What is Back Loop Only Crochet?

Blo—(back loop only)—you may have seen it in a recent crochet pattern like the gorgeous Nordic Tapestry Crochet Pouch by Brenda K. B. Anderson, but what does this stitch acronym mean, and why should you try it?

Back Loop Only Crochet

Nordic Tapestry Crochet Pouch by Brenda K. B. Anderson, Interweave Crochet Winter 2019.

Blo stands for “back loop only.” This is a direction for where you should work the indicated stitch. Single crochet back loop only (or sc blo) indicates that you should insert your hook under the back loop only, not under both loops, when working your next single crochet. You can work half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), and even decrease or increase stitches in the back loop only.

There are many reasons to use back loop only stitches. The Nordic Tapestry Crochet Pouch I mentioned above combines tapestry crochet with back loop only single crochet stitches to create a fabric that beautifully showcases the texture of back loop only crochet stitches. If you look closely, you can see the angled horizontal lines of the front loops. Because you are working only under the back loop, the front loop remains visible on the fabric and emphasizes the traditional Nordic patterning. Back loop only stitches are a perfect option for tapestry crochet because the texture of the stitches highlights the colorwork patterning.

Back Loop Only Crochet

Notice the texture created by the unused front loop.

Back loop only stitches are also ideal for creating crochet ribbing. Because you are working your stitch under one loop instead of the traditional two, the resulting crochet fabric has increased elasticity. You can work back loop only crochet ribbing by turning at the end of each round and crocheting in the back loop only each row to create the stretch and appearance of traditional ribbing like in Brenda K. B. Anderson’s Cedar Mittens. You can use this ribbing around the cuffs of mittens or the brim of hats, and you can also use it to create an entire project, like Brenda K. B. Anderson’s Sydney’s Sideways Socks or the Big Bow Cardigan by Julia Vaconsin.

Back Loop Only Crochet

Clockwise from left: Cedar Mittens by Brenda K. B. Anderson, Big Bow Cardigan by Julia Vaconsin, Sidney’s Sideways Socks by Brenda K. B. Anderson.

I crocheted my own Big Bow Cardigan with modifications to the collar. The fabric of this cardigan is incredibly elastic, warm, comfortable, and forgiving, and it looks gorgeous. I have received so many compliments for this easy crochet cardigan. Everyone needs one in their closet.

Join me and pick up your crochet hook for a back loop only project. The Nordic Tapestry Crochet Pouch is next on my list—I’m thinking in striking red and white!

Happy Stitching,
Toni


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