Half Double Crochet is a simple, but beautiful crochet stitch. It is one of the most common crochet stitches and my favorite! This tutorial shows you how to crochet the half double crochet stitch along with tips for working HDC stitches in patterns.
I love the half double crochet stitch (abbreviated HDC). It is one of the basic crochet stitches to learn as a beginner. After you’ve learned how to chain stitch and single crochet you are ready to learn how to half-double crochet with this ultimate guide.
What is the Half Double Crochet Stitch?
The half double crochet stitch is just a little bit taller than the single crochet and smaller than the double crochet stitch. If you know how to make a single crochet stitch, learning how to make a half double crochet stitch is easy because there is just one more step: a yarn over at the beginning.
In the US, this stitch is called half-double crochet and in the UK it is called half treble crochet.
Half Double Crochet is my favorite stitch for hats, sweaters, scarves, baby blankets and pillows. It creates a warm, cozy crochet fabric without a lot of holes or gaps that bigger stitches can make.
Let’s learn how to make this stitch step-by-step!
How to Half Double Crochet
The half double crochet stitch shares components of both a single crochet and a double crochet.
There are a few small differences: To make a half-double crochet, start with a yarn over. The very last step is to pull the yarn through three loops on the hook (instead of two loops). This process creates a special third loop that is unique to HDC.
Here is how to make a HDC stitch:
- Yarn over and insert the hook into the next stitch
- Yarn over again and pull up a loop
- Yarn over and pull the yarn through all 3 loops on the hook
The half-double crochet stitches can be worked back and forth in rows or in rounds. When starting a new row or round, chain two for the turning chain.
Does the Turning Chain Count as a Stitch?
When starting a new row of crochet, you chain to bring the yarn up to the correct height for the row of stitches. This chain is called a turning chain.
Half-double crochet is tricky because sometimes the turning chain counts as a hdc stitch and other times it does not depending on the designer’s preference and the desired final look of the project. As a designer, I prefer the looks of NOT counting it as a hdc stitch.
It is really important to understand how a particular pattern handles the turning chain because it affects where the first and last stitch of a row is placed. Handling this incorrectly can result in more or less stitches in a row than expected. Here is an easy way to remember what to do:
If the turning chain does NOT count as a stitch, make the first HDC of the row into the first stitch. Then the last stitch of the row is made into the last HDC of the previous row.
If the turning chain DOES count as a stitch, then skip the first stitch and make the first HDC into the second stitch. At the end of the row, the last stitch is made into the top of the turning chain from the previous row.
Let’s learn how to HDC Step-by-Step
Half Double Crochet for Beginners
To get started, you’ll need yarn and the correct sized hook for the yarn you chose. For practicing, work with a light color yarn so you can see your stitches clearly. I am using a worsted weight yarn with a 4.0 mm hook (these are my favorite hooks I recommend to everyone).
To start a new project, make a slip knot and foundation chain. Then start the first half double crochet stitch in the 3rd chain from the hook.
How to make a half double crochet stitch:
Step 1: Yarn over (YO), wrapping the yarn from the back to the front
Step 2: Insert your hook into the next stitch. (Unless otherwise directed in a pattern, the crochet hook is inserted under both of the loops at the top of the stitch.)
Step 3: Yarn over and pull the yarn through the stitch.
Now you will have three loops on the hook.
Step 4: Yarn over (YO) again and then pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook at once.
There now should be only one loop left on the hook and your half-double crochet (HDC) stitch is complete!
Continue across the row or as directed in the pattern, making a stitch into each stitch across the row the same way:
Yarn over (YO), insert the hook into the next stitch. Then yarn over (YO) and pull through the stitch. Yarn over (YO) again and pull through all three loops on the hook. Complete this process for each HDC, working one half double crochet stitch in each of the remaining stitches in the row.
To know where to work the last stitch in the row you’ll need to know whether or not the designer counts the turning chain as a stitch or not. If it IS counted as a stitch, the last HDC in a row is worked into the turning chain from the previous row. If it is NOT counted as a stitch, the last HDC will be worked in the first HDC from the previous row.
In the next photo, I am NOT counting the turning chain as a stitch and so the last HDC is worked into the first HDC from the previous row.
