How To Make Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing
What is it?
Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing is the only non-post stitch technique for making Crochet Ribbing.
Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing looks the same from both sides and is constructed horizontally by working ONLY in the Back Loops of the crochet stitches of each row.
As the name indicates, Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing is made horizontally which means the wales (the raised ridges) and the troughs (the contrasting lower lines) are created by working from side to side in relation to the way we normally see ribbing – in vertical lines.
The Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing technique for making crochet ribbing is very different from the previous methods we have covered here for making crochet ribbing. Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing is made by working every row of stitches in the Back Loops ONLY of the previous row of crochet stitches. Working in the Back Loop only of the stitches leaves the front loops standing out against the surface of the crochet fabric with makes the lines of wales needed to create ribbing.
While we have used Slip Stitch, Single Crochet, and Half Double Crochet stitches for making Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing, today we will be demonstrating with Single Crochet stitches. For your first attempts, Single Crochet Through the Back Loop (sc tbl) will give you the best results. That said… DEFINITELY try Half Double Crochet Through the Back Loop (hdc tbl) then try Slip Stitch Through the Back Loop (sl st tbl). You will love both results although, sl st tbl does take a little practice and some patience to master… maybe we'll cover that one in a post all by itself… later…
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Why Use It?
Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing is a FAB textural and visual element with excellent functional spring back to the finished fabric.
Texturally, the wales and troughs of this reversible ribbing provide depth and contrast to crochet fabric. The height and depth of the wales and troughs will vary greatly depending on the size of the yarn used and the hook used.
Fingering, sock, or DK weight yarns worked on smaller hooks produce perfect little ribs that are FAB when used in garment hems, sleeves, necklines, gloves, wristwarmers, and hat brims. Switch up to a worsted weight or even a chunky weight yarn with larger hooks and you will be rewarded with equally chunky ribs that feel amazing and are FAB for hats, wristwarmers and gloves, cuffs, sleeves, and chunky sweater hems and necklines.
Play around with differently spun yarns as well. You will LOVE the textural difference between a finely spun fingering weight and a worsted weight single. I play with these different textures in Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing for hours and hours at a time and the results are always amazing to me.
Visually, the lines of the wales and troughs are striking when used in the traditional vertical alignment of ribbing along garment hems (of even an entire garment!), hats, wristwarmers… heck anywhere you want the visual appeal of a long, clean line.
Equally striking is Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing used in a horizontal alignment for detailing around cuffs and hems. Again… the possibilities are endless for such a strong visual element with long, clean lines.
No matter the combination of yarns and hook sizes, you are sure to notice your finished Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing fabric has a wonderful spring back quality to it. This method of working in the back loop only of ever row of crochet stitches gives the finished fabric a gentle elasticity that can be used in garments and accessories to hold fabric securely in place and provide support without binding. This is particularly valuable in hems of garments you want to stay in place without riding up. The subtle elasticity is also FAB for keeping hats and the cuffs of gloves and wristwarmers in place during wear.
NOTE: To maintain this elasticity, we recommend blocking only from the ends of the rows. This will line up the wales and troughs nicely without stretching your ribbing too far apart. Of course, for a more relaxed ribbing fit or if you only want the LOOK of ribbing without any of the holding properties, block your fabric in both directions to both line up the stitches and to separate the ribs to your desired width.
To Make Today's Swatch
Here's a list of materials we used to make today's swatch. You should, of course, experiment (as we have) with different yarn weights and hook sizes to see what kinds of FAB fabrics you come up with. These materials listed are what we recommend you use for your learning swatches.
Worsted Weight, 100% Pure Wool
H-8/5.00mm Crochet Hook
Foundation Single Crochet (Fsc) – How to make the Foundation Single Crochet stitch
Single Crochet Through the Back Loop (Sc tbl)
Break It Down
Here is the pattern for our swatch:
Reversible Horizontal Back Loop Crochet Ribbing
Row 1: Fsc 20, turn.
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in first st, sc tbl of each st across row to last st, sc in last st, turn.
Row 3–19: Repeat Row 2.
And the beauty shot… ooooooo…
Remember, we don't block these swatches in our tutorials because we want you all to see exactly what you will be holding in your hands when you finish your swatch.
A Few Final Words
The first few times you practice this technique, we suggest using two colors of yarn just like we did so you can see which stitches go where more easily AND you can compare your work to our tutorial photos more easily. After that, of course, you'll probably want to work in all one color… or not… remember our little recommendation up there in Step 8. Give it a try!
Also, do experiment with different yarn weights, with yarns spun differently, and with different hook sizes. We find going down one hook size is, sometimes, a good thing to tighten up the ribbing and give it a lot more elasticity. But you can and will decide for yourself.
As always with ANY new skill, all it takes is practice for new techniques to feel natural and easy for you. We recommend you stitch up a few swatches like ours, use our photo walk through to compare your stitches to make sure they are behaving and lining up correctly, and… hey… if you aren't happy rip 'em back out and go again! You'll get it!
Finally, PLEASE DO EXPERIMENT and PLAY with these techniques for creating crochet ribbing. NONE of our Technique Tuesday tutorials are meant to be the stopping point for your stitching. To the contrary, they are all meant to be a starting point where you experiment and play with with different yarn weights and hook sizes to see what kind of fabric you can create. Once you get the basics down and can create a swatch that looks like the ones pictured, STITCH ON! and create your own fabric variations.
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