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

Crochet stitches and where to insert the hook

Quite often when I’m teaching, students will ask about where to insert the hook into the top of crochet stitches. This is one instance where it really does matter how you crochet. Crochet designers write patterns with the assumption that everyone inserts their hook into the top of crochet stitches in the same way. 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.

The following explanations and images are for those who crochet right-handed, that is, you hold your hook in your right hand. If you crochet left-handed, then read this tutorial instead.

One stitch, three fabrics

Take a look at these three fabrics. They have all be made using double crochet (US: single crochet), but look quite different.

How to Insert Your Hook into the Top of Crochet Stitches

So, how are they different? Each fabric has been made using the same stitch, but inserting the hook through the top of the stitch in the previous row 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, right-handed

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

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

The top of all the usual 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, right-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, right-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.

This is what fabric made from double crochet stitches looks like; it’s a dense, sturdy fabric. It’s used for amigurumi, bags and baskets.

Sample of double crochet worked by inserting the hook through both loops, right-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, right-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, right-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. The 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, right-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, right-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, right-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.

How to Insert Your Hook into the Top of Crochet Stitches

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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2 Responses to How to crochet tutorials: inserting your hook in the top of crochet stitches (for crocheting right-handed)

  1. Becky Henley 11 February 2019 at 14:39 #

    It doesn’t appear that you’re doing a double crochet stitch in the examples. Are you in the USA or is crochet terminology different in other countries? I guess it doesn’t matter. Your pictures and explanations about where to place your hook to make different looks are so helpful. Good job.

    • Being Knitterly 12 February 2019 at 15:03 #

      Hi Becky, yes, the name of the stitch is different in the UK and US, so thank you for spotting that I hadn’t clarified which terms I use. I’ve edited the post to make this clear.

      You are also right that it doesn’t really matter for this particular blog post because the top of most crochet stitches looks the same, therefore my advice on where to insert the crochet hook applies regardless.

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