How to crochet tutorial: inserting your hook in the top of crochet stitches (for crocheting left-handed)

Working into the top of crochet stitches

In my last post I wrote about how to insert the hook in the top of crochet stitches for crocheting right-handed. The following explanations and images are for those who crochet left-handed, that is, you hold your hook in your left hand.

Working into the top of stitches is one instance where it really does matter what you do. Crochet designers write patterns with the assumption that everyone inserts their hook into the top of crochet stitches in the same way. Therefore, if their design needs a different approach, then they will tell you in the pattern instructions.

How to crochet tutorial: Inserting your hook in the top of stitches creates different fabrics

If you want to know about where to insert the hook in the foundation chain, take a look at these posts for those who crochet left-handed or crochet right-handed.

One stitch, three fabrics

Take a look at these three fabrics. They have all be made using the same stitch, but look quite different.

Three samples of double crochet worked by inserting the hook in different places at the top of stitches, left-handed

So, how are they different? Each fabric has been made using double crochet, but inserting the hook in a different way. Now you see why this matters!

Let’s start by describing the top of crochet stitches

Make a short chain and the first row of double crochet stitches.

Look at the top of the first row. The top of each stitch comprises two loops. You can see them as  “<” shapes along the top. We refer to the loops as the front loop and back loop. The front loop is the one nearest you, regardless of which side you are looking at. Likewise the back loop is the one furthest from you. 

You are looking at the right side of the fabric if the  “<‘s” slope towards you …

Looking at the top of crochet stitches from the right side, left-handed

and the wrong side if the “<s” slope away from you …

Looking at the top of crochet stitches from the wrong side, left-handed

… so you have to tilt the fabric towards you to see them.

Looking at the top of crochet stitches from the wrong side, tilted, left-handed

The top of all the basic crochet stitches looks like this (double crochet, half treble crochet, treble crochet, double treble crochet).

The standard way to insert the hook into the top of crochet stitches

I’m going to assume that we are working rows of double crochet. To work the second row you turn the fabric so you’re looking at the wrong side and make one chain (the turning chain).

Next insert the hook under both loops of a stitch in the first row.

Double crochet worked by inserting the hook under both loops, left-handed

As you will be working from the wrong side, the “<‘s” slope away from you, so you’ll need to tilt the fabric towards you so you can see the top of the last row of stitches.

Double crochet worked by inserting the hook under both loops, left-handed

In the post about inserting the hook into the foundation chain, I said that most beginners find it tricky to do. If you are a beginner you’ll be much relieved that inserting your hook into the top of stitches is quite easy.

Here’s a sample of fabric made from double crochet stitches; it’s a dense, sturdy fabric. It’s often used for amigurumi, bags and baskets.

Sample of double crochet worked by inserting the hook through both loops, left-handed

Crochet under the back loop

Now make another short chain and the first row of double crochet stitches.

Turn the fabric so you’re looking at the wrong side and make one chain (the turning chain).

Next insert the hook under the back loop only of a stitch in the first row.

Double crochet worked by inserting the hook under back loop, left-handed

Again, you’ll need to tilt the fabric towards you so you can see the top of the last row of stitches.

Double crochet worked by inserting the hook under back loop, left-handed

You’ll probably find that inserting the hook under the back loop makes the loop feel too loose. Don’t worry, once you have made more stitches it will be fine.

Work a few rows inserting the hook under the back loop only. This fabric is thinner than working under both loops and has a visible horizontal line every two rows.

Sample of double crochet worked by inserting the hook through back loop, left-handed

Crochet under the front loop

Finally, make another short chain and the first row of double crochet stitches.

Turn the fabric so you’re looking at the wrong side and make one chain (the turning chain).

Next insert the hook under the front loop only of a stitch in the first row.

Double crochet worked by inserting the hook under front loop, tilted, left-handed

If you tilt the fabric towards you, you’ll be able to check that you haven’t caught the back loop.

Double crochet worked by inserting the hook under front loop, tilted, left-handed

Again, you’ll probably find that the front loop feels too loose. Don’t worry, once you have made more stitches it will be fine.

Work a few rows inserting the hook under the front loop only.

Sample of double crochet worked by inserting the hook through front loop, left-handed

Do you see something magical happening to your fabric? It’s not flat, but concertinaed; I love the way this feels! This is one method of creating a mock rib in crochet.

Advice for beginners!

Crocheting into the top of stitches is far easier than crocheting into the foundation chain.

Don’t be a random crocheter! Since the three methods create quite different fabrics, mixing them up will create a fabric that looks random. Start with the standard method since that is used in most patterns.

Advice for everyone else!

There are three ways that you can insert the hook into the top of stitches. None are difficult, so have a go at all of them. I love how such a simple variation in working crochet stitches creates fabrics that are so different.

Take a look at different crochet patterns to find examples of the different methods.

Want to learn more?

Take a look at Nicki’s tutorials. Choose from:

You knit right-handed if your working hand is your right hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and the stitches move from the left to right needle as you knit.

Tutorials for knitting right-handed

You knit left-handed if your working hand is your left hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and the stitches move from the right to left needle as you knit.

Tutorials for knitting left-handed

You crochet right-handed if your working hand is your right hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you crochet from right to left or anti-clockwise.

Tutorials for crocheting right-handed

You crochet left-handed if your working hand is your right hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you crochet from left to right or clockwise.

Tutorials for crocheting left-handed

Or maybe you’d like to come to one of Nicki’s short courses or workshops or book a special personalised one-to-one tutorial.

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