Go With the Flo to Crochet a Garment with a Smooth Finish

We're still hooked on this loopy topic of where to put the hook. A couple of weeks ago we saw how crocheting through the back loop only makes a ridged, stretchy fabric that is really outstanding in the Big Bow Cardigan.

SwatchCrocheting in the front loop only (flo) makes a fabric that is smooth and taller than regular double crochet. And, in an almost magic way, the fabric is both looser and provides better coverage than double crochet worked through both loops. This happens because the new row pulls the previous row's front loop up, covering the wee gap produced at the base of a double crochet worked through both loops.

Going with the flo can feel a bit odd at first, as you work your hook under the front loop. To make the crocheting easier, tilt the fabric backward slightly so that the front loop stands up. This all gets easier as you move along.

As you work your stitch in the front loop, the unworked back loop creates a fine horizontal line for an interesting texture. The resulting fabric is light and drapier than regular crochet, with a slight vertical stretch that is not as extreme as blo.

After you've done a swatch, you might be ready for more. Check out SeafoamVest (IC Spring 2007, see below), which is worked entirely in flo. Flo fabric has a tendency to grow as gravity pulls at it; the hip-level band harnesses the growth of the vest, making it more relaxed over time without becoming frumpy.

After you're comfortable with the fabric, try working flo on a pattern that is worked in both-loop double crochet. You'll have to do a little math because the flo row gauge is significantly different from double crochet in both loops. (To see pictures of the swatches side by side, see the CrochetMe blog.) Select a pattern with minimal shaping and be sure to refigure the row count based on your gauge.

In a couple of weeks, we will look at what happens when you alternate blo and flo.

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