How to work into a stitch (and around, and between and…)

How do you work INTO a crochet stitch?

I mean sure, it sounds easy, but it’s not really so straight forward. Have you ever looked REALLY closely at a crochet stitch? This pic is showing you the anatomy of a regular tr/dc (UK/US) stitch.

close up photo of crochet stitches labelled with Legs, Body or Post, Top and Arm


It has lots of bits eh?

I like to think of them as a capital letter P (left-handers that’s a reversed capital P) The circley bit of the P is where you poke your hook if you’re working into the stitch. So under the top 2 strands but above that arm. It’s the same for any stitch – htr, dtr, cluster whatever. That circle bit is where you poke your hook.

Close up photo showing a needle being inserted into a crochet stitch
This is the circley bit I mean.
Close up photo showing a needle being inserted into a crochet stitch from above
Looking from above.

But what about other places you can poke your hook?


That’s just the start though. There are so many places you can put your hook when crocheting. A pattern should be very specific and tell you where to work your stitches exactly. The P thing is for working IN a stitch that you will do most of the time.

Between Stitches

You can also work between the stitches – that’s when you poke your hook between the posts, under the arm. A pattern will say “between sts” if you need to do this.

needle pointing between 2 crochet stitches


blo/flo

If a pattern says to work into the BLO or FLO that means you poke your hook in the back loop of the top only or the front loop of the top only.

needle pointing into the back loop only of a crochet stitch
back loop only

Note the direction the needle is pointing for the flo – from the bottom through to the top.

needle pointing into the front loop only of a crochet stitch
front loop only

Front and Back post stitches

Front and back post stitches are worked around the post of the stitches, under the arm – so between the stitches, either from the front of the back.

needle pointing around the post of a crochet stitch from the front
Front post
needle pointing around the post of a crochet stitch from the front
Back post


Loop Behind V (lbv)

Then there’s the pesky loop you can’t see in the anatomy of a stitch pic up the top – its the loop behind that back loop of the “V” on top of stitch. It’s not the arm, there’s another loop on the back, right below the back loop of the top. I call it lbv or loop behind v. Others call it back bump or third loop.

needle pointing into the lopp behind v of a crochet stitch


But what about other kinds of stitches?

3 crochet stitches labelled tr, htr, dc and dc, hdc, sc
UK terms on left, US on right

It’s the same principal no matter the type of stitch. Here are a few examples for you.

How to Work into Other types of stitches

dc/sc (UK/US) – with this one, there is no arm so the stitch is more like a reversed lower case “a” (right way round “a” for left-handers).

needle pointing into a small crochet stitch

htr/hdc (UK/US) – this is the same as a regular stitch, the post or body is just a little shorter.

needle pointing into a half crochet stitch

dtr/tr (UK/US) – like a very tall capital P.

needle pointing into a tall crochet stitch

How to work into Cluster stitches

Cluster – no matter the type of stitches used to make up the cluster, you are still going to work on the right (left for left-handers) of the bulk of the stitch.

crochet clusters labelled 6dtrcl 3trcl, 6trcl, 3ddcl
needle pointing into a cluster crochet stitch

Together – just like a cluster – look for the circley bit on the right (left for left-handers).

together crochet cluster stitches labelled htr3tog, dc2tog, tr2tog and hdc3tog, sc3tog and dc2tog
needle pointing into a together cluster crochet stitch

Puff – this can be a bit tricky to see, but the same thing applies – to work into a puff, find that circley bit on the right (left for left handers)

needle pointing into a puff crochet stitch

Popcorn. Now this one you have 2 ways to use the popcorn and the pattern should specify. The pic on the left is showing “in” the popcorn. The pic on the right shows how I like to work into popcorns and I say “in top of pc” when I want you to do this.

2 photos of a crochet popcorn with a needle showing where they can be worked into

Think of the P

Once you can really see crochet stitches in detail, it makes you so much more confident in your crochet as you know you are doing it in the right spot once you understand how it all works. If you’re ever unsure, think of the P and look closely where your pattern is telling you to work your stitch.

