Back third loop of the half double crochet

A crochet stitch tutorial

Ever wondered what the mysterious third loop is? Or perhaps you heard of the “extra” or “third back” loop and never knew why it’s useful. Well, the back third loop of a half double crochet is just that, a third loop that is situated at the back of the stitch. It’s important mainly because when working into this loop, the regular front and back loops of the half double crochet stitch remain empty, creating a beautiful braided look.

How to work in the BACK third loop of the half double crochet stitch - a photo tutorial

When working without turning your work, for instance in joined and unturned rounds or continuous rounds, the back third loop (BTLO) of a half double crochet stitch (and also a yarn over slip stitch – YOSLST) is always located at the back of the stitch. It’s the third loop, or extra loop, sitting just behind the two usual front and back loops.

The following tutorial photos show the HDC stitch, but the same principle applies to the YOSLST as well!

 

This photo tutorial uses standard US crochet terminology.

 

Photo 1 shows a close-up of the half double crochet (HDC) stitches as viewed from the front. Photo 2 shows the HDCs as viewed from the back, where the BTLO is visible and highlighted in pink.

Step 1. Start with a foundation chain. For this example, I chained 30. Join the chain with a slip stitch to form a ring and work 1 HDC in each CH around.

In this tutorial, we’ll be working the HDC in BTLO in continuous rounds. This means we won’t be joining at the end of each round.

Step 2. Yarn over, insert your hook in the BTLO of the next HDC (photo 4). Photo 5 shows a close-up of the working into the back third loop.

Step 3. Pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on the hook. Continue working like this for a couple more rounds. You can see the braided effect start to show up!

Photo 6 shows the empty front and back loops of the HDC (which create the braided look). Photo 7 shows the stitches from the back.

Keep repeating steps 2 and 3. The end result is a series of braids with a faux-knit look that is simply fabulous!

Now that you have this stitch in your repertoire, you’re ready to follow any pattern that calls for working in the BTLO!

While you’re here, check out some of my recently published crochet patterns and stitch tutorials!

I’d LOVE to see your work, so be sure to shout out to me @CrochetHighway on Instagram and use the #crochethighway hashtag for a chance to be featured on my stories!

Happy crafting!