Basic crochet stitches are worked under both loops of a stitch. Sometimes patterns call for crochet stitches to be made in the front loop only.
For example, a pattern might include single crochet front loop only stitches. What does this mean?
This step by step tutorial will show you how to make crochet stitches in the front loop only. It also shows you how stitches made this way look compared to other kinds of crochet stitches.
And, it answers common questions about working stitches in this manner including what effects the stitch creates and how it can be abbreviated in patterns.
Want to learn about back loop only (blo) too? Check out this tutorial on back loop only stitches.
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Front loop only stitches can be used for a variety of reasons. After the photo tutorial, there is an explanation of some of the uses for these stitches.
STEP BY STEP PICTURE TUTORIAL FOR HOW TO CROCHET FRONT LOOP ONLY
1) Prepare to Start the Next Row of SC FLO
This is a view of a block of crochet worked using single crochet stitches made in the front loop only. The hook is ready to begin crocheting the next row.
2) Look at the Top Edge of the Crocheted Fabric
In this photo, the top edge of the crochet is turned toward you. You can see that the top of the stitches make a row of “V” shapes. In the photo, the “V” shapes look like they are lying on their sides.
3) Look for the Front Loop of the Next Stitch
This photo has three of the “V” shapes marked in white. The part of the “V” at the back of the fabric (furthest away from you) is called the “back loop.” The part of the “V” at the front of the fabric (closest to you) is called the “front loop.”
4) Insert the Hook Under the Front Loop Only of the Next Stitch
To make a crochet stitch in the front loop only, you insert your hook only under the front loop when you begin the stitch. This photo shows the start of a single crochet front loop only stitch. The hook is inserted only under the front loop.
5) View a Close Up of the Hook Being Inserted Under the Front Loop Only
This is a close up showing the hook being inserted under the front loop only.
6) Yarn Over
To finish the stitch, you then complete the rest of the stitch working only under the front loop. This is a sample of single crochet front loop only stitches. So, the next step is to yarn over.
7) Pull Up a Loop
Then, the next step is to pull up a loop.
8) Complete the Stitch
The final step is to pull the yarn through the two loops on the hook. This completes the stitch.
9) Work a Few More Stitches
This photo shows the row after the completion of several more single crochet front loop only stitches. Working in the front loop only creates a small ridge. This ridge is made up of the “back loops” that you did not work. Each side of the fabric shows the ridge on every other row.
10) Compare SC FLO with Other Kinds of SC Stitches
This photo shows the differences in samples of regular single crochet, single crochet front loop only, and single crochet back loop only. You can see how the ridge in the single crochet front loop only sample looks compared to the other samples.
What effects can you make with front loop only stitches?
As shown in the last photo, crocheting in the front loop only creates a slight ridge in the fabric. The ridge is much less pronounced than in back loop only crochet stitches. This makes it a nice way to add some texture to a crochet project while keeping the fabric relatively flat.
Front loop only crochet fabric is taller than crochet fabric worked under both loops. If you look in the photo for step 10, you can see that the front loop only fabric is taller than the regular fabric made with stitches worked under both loops. This also makes the fabric stretchier and lighter weight. This can be useful to give projects like clothing items and hats more stretch and give.
Working under the front loop only also leaves that strand of yarn from the back loop free and available. More advanced patterns can take advantage of this free loop for many different effects. It might be used, for example, to help create the layers in a crocheted flower or to make particular effects when making amigurumi which are crocheted toys.
How are front loop only stitches included in stitch abbreviations?
The Craft Yarn Council maintains a list of standard crochet stitch abbreviations. There are two included for front loop only. These are “flo” and “fl.” So you may see a stitch such as a single crochet front loop only written with the abbreviation “sc flo” or “FLsc.” A half double crochet front loop only would similarly be “hdc flo” of “FLhdc.”
You may also see it written as an abbreviation for “through front loop.” When abbreviated in this way, single crochet through the front loop can be written as “sc tfl.” You will also likely find other ways in which patterns abbreviate the stitch. Usually looking at the stitch abbreviation key for the pattern will let you know when the pattern calls for making this kind of stitch.
To learn more about back loop only crochet stitches, check out my tutorial on the back loop only. For other crochet tutorials, check out my crochet tutorials page.