Through The Loops – Front Or Back

If you google “tbl” you get a whole lot of explanations what it could mean – from ‘text back later’ to ‘the bottom line’ etc. Those are meant for the real world. In the knitting world, the geek speak of ‘tbl’ is an abbreviation for ‘through (the) back loop’, and, to my surprise, that explanation shows up, too.

When you knit a stitch into the back loop, the following happens: The legs of the stitch get crossed, therefore making it tighter. A stitch knit (or purled, if you will) into the back loop has a very distinct look, it stands out more than your regular knit stitch. It is used for a variety of reasons.

In a knitting pattern it can be used on its own or in combination with another instruction (like ‘ssk’ for example, however in this case you do it for a different reason and the stitches don’t really get twisted).

The very popular pattern of the “Clapotis” uses stitches knit into the back loop to frame the stitches that get dropped at some point, as does the “Melody Shawl”.

There is a whole style of traditional knitting patterns with twisted stitches that stems from Southern Germany and Austria.


Example of a Twisted Stitch Pattern from Austria (Source: Twisted Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher)

Then last but not least, you can use twisted stitches to knit a 1×1 rib on a project of yours.


 1×1 rib knit tbl. On the WS you have to purl tbl also to get an uninterrupted look.

This is my technical bit for today.

Happy knitting, as ever!

– Mona

One thought on “Through The Loops – Front Or Back

  1. Lynn Desjardins says:

    Super Mona. Love your blogs. If you have time to do it, I would love to see you clear up the confusion I have found on the internet about “knitting into the stitch below”. I have found different techniques on different videos. Just a suggestion. -Lynn

    On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM, espacetricot

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