Back third loop of the half double crochet/yarn over slip stitch
How to find the third loop of crochet stitches
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 (HDC) or a yarn over slip stitch (YOSLST) 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 stitch remain empty, creating a beautiful braided look on the right side of your work.
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How to work in the BACK third loop of the half double crochet stitch - a photo tutorial
The back third loop
The back third loop (BTL) 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.
When working without turning your work (for instance, in continuous rounds), the BTL is the loop farthest away from you. When turning your work, the BTL is the loop closest to you, since you’re viewing the wrong side of the last row you completed before turning. Thus, when viewed from the back (or wrong) side of the HDC stitch, the third loop sits in front of the two usual front and back loops. When viewed from the front of the HDC stitch, the third loop sits behind the front and back loops.
In my patterns this loop is always referred to as the back third loop, even it if appears on the front. This is because I choose to reference it based on the anatomy of the half double crochet stitch, and not on the side your work is viewed from.
HDC in BTLO in turned rows
Here’s a captioned video tutorial on how to work the HDC in BTLO when turning your work:
HDC in BTLO in continuous rounds
The following tutorial photos show the HDC stitch worked in the BTL only (BTLO) in continuous rounds, without turning. When working in turned rows, remember this special loop will appear closest to you. 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 BTL 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, nor turning 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! The same technique also applies when working in turned rows. The only difference is that the BTL will be the loop closest to you, since you are viewing the back side of the previous row.
Now that you have this stitch in your repertoire, you’re ready to follow any pattern that calls for working in the BTL!
While you’re here, check out some of my recently published crochet patterns and stitch tutorials!
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