How to Crochet Back Loop Only

Back Loop Only Crochet Swatch

The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Change the look of basic crochet stitches when you crochet through the back loop only. By inserting your hook though only one of the stitch loops, you can create ribbing and ridged crochet work that stretches but remains solid.

There's nothing too mysterious about back loop crochet. Once you know how to work simple crochet stitches—even just single crochet—you can do this. 

Some patterns that use back loop crochet have different names or abbreviations for this variation of basic stitches. You might see it as back loop only (blo), through the back loop (tbl), or simply back loop (bl). The same goes for crocheting through the front loop with similar abbreviations. 

The first step is to get familiar with the loops of the crochet stitches, so grab some DK or worsted weight yarn and a crochet hook in a size that matches your yarn, and give it a try.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Crochet hook

Materials

  • Worsted-weight yarn

Instructions

  1. Crochet Beginning Stitches

    Top View of Single Crochet Stitches

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    To keep your practice swatch simple, start with a chain of 10 to 20 stitches, then work a row of single crochet.

    Normally as you crochet, you tend to look at the side the faces you. To see how back loop crochet works, look at the row from the top. 

    Each stitch looks like a V with the top of the V pointing in the direction of the hook and the bottom of the V pointing away from the hook. Each side of the V is one of the loops. 

  2. Determine Where to Insert the Hook

    Inserting the Hook Through Both Loops of a Crochet Stitch

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Insert the hook through both loops like you would for regular stitches. With the hook in loops of the stitch, identify the one loop closer to you as the front loop and the loop farther from you as the back loop.

    Now that you see the difference, remove the hook and start crocheting through the back loop.

    When you work half double, double, and treble crochet, wrap the yarn over as usual and work into the back loop, then finish the stitch.

  3. Continue Crocheting in the Back Loop Only

    Several Rows of Back Loop Only Crochet

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    When you reach the end of the row, make your turning chain and turn your work.

    To work the next row, once again, work in the back loop. Even after you turn it, the back loop is always the one that's farther away from you. 

    As you make a few rows, you'll start to see the ridges or ribbing start to appear.



Ways to Use This Technique

Sample Swatch of Back Loop Only Single Crochet
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

The ridges that back loop crochet creates can be helpful for adding ribbing to sweater cuffs and hems. This technique frequently shows up in amigurumi too. 

For a different look, but with almost the same method, work your stitches through the front loop only. This version has less prominent ridges and creates a more open crocheted fabric. FLO stitches show up in this slip stitch men's scarf

You can even alternate between the front and back loop with each stitch for a very textured style. 

Make a few swatches to try out this technique and you'll be ready for the next time a pattern works through just one loop.