Half Double Crochet Tutorial, Tips and Tricks

The half double crochet stitch (abbreviated "hdc") is often overlooked in favor of its smaller and  larger neighbors, the single crochet (sc) and the double crochet (dc). But when you get to know it, this stitch is really pretty amazing.

Half Double Crochet Cowl

Photo via Craftsy member FCSCrafters

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How to do the half double crochet stitch

First things first: Before we take a look at how the hdc can be used, let's see how it's made. 

To practice, we'll work up a small sample by making 19 chains, then working the first hdc into the third chain from the end. (If you are new to crochet, you might find it tricky to make hdc stitches into a chain. Not a problem — just start your sample with one or two rows of sc stitches before trying out the hdc.)

Then we'll crochet a few rows of 17 hdc stitches. This is an ideal swatch size that you can also use to practice the stitch and to find out how it looks and feels in the yarn you are using.

We'll walk through the whole stitch in just a minute, but here's the quick step-by-step tutorial:

How to make the half double crochet stitch
  1. Yarn over
  2. Insert hook through the next stitch in the previous row
  3. Yarn over
  4. Pull up a loop so you have three loops on your hook
  5. Yarn over
  6. Pull through all three loops

Be sure to work the stitch through both the front and back loops of the stitch. This produces an even crochet fabric that is completely reversible. In fact, there isn't really a right side and a wrong side. I've defined my right side as the side I was looking at when I made my first hdc row.

Sample of the half double crochet stitchRight side and wrong side of half double crochet stitch with colorful stripes

Using the half double crochet for the linen stitch

An easy variation on the half double crochet is to stitch into every other stitch of the row below, adding a chain between the stitches. In all the rows that follow, make the hdc into the chain space of the previous row. This produces what is often called "linen stitch" but can also be called "moss stitch" or "granite stitch."

The wildflower blanket by Lynda Kruglik below used this simple crochet technique and it is truly stunning.

Half double crochet stitch linen stitch blanketHalf double crochet stitch linen stitch blanket

Photos via Lynda Kruglik

Getting to know the loops of the hdc

Putting your hook through the front and back loops is the standard way to make the half double crochet stitch. If you are having trouble seeing where your hook should go, the photo below shows exactly where you are aiming for.

Defining front loop back loop of the half double crochet stitch

In the photograph above, I had to  turn the sample toward the camera to show the front and back loops. When the sample is laying flat, the top row of loops at the top of the stitches are the front loops.

The unusual thing about hdc stitches is that they create a third set of loops, which are found below the front and back loops. They can be  difficult to see at first, and you might want to make a sample using a larger hook so that your crochet fabric is loose.

Defining middle loops of a half double crochet stitch

Putting the half double crochet stitch to work

You can explore the true versatility of the hdc and create some terrific effects just by varying which loop you use to make the stitch.

Back-loop-only hdc

This stitch is made in exactly the same way as a standard half double crochet, but instead of going through both the front and back loops, you insert your hook through the back loop only.

This produces a textured crochet fabric that resembles a deeply knitted rib.

Half double crochet using back loops only

Again, this is completely reversible and is perfect for making cuffs — boot cuffs, cuffs to gloves, mittens, sweaters and so on.

Front-loop-only hdc

You might think that making your half double crochet stitch into the front loops only would also produce a rib-like sample. But how surprising is this:

Half double crochet stitch front loops only

Front-loop-only hdc is very similar to a Tunisian crochet stitch and has a completely different texture than the back-loop-only hdc.

Middle loop hdc 

Here's a fun sample to try: Make one row of hdc stitches in the back loops only, then turn and make the next row into the middle loops only. Repeat for several rows, and you'll produce crochet fabric that closely resembles knitting.

Half double crochet middle loops alt back loops

And the other side has its own interesting pattern and texture with some gorgeous squiggles.

Half double crochet middle loops alt back loops

But where the middle loop of the hdc really comes into its own is when you are working in the round. If you work in a spiral, making an hdc into each middle loop you can produce crochet that looks like knitted stockinette stitch and is fully reversible with the wavy texture on the other side.

Heather Collins of Pink Milk made this gorgeous cowl using this technique — she just whipped it up on a lazy Sunday!

