Stitch Anatomy – Crochet: Front and Back Loops

One of the most common question crocheters have asked me is: Shall I go into one or both loops of the stitch?

The answer is, as always, it depends.

The standard way of crocheting is going into both loops of the stitch. This gives a smooth and flat piece. Crocheting into only one loop of the stitch gives a different result. Let’s first take a look at the stitch to understand exactly what a loop is.

At the top of every stitch there is a sort of V. The two legs of the V are the two loops of the stitch, called front or back loop according to their position.

Normally both loops are used, which means that the hook will go underneath both loops at the same time, as shown here.


To work a back loop only stitch, the hook will go underneath the back loop like this.


To work a front loop only stitch, the hook has to be inserted in the stitch like this.


Going underneath only one loop of the stitch leaves the other loop unused. This unused loop shows in the work as a little line. Working into the back loop only leaves that line in the front of the work while the back stays flat.


Working into the front loop only gives the same line in the back of the work while the front stays flat.


Which one to choose then? Front, back or both loops? As I said before, it depends on the effect you want to achieve. If you want more texture, go for one loop at a time, if you want to crochet a flat piece just use both loops. When you are following a pattern, the author will tell you what to do, so don’t worry. If there’s no mention of loops (back or front) you can relax and crochet into both loops (some people find it easier!).

But what about the chain?
It’s, again, a personal choice, there’s no right or wrong. I always use both loops of my starting chain to build my first row of stitches as it looks smoother. When I turn my work and I have to work in the turning chain I always try to go underneath both loops as the chain doesn’t stretch to much and doesn’t leave holes.

Tips: if you want to add a line to your work for every row, work the first row in the back loop only, then turn and work in the front loop only. This creates horizontal lines on the right side.


What’s your style? Have you ever tried to crochet in one of the two loops only? What do you think?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway on Instagram! It’s closing in 2 days!
Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures but it’s been very gloomy and dark in the Netherlands these days, not the best weather for indoor photography!

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