I hope this has been a bit of a lightbulb moment for some of you. I can tell you that recognising the capital P thing has been a game changer for many in my classes. Hope it is for you too.

This is the kind of detail I go into in Granny Square Academy. All the teeny tiny details!

13 Comments

  1. Keryn

    Oh my goodness – you are amazing. This is exactly what I have been needing and I haven’t been able to find it explained anywhere. I have now downloaded your app and will be checking out even more of your YouTube’s and blogs. Thank you so much and so well explained

    Reply
    • Shelley Husband

      Yay! I am so glad it’s been that helpful for you. I hope it leads to you creating more and more 🙂

      Reply
  2. Darlene Winter

    Wow!! This is THE best explanation of working into a stitch I have ever come across! I can’t thank you enough Shelley!!? The other problem I have is in tuning to start the next row! My edges turn out uneven! Do you have instructions on how to overcome that somewhere as well? Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Shelley Husband

      Yay! So glad it all makes sense for you.

      Ah rows are a whole other thing. What I tend to do is turn, then slip stitch into the last st of the previous row so your hook and yarn are in the right spot. Then you ch3 or false st and no more gap 🙂

      Reply
      • Darlene Winter

        That is new to me but sounds great!! I certainly will give it a try!! Thanks Shelley!!??

        Reply
    • Katie

      You are remarkable and so descriptive when showing the parts of each stitch. I always wanted to know this & now the lightbulb went on thanks to your brilliant detail in how you showed & explained all.
      My kind of teacher!!! ?

      Reply
  3. Mary Perez

    You are amazing. I learned so much from Granny Square Academy. I’m doing Beneath the Surface squares. They are easy and fun. I find I have holes (larger spaces) when doing a slip stitch into a chain when ending a round. I am going through the back loop. My last square didn’t look bad but am I doing this correctly? I’m practicing more with this pattern because I still hold my yarn too tight. I try just using my hook to yarn over but I have had a long time habit of using my left hand to place the yarn over the hook rather than catching the yarn with the hook. Is there a video that demonstrates the proper way to hold the yarn and use the hook? My tension is always tight. I’ve seen videos of how to wrap the yarn around a finger but I’m just not getting it. Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    • Shelley Husband

      Aww thanks so much Mary! Yes you will have a slightly larger hole when joining into the top loop of the 3rd chain, but generally this is not as issue as you move on as that stitch will be worked into most times and it becomes less visible. But! I actually don’t do ch3 as you’ll see in GSA in a later section. I do a false stitch instead. I talk about it in part 7.

      I am not going to say you must hold your yarn and hook any particular way. There are so many different ways, and as long as it’s not causing pain and is working for you, then it is right. I use my left hand fingers to move the yarn over the hook. I never did the finger up in the air thing. But as I say, what works for you, works for you. If you are tight, maybe try using a larger hook instead of trying to change your method.

      Reply
      • Mary DeRuntz Perez

        Hi Shelly, you are so kind to respond so quickly. I feel reassured about how I hold the yarn and I’ve started using a standing stitch which does make a huge difference. I did use them in your GSA patterns. Your designs are so beautiful. What is truly fantastic are the detailed instructions on your patterns that include pictures and videos. I’ve yet to find anyone that has done this in combination with their books. I am moderately well read with crochet books but you take teaching crochet to the next level. Thank you for your diligence and hard work. I know it is a long process. Thank you again.

        Reply
        • Shelley Husband

          You are most welcome! Happy to help! And thank you so much for the very kind words.

          Reply
  4. Helen Em

    Hello Shelley
    I can’t find instructions on how to treble around the 2 treble in row 2 of Meander- G S Patchwork
    Thanks, Helen

    Reply
    • Shelley Husband

      Hi Helen
      Ah what you’re doing there is making a treble around the post of the treble made in the same round. So you make a treble, then work a treble around that treble just made. You kind of work sideways. Have a look at the chart as well as that may help show you where to work it.

      If that doesn’t help, shoot me an email or head over to my Facebook group for help.

      Reply

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