Sloppy Sunday Cowl using half double crochet stitch in the roundSloppy Sunday Cowl with half double crochet stitch in the round

Photos via Heather Collins of Pink Milk

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25 Comments

Joanne

Brilliant blog post! Can I ask a question? I’m not a hugely experienced crocheter and I was terribly confused by the reference to the ‘third loop’ is that the same as the ‘middle loop’? I just couldn’t work it out…

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Hi Joanne – it is confusing because this ‘extra’ loop can be called different names. It can be called a ‘middle loop’ yes. If you look at the photo in the post just before the heading ‘Putting the half double crochet stitch to work’ you will see this loop labeled. If you compare that to your own crochet sample, it should become clearer. I am glad you enjoyed the post and please do ask if you have any more questions 🙂 xxx Kathryn

Reply
Sheilagh

When you say “middle loops” do you mean passing through both the front and back loop?

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Hi Sheilagh – no, the middle loop is distinct from the front and back loops, which are at the top of the hdc. The middle loop or third loop is lower down – check back with the photograph just above the heading ‘Putting the half double crochet stitch to work’ in the post. The middle loops are labeled and you can see the front loops above them. Its tricky to find at first – try making a small sample and giving it a try. Please do ask if you have any more questions 🙂 xxx Kathryn

Reply
Carmen N

Thank you! Hdc is my favorite stitch but I learned a few new tricks today

Reply
Allison Dey Malacaria

Thanks so much for the great photos of the variations. This is really exciting!

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Thanks Allison – glad you enjoyed the post. I really enjoyed making it and putting the hdc through its paces 🙂

Reply
PattyB

The third loop is ingenious! Half dc is my favorite stitch, always so soft and easy easy to do. Thank you!

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Hi Patty It is a very versatile stitch and produces such lovely crochet fabric – one of my favourites too xxx Kathryn

Reply
Rachael

When ending a row & turning for a new one what do you do? Chain 1, 2, none? Start in first, second, third stitch? Thank you. BRW: I am creating a baby blanket using standard HCD going through both front & back loops. Thank you

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Hi Rachael To get a nice straight edge use 2 turning chains. So, at the end of the row, after your final hdc, make two chains. Turn your work. Make your first hdc of the new row in the FIRST stitch. This can be tricky to spot as its almost under the chains. If you make your first hdc into the second chain, you will reduce your stitch count for the new row by one and your edge will slope. Until you are confident, count your stitches in every row 🙂 Hope that helps and good luck xxx Kathryn

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Hi again Rachael – in my reply I meant “if you make your first hdc into the second STITCH you will reduce your stitch count for the new row by one…. sorry – typing too fast 🙂

Reply
Rachael

Hi Kathryn – thank you for the speedy response & clarification.. Really helpful! Love this stitch!

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Kathryn Senior

Great – the other thing to remember that if you do the start of the row this way, you need to place your last stitch at the end of each row in the last hdc. Don’t add an hdc into the turning chains of the previous row. It will look like you have missed a stitch at the end at first but as you carry on you will see how the width of the piece stays the same as you go up. It won’t be ruler straight because you have a turning chain only at one end of each row – but that is hidden when you complete your edging 🙂

Reply
Rachael

Thank you for all your guidance! The piece is coming along nicely.

Reply
Kathryn Senior

Great! Come over to my FB page – Crafternoon Treats – and post a pic when its finished. Would love to see the completed blanket 🙂 xxx

Kathryn Senior

Hi Sue It depends on which yarn you want to use. In the samples I was using a light worsted weight (DK) yarn and I tend to use a 3.75mm hook (Size F) but a 4mm (Size G) would work just as well. It depends on your tension – mine is a bit on the loose side so I use a slightly smaller hook than the yarn recommends. If you have some yarn and are unsure what hook size to use, the label usually gives some help on that. xxx Kathryn

Reply
Andrea

Your work is very lovely. I am wanting to try most of them. But need to know one thing. Kathryn are all your patterns in UK or US terms, as they are so different.
Thank you ahead of time

Andrea

Reply
TT

I would believe US terms, as there is no such thing as a half-double crochet stitch in UK terms that I know of…

Thank you SOO much for this post, Kathryn! I’ve been trying to learn knitting, but failing hopelessly D: Now I can get by for a while… 😀

Are there any other crochet hacks similar to this?

Reply
Kathryn Senior

The Craftsy tutorials I do are all in US terms. I am from the UK and use UK terms as my ‘native language’ but I am producing my own patterns on my blog in UK and US terms now. It exercises my brain rather than yours 🙂

Reply
Kathryn Senior

You are right TT – the hdc is only in US terminology. As is the sc. That’s one of the ways you can tell if a pattern is US or UK if it doesn’t say 🙂

Reply
Arlene

Thank you so much for explaining the two stitches. They make a nice pattern.

Reply
Lorna

One of the best crochet articles I’ve read in a long time. I’ve been looking for a suitable stitch to make a rug runner from twine or chunky wool. One of these will do nicely.

Reply

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