Post Stitches 101
[This article, by Drew Emborsky, first appeared in Crochet Today September/October 2010]
Post stitches have it hard. Either folks think they’re impossible to do, or they’ve never heard of them at all. But I love post stitches—in fact, working with them has changed my perspective on crochet. They’re incredibly versatile and can do anything from adding texture to creating drape. So I urge you to give posts a chance—you’re likely to find that they’re easy to do, and they’ll take your crochet to a whole new level.
The basic premise of post stitches is actually quite simple. Instead of inserting your hook under the “V” at the top of each stitch as you normally would, you insert the hook around the vertical post of the stitch, which is located just beneath the V.
To work a front post double crochet: yarn over, then insert your hook from right to left around the post of the stitch below (fig. a). Yarn over and pull up a loop, then complete the stitch as you would a regular double crochet, finishing the stitch at the same height as the other stitches in the current row (fig. b). To work the next stitch, it is important to remember to skip the stitch directly behind the post stitch you’ve just worked, and instead work into the next stitch in the current row (fig. c). When you’ve completed the row, count your stitches to be sure you have the correct number, as it’s easy to lose or gain stitches when you’re first getting the hang of post stitches.
To work a back post double crochet, work it the same as a front post stitch, but insert the hook around the post on the back of the work (fig d).
To work other types of post stitches, such as front post treble crochets, simply yarn over the number of times required for that stitch and complete it as you normally would, but work around the post instead of into the top of the stitch.
Now that you see how easy post stitches are to make, let’s explore some of the great things you can do with them.
It’s no secret that it can be difficult to create drape in crochet designs—but post stitches can really help. Post stitches, especially long ones like front or back post treble crochets, provide any project amazing drape. The swatch above is made with front and back post trebles, which allows the length of the stitches to flow freely.
You can create a very stretchy crochet ribbing by alternating front and back post stitches in vertical lines. This is great for cuffs and collars, as the resulting fabric gives a little and goes right back into place; it can also be used to create entire garments, such as a ribbed sweater.
Post stitches are also fantastic for creating structure, whether in a “stiff” item like a handbag or in an open stitch pattern such as lace. In the swatch above I separated lacy regular crochet stitches that would normally flop all over the place with columns of post stitches, giving the fabric great structure.
While a nice combination of different standard crochet stitches can provide lots of texture, adding post stitches with their definitive pop toward the front or the back takes texture to a whole new level. In the swatch at right I alternated front and back post stitches to create a cool basket weave effect.
You can create amazing crochet cables by criss-crossing post stitches for wonderfully textural results, as you can see at right. They look fantastic on sweaters, afghans, scarves and bags.