patterns might ask you to crochet in the front loop only. Like crocheting in the back loop, crocheting in the front loop will give you a different texture -- though it's a totally different texture than the one you get when you're working in the back loops.

A crochet pattern might also ask you to work in front or back loops for a very specific purpose. Let's use amigurumi as an example. If you're crocheting, say, a bear that has separate arms and legs, then the pattern might ask you to crochet in the front or back loops of the body to leave an open loop for attaching those arms and legs later. This makes seaming the amigurumi together much easier.

Crocheting into the front loops can also give you a crochet fabric that's a bit stretchier than usual. This can be handy for certain garments or accessories that you'd like to add a bit of stretch too, like a sweater or even a bracelet.

Now that you have the basics behind the back loop, go ahead and work a few swatches to compare the different textures of the stitches. You may even come up with a new design idea!

Have you ever worked with a pattern that asked you to crochet in the back loops?

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The Anatomy of the Back Loop in Crochet