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How to Crochet a Stretchy Stitch (Ribbing Stitches Tutorial)

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Stretchy crochet stitches are so useful for ribbing on hat brims, sweater sleeves and necklines. The stretch allows us to get a good fit on our favorite crochet projects.

So what are the stretchiest stitches? There are several easy crochet stitches to choose from when deciding which stitch to use for ribbing.

In this post we’ll cover the different ways you can use basic crochet stitches to create stretchy ribbing and fabrics.

Stretchy crochet stitches text overlay on collage of crochet ribbing.

Back Loop Only Single Crochet

Single crochet in the back loop is a simple stitch pattern with a one row repeat. This stretchy stitch is useful for ribbing on both beanies and sweater trims.

Abbreviations

blo – back loop only

ch – chain

sc – single crochet

st – stitch

Light blue crochet ribbing on white table.
Single crochet in the back loop ribbing for a hat brim.

To work the blo sc:

Start with a foundation chain of any number of stitches. Your first row will be regular single crochet stitches.

Start in the second chain from your hook and sc in the blo in each ch across, turn.

Ch 1 (does not count), in the first stitch sc in the blo, continue to blo sc in each st across.

Repeat row for length of ribbing.

This stretchy ribbing typically provides 1″ – 3″ of stretch, but sometimes can be even more. The amount of stretchiness will depend on your yarn, crochet hook size and personal tension. For a crochet hat be sure to work your ribbing smaller than the actual head size.

For the written pattern, a step by step photo tutorial and video tutorial for this simple stretchy crochet ribbing check out this hat brim tutorial.

Camel Stitch or Half Double Crochet in the 3rd Loop

The camel stitch is a stretchy ribbing stitch that uses the half double crochet. This stitch is special because is has a “3rd loop” that is a horizontal bar of yarn across the back of an hdc stitch.

Orange ribbed crochet fabric of camel stitch.
Camel stitch worked in orange cotton yarn.

Abbreviations

tlo – third loop only

ch – chain

hdc – half double crochet

st – stitch

To work the camel stitch:

Start with a foundation row of hdc. You can chain any number. Skip the first chain, insert hook in 2nd chain and hdc in each chain across, turn.

Now when you look at the previous row, you will see the horizontal bar, or 3rd loop.

Ch 1 (counts as a turning chain), hdc in 3rd loop of each stitch across, turn.

Repeat this row for length of ribbing.

For the written pattern, a step by step photo tutorial and video tutorial for this stretchy half double crochet ribbing check out this post.

This ribbing makes a great crochet pumpkin hat! My favorite use of this stitch is the neckline ribbing on this cozy cardigan.

2 inch swatch of crochet slip stitch ribbing in white.
Slip Stitch ribbing swatch.

Slip Stitch Ribbing

The slip stitch ribbing is a dense stretchy ribbing. It is also worked in the back loop. This stitch resembles a knit stitch ribbing.

Abbreviations

blo – back loop only

ch – chain

sl st – slip stitches

st – stitch

Chain to any number of stitches.

Start in the 2nd chain from your hook, sl st in each ch across, turn.

Ch 1 (does not count as a st), sl st in the blo of each st across, turn.

Repeat for the next row and each row after until your ribbing is as long as needed.

For the written pattern, a step by step photo tutorial and video tutorial for this slip stitch ribbing check out this post.

Front Post and Back Post Ribbing

This classic ribbing alternates post stitches for a bold and stretchy rib. For this ribbing you will need to know how to work post stitches.

Orange blanket with double crochet ribbing for border on chair.
Front post and back post double crochet ribbing on blanket border.

Abbreviations

BPdc – back post double crochet

ch – chain

FPdc – front post double crochet

sl st – slip stitches

st – stitch

To begin your double crochet ribbing you’ll need to start with a row of dc.

Ch an even number of sts, dc in the 3rd ch from your hook and in each ch across, turn.

Ch 2 (counts as a turning chain) FPdc in first st, BPdc in next st, *{FPdc, BPdc} rep from * across, turn.

Rep the last row for desired length.

Sometimes I like to work a variation of this stitch with FPdc and regular dc. This also makes a stretchy ribbing.

For the written pattern and video tutorial for this double crochet post stitch ribbing check out this post.

More Stitches That Create Stretchy Crochet Fabric

There are several stitches that create a fabric with stretch. The stitches below are not necessarily for ribbing, but stitch have enough movement in them to stretch.

Wood crochet hook on pink yarn in foundation double crochet.
Foundation double crochet stitch.

Foundation Stitches

Foundation Stitches are a way of starting your crochet without a chain. This is so helpful if you need to work a long chain for a baby blanket.

The foundation double crochet makes the chain as you work each dc stitch. It can be tricky to learn, but it’s so work it.

These stitches give the foundation row just a bit more stretchiness than a typical chain. This works great for necklines or hem that need to stretch to fit over the body.

Foundation stitches can be any stitch. Learn more in the tutorial on foundation double crochet stitches here.

Crochet stitches alternated front loop and back loop.

Front Loop and Back Loop Stitches

Just like the single crochet ribbing that is worked in the back loop only, using one loop or the other makes a stitch stretchy. You can also alternate using front loop and back loop stitches to create a stretchy fabric.

The Nebbia Sweater features this alternating front loop double crochet and back loop dc for a textured and stretchy top. There is also a matching scarf in this stitch pattern.

Crochet tablet cover opened with pocket and button.
Table cover crochet pattern in moss stitch.

Moss Stitch

This classic stitch comes with many names, including the linen stitch or woven stitch. It is a simple stitch of single crochets and chains. You work single crochets in to each chain space.

The stretchiness of this stitch will depending a lot on your gauge. This includes yarn, hook and tension. So if you crochet tightly it may not stretch much for you. If you are a loose crocheters it may be very drapey.

This teen tablet cover crochet pattern features the moss stitch. It’s a fun little pattern in chunky yarn and makes a great gift!

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