Working in the Third Loop

Do you know the 3rd loop of a crochet stitch? I got to know it a few years ago and found it very helpful.

You can achieve very beautiful effects by working into the 3rd loop. The two top loops of a stitch (the little “v” formed by the front and back loop) are brought to the front and create kind of a rib that looks a bit like a knit stitch. I love it!

And the third loop can be very helpful when the pattern tells to work in back loops only. Grasping not only the back loop but also the third loop will stabilize the stich and prevent the back loop from stretching out too much.

So what is the 3rd loop?

I have often read lately that only a hdc (US terms) has a third loop.
Hm … In my eyes that’s not true but to be honest I don’t know wether I am right or wrong.
For sure, the hdc is the stitch where it is easiest to work in the 3rd loop. Therefore, it is probably best explained with this stitch. The 3rd loop of a hdc is created with the first yarn over you make when working the stitch. It is shown as a little horizontal ridge on the back side of your work.

But you also will find a little “extra” loop in other stitches like for instance in single crochet or double crochet.

So, when I am talking about the 3rd loop I am just talking about this little extra loop on the backside of a stitch. Yes, I know that they are formed in different ways. If the definition is that the 3rd loop is formed by the first yarn over as in the hdc, then the 3rd loop of a dc it is actually somewhat hidden and lies more inside the stitch. The loop you see is formed by xxx. And by this definition, the single crochet should have none at all.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me because all these little loops serve the same purpose and create the same effects.
Remember, the third loop is always on the back of the stitch. If you are working in rounds (without turning the work), it is always at the back. If you work in rows and turn the work, then the 3rd loop will move to the front.

To work in these mysterious loops just insert your hook from top to bottom and front to back (like you would do it in the back loop only) and work the stitch as normal. That’s it!

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