Crocheting Blog

Half-Double Crochet Tutorial (Plus Tips & Tricks You Gotta Try)

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

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How to do the half double crochet stitch

Step 1:

Crochet Chain made with orange yarn

Chain 12 – 2o stitches. If you want a little more stability in your work, you can also crochet one or two rows of single crochet, which will give you a nicer base to work your hdcs.

Step 2:

yarn over before making a HDC stitch

Wrap the yarn around your hook from back to front (aka yarn over).

Step 3:

Insert hook into third chain from hook

Insert the hook into the third chain from the hook.

Step 4:

Making a half double crochet stitch

Yarn over once more and pull up a loop. You should have three loops on your hook.

Step 5:

Yarn over before pulling through three loopsPulling yarn through three loops for half double crochet

Yarn over again and pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook.

One half double crochet stitch made with orange yarn

There you have it! One single crochet. Continue to work this way in each chain across.

One Row of Half Double Crochet

When you get to the end, chain two to turn, then continue working across the row.

 

Getting to know the loops of the hdc

Front and back loops

Most stitches, including the half-double crochet, are traditionally made through both the front and back loops of the previous stitch:

Insert crochet hook through front and back of stitch

In the photograph above, you can see my hook is going through both the front and back loops of the stitch in the previous row. When you crochet all your half-double crochets this way, you produce a reversible fabric. Here’s the back of my hdc swatch:

Wrong Side of Half Double Crochet Fabric

 

 

Front and back loop only

As with any other crochet stitch, you can vary the look of the half-double crochet by working it through only the front loop or only the back loop.

For a back loop only hdc (sometimes abbreviated as BLO hdc), you’ll follow the same steps as you would for 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.

Half double crochet stitches worked through back loop only

This produces a textured crochet fabric that resembles a deeply knitted rib. Again, this is completely reversible and is perfect for making cuffs — boot cuffs, cuffs to gloves, mittens, sweaters and so on.

Front loop only half double crochet

The same goes for front loop only hdc (shown above), except that you’ll insert your hook into only the front loop, of course.

Middle or third loop half-double crochet

Middle loop half double crochet

Hdc stitches create a third set of loops, which are found below the front and back loops.

Third Loop Half Double Crochet

Working through these loops creates a more visible rib on the right side of the fabric (as you can see above),giving you a look almost like knitting.

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

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27 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

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Sheilagh

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

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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

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Allison Dey Malacaria

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

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Kathryn Senior

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

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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

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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

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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Rachael

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

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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

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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Beth Kennedy

How do you do a border on a blanket made with hdc’s? How many stitches go into each turning chain? Thank you .

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Cathy

I’m having a hard time counting my rows, can you explain how?
Thanks

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Kristen

I did a bunch of practice single crochet based on your “Want to Learn How to Crochet? Start Here!” article before coming to this one. I want to try this stitch, but the first instruction “chain 12 – 2o stitches” has me confused since that term doesn’t come up in articles or abbreviation lists linked from the original article. Can you help me understand?

Reply

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