A lot of newbie crocheters are confused about where exactly to put the hook when they're making a stitch. It's a great question. Even experienced crocheters can learn a little something about it. Where you put the hook when you crochet makes a difference in both the look and movement of the fabric. Inserting the hook under both loops of the stitch produces a sturdy fabric suitable for a variety of projects. But inserting the hook in the back loop only (blo), front loop only (flo) or alternating blo and flo can produce very different kinds of fabrics. Over the next few weeks, we'll look at the effect of these stitches and when you might want to use them. And we'll show you a pattern that uses each technique.
We'll start with back loop only (blo). Blo stitching produces a stretchy fabric much akin to ribbing in knitted garments. As such, it is suitable for cuffs and collars. It's also a good way to add fluidity to an afghan, to keep it from being too heavy. But what happens when you work an entire garment in blo? Good things happen.
A case in point: The Big Bow Cardigan (Interweave Crochet Winter 2008). The stretchy rib of blo worked vertically creates a sweater that hugs your shape. If this sweater were worked through both loops, it would produce a garment more like a coat. Working through the back loop only makes a cardigan that can flare at the shoulders and narrows at the waist, creating a slimming vertical line. In addition, it keeps the warmth in. To work blo, insert the hook in the back loop only of the two loops at the top of the stitch. Work blo every row for a completely ridged look.
(Working the right side only in blo will produce a fabric that has a wider stripe of flat crochet between the ridges; it will not be quite as stretchy.)
Other uses for blo: working a row of blo on the edge of a bag will produce a turning ridge for the bottom. Work a row of blo at the top of a hat to produce a flat top.
For pictures of swatches worked in double crochet and double crochet blo, see the blog.