Crochet Tips & Tricks
How to Use Front & Back Loop Stitches for Amigurumi

How to Use Front & Back Loop Stitches for Amigurumi

If you’ve been crocheting for a while, you’ve likely come across the front loop stitch and the back loop stitch. These two stitches are pretty simple on their own and are often used to create stretchier fabric for things like beanies. However, there’s a whole world of uses for these stitches in amigurumi. From changing the angle of your work to adding special details, there’s so many incredible ways to utilize these simple stitches. Let me show you how to use front & back loop stitches for amigurumi!

How to Use Front & Back Loop Stitches for Amigurumi

What are front & back loop stitches?

As a quick refresher, let’s go over the differences in these two and how they differ from a basic stitch.

One important thing to note is that nearly any stitch can be adapted to be used in the front loop or the back loop. For example, you may see a pattern that says ‘FLsc’ (front loop single crochet) or ‘BLhdc’ (back loop half double crochet).

When you’re working a regular single crochet, you’ll insert your hook under both loops of the stitch.

regular single crochet example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

However, to turn this into a FLsc (front loop single crochet) or a BLsc (back loop single crochet), you instead insert your hook only under the front loop or the back loop.

front and back loop explanation for how to use front & back loop stitches for amigurumi
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

When you work a FLsc, you leave the back loop of that same stitch unworked and it can be used later. The same is true if you work a BLsc, except this time you’re leaving the front loop unworked.

If you don’t free-hand your amigurumi or have no interest in designing toys yourself, you might be wondering why you need to know this. And that’s fair, but I think it’s important to understand all the mechanics behind stitches so that you have a deeper understanding of how amigurumi can be constructed.

Changing Directions

Sometimes you’ll want your project to flare out or in sharply, essentially changing the direction of the piece. For example, if you’re making a hat, the cylinder or cone shape of the hat needs to transition to the brim at a 90 degree angle.

hat example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

You can achieve this change in direction by using the front and back loops of the stitches. The easiest way to think of it is that when you work under both loops, your stitches are stacked solidly on top of one another. However, when you work in only the front or back loops, your stitches will tilt to one side or the other.

direction changes for how to use front & back loop stitches for amigurumi
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

I’ve used back loop stitches most often in my projects for things like created little cylinder-shaped feet on Hernando the Hedgehog and Anton the Armadillo.

anton and hernando image for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Do you prefer to watch tutorials? All this awesome info is available in the video below! And if you like my content, you can help me out by liking the video and subscribing to my YouTube channel!

Adding Elements

Another great use of front and back loop stitches is the fact that you can use the unworked loops later. This is most commonly done when using back loop stitches as it leaves the unworked front loops exposed on the outside of the toy. There’s all sorts of elements and details that can be added to an amigurumi this way. Let’s look at a few examples:

sia the strawberry squid example for how to use front & back loop stitches for amigurumi
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

In my free Sia the Strawberry Squid pattern, I use back loop stitches to leave two different rows of front loops unworked and from there you re-attach the yarn and add the leaves and tentacles. This construction cuts down on sewing and makes it easier to place these details.

terra the sea turtle back loop example for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Another example is in my free Terra the Sea Turtle pattern, where I use leave front loops unworked so they can be used later to connect and form the rest of the shell.

You can add all sorts of complex detail to your amigurumi by utilizing front and back loop stitches! From ruffles and leaves to limbs and ears, there’s so many options to explore. Not to mention the construction capabilities like those used in Terra’s pattern.

Adding Texture

While most of the examples I used in the previous section relied on the back loop stitch, you can add all sorts of texture with the front loop stitch! For example, if you wanted to create nostrils or ears without sewing on separate pieces, you can instead use front loop stitches and then continue the next rows in the unworked back loops.

An easy example of this is in my Hernando the Hedgehog pattern, where you work sets of front loop half double crochet and front loop double crochet stitches to create the ears. Then on the following round, you work regular single crochet into the unworked back loops to continue the head as normal.

ear example for front loop stitches for how to use front & back loop stitches for amigurumi
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

NOTE: This example is not in the current version of Hernando the Hedgehog, but when the pattern updated after testing is complete, you’ll see this in the new version. To stay updated on when this pattern is updated, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter!

Aside from making ears and nostrils, you can use all sorts of stitches in this way to add cool textures to a project. Here’s a little sample I worked up where I first created a flat circle. Then I used a round of back loop single crochet to change directions and turn it into a cylinder.

From there I experimented with working various stitches in the front loops only, followed by rounds of regular single crochet (making sure to work in the unworked back loops of those experimental stitches. For example, for the ear-like shapes, I worked (1hdc, 1dc, 1tr, 1dc, 1hdc) all into the front loop of the same stitch.

texture examples for blog post
Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Then a few rounds later, I created mini shell or fan-like stitches by working (1dc, ch 2, 1dc) all into the front loop of the same stitch. Lastly, I played around with working (1sl st, ch 6, 1sl st) all into the front loop of the same stitch.

There’s so many cool possibilities to play around with when it comes to creating textures this way and you there’s absolutely no sewing involved! Plus, imagine how awesome some of these textures would look if they were in different colors to contrast with the main body.

You can use this technique to not only create ears, but feathers, fins, small horns, etc… I’m getting inspired just thinking about it!

Wrap Up

If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your crafty friends and make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter so you never miss an update! What’s your favorite use for front and back loop stitches? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Want to give some of these techniques a try? Check out some of the fun free patterns here on the blog:

Have a beautiful day and happy stitching!

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