I LOVE post stitches. Whether in the context of ribbing, overlay crochet, or the ever-popular crocodile stitch, I think post stitching is one of the most versatile and useful tricks in the crocheter’s arsenal.
Post stitching can create a number of looks that are completely unique to crochet, but I often rely on the simple alternation of front post double crochet (fpdc) and back post double crochet (bpdc) to make ribbing on my pieces. This fpdc/bpdc rib mimics the look of knit, but it also lends some handy characteristics to the fabric – an elasticity and a squishy density you won’t get with regular crochet!
Here’s a tutorial for fpdc/bpdc rib – earlier versions of this tutorial have appeared in a number of my paid patterns, but I swiped the pictures for this particular tutorial from the Boho Fringe Poncho pattern, since the bulky yarn makes things a little easier to see.
Front Post Double Crochet / Back Post Double Crochet Tutorial
As the name suggest, this stitch is worked into the “post” of the stitch below, rather than into the top loops.
To start, you’ll need an even number of stitches (divisible by 2) on whatever it is you are adding the ribbed edge to. You can do this with any size yarn or hook.
Create 1 row/rnd of traditional double crochet, made the through the top loops of the stitches below as normal. Do not count the beginning chain as your first stitch. If you are adding ribbing onto a row/rnd that is already regular double crochet, you can skip this step.
Ch 2 or 3 to start the next row/rnd. This beginning chain does not count as your first stitch.
Normally, ch-3 is the beginning chain equivalent of a double crochet. I like to chain 2 instead of the traditional 3 because post stitches are a little shorter than regular crochet stitches, so the ch-2 just looks neater to me (but the pictures show the traditional ch-3).
To begin the first front post double crochet, yarn over once as for traditional dc. Instead of inserting your hook into the top loops of the stitch to be worked, you will insert your hook from the front of the work (on the right side) to the back (the wrong side) beside the next stitch to be worked.
Next, re-emerge the hook from back to front on the other side of the stitch to be worked. Your hook should be positioned across the front of the work, with the post caught over the top of your hook.
Yarn over and draw a loop up from under the post of the stitch that you had on the hook. You will now have 2 loops on the hook – your second loop will be wrapped around the post.
Yarn over and draw through 2 loops on the hook. Yarn over once more and draw through the last 2 loops on the hook, completing one front post double crochet.
Easy, right? Good news! The back post double is almost exactly the same thing, except, you know, on the back. To continue your ribbing, yarn over.
Insert your hook from the back of the work (the wrong side) to the front of the work (the right side) beside the next stitch to be worked.
Re-emerge the hook on the back side of the work (the wrong side) on the other side of the stitch being worked. Your hook should be positioned across the back of your work, with the post of the next stitch caught over the top.
Yarn over and draw up a loop from under the post of the stitch you had on the hook.
Yarn over and draw through 2 loops on the hook, then YO and draw through 2 loops again, completing the bpdc.
Continue to alternate fpdc and bpdc. I like to do 1 fpdc / 1 bpdc, but you could easily make thicker ribs by alternating 2 fpdc / 2 bpdc or more (but don’t forget this will change the required number of base stitches!)
The front post stitches appear as a raised stitch on the front of the work, while the back post stitches appear raised on the back and only show up as receding lines on the front.
This fabric is reversible – if you are working in rows and not rounds, when you turn for the next row, the back post double crochets will become the front post double crochets – simply fpdc into each fpdc (the stitches that are now sticking out) and bpdc into each bpdc (the receding stitches).
It takes a few rows/rnds of post stitch rib for the texture to really solidify and get the crisp look and useful stretch – so if yours isn’t looking quite right yet, keep going for a few more!
Of course, post stitches can be worked with any length of crochet stitch – sc, hdc, dc, tr, etc – the smaller your stitches the stiffer your fabric will be, and taller stitches will be looser of course. Here’s some patterns I’ve made using this technique; hope you enjoy!
(Right to left) Gnome Toboggan – paid, Boho Fringe Poncho – paid, Mini Mandala Tam – paid, Post Stitch Pixie Bonnet – FREE, Leafy Tam – FREE, Woodsman’s Wife Ruana – paid, Steampunk Ruffled Wristers – FREE