At the end of the row of half-double crochet, chain 2 and turn the work. You’ll now be looking at the back of the swatch.
The photo below shows the start of a new row where the turning chain does NOT count as a stitch. Notice the ch-2 turning chain and the first HDC made in the very first stitch.
How to Half Double Crochet Increase
It is so easy to increase in half-double crochet because you simply make 2 HDC in one stitch. This adds one stitch to the stitch count.
Of course you can make multiple HDC stitches into one stitch too!
How to Half Double Crochet Decrease
A half-double crochet decrease stitch turns two consecutive stitches into one stitch. Most often the half-double crochet decrease is abbreviated as hdc2tog (half-double crochet two together). Sometimes designers will write HDC Dec instead.
Many crocheters only ever learn a standard half-double-crochet decrease. However, there are actually two more ways I like making decreases. Try them all and see which you prefer for your particular project.
Standard HDC Decrease
- Yarn over and insert hook into the first stitch
- Yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
- Yarn over again and then insert the hook into the next stitch
- Yarn over and pull up a loop (5 loops on hook)
- Yarn over and pull through all five loops on the hook
The next photo shows the completed HDC decrease. Note that there are a lot of yarn overs and that this can make a bit of a bulky spot in your work. However, this is the most common method and many crocheters only know this one way to crochet a HDC decrease.
Modified HDC Decrease
I love this variation of the decrease because it’s much less bulky than the traditional method. To make the modified decrease, omit the yarn over before inserting the hook in the second stitch of the decrease. Here’s how:
- Yarn over and insert hook into the first stitch
- Yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
- Insert the hook into the next stitch.
- Yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops on hook)
- Yarn over and pull through all four loops on the hook
Invisible HDC Decrease
The third way to make a HDC decrease is the invisible HDC decrease. It creates an almost seamless looking decrease as you can see in the above photo comparing the 3 types of HDC decreases.
To make an invisible HDC decrease, you insert the hook through the front loops only as follows:
- Yarn over and insert hook into the front loop of the first stitch. Do NOT pull up a loop.
- Insert hook into the front loop of the second stitch. This does feel a little awkward at this point. (4 loops on hook)
- Yarn over and pull through first 2 loops on hook (3 loops on hook). Now the work looks similar to a normal HDC.
- Yarn over again and pull through all three loops on the hook to complete the HDC decrease
Half Double Crochet Stitch Variations
The look of the HDC can change so much just by working in different loops.
A standard half double crochet is worked by inserting the hook through the top two loops of the stitch from the prior row. The loop closest to you is called the Front Loop and the loop furthest from you is called the Back Loop.
It’s important to understand that the top two loops will look different depending on if you are looking at your work from the right side or if you have turned the work after a row and are looking at the back side of the stitches. Front loop is ALWAYS the loop CLOSEST to you and the back loop is always the loop FURTHEST from you.
In the below example, we are working a row of stitches and the loops are labeled from that perspective.
Working HDC in Different Loops
You can really change the look of your crochet by working in a different loop. This will create a ridge or bump that creates texture to your piece. To work in the front loop, yarn over, and then insert your hook into the front loop only and work the half double crochet as normal.
Another common variation is the ‘half double crochet in the back loop only’ which is abbreviated as HDC BLO. It is worked by working a yarn over and then inserting the hook in the back loop only. Complete the stitch as normal.
The look of HDC BLO looks different depending on whether you are working in the round or not. If you are working in the round, it creates a slight ridge to the front of the work (which is the unworked front loop). If you ware working back and forth in rows, it creates a ribbing effect.
HDC in the 3rd Loop
You can also work a half double crochet stitch in the 3rd loop. Whoa! To find the 3rd loop, hold your work with the right side facing you, then ever so slightly roll the work towards you. You will see that another loop appears!
This loop is really the yarn over portion of an already worked HDC stitch. When crocheting in the round (as in the above photo), the loop is behind the row of stitches on the wrong side of the work.
If you are crocheting back and forth in rows, the 3rd loop will be facing you once you turn the work so that the wrong side is now facing you to work the next row. In that case the 3rd loop will appear slightly below the front loop.
When worked in the round, HDC in the 3rd Loop creates a lovely ridge that looks a bit like a raised chain stitch on top of your work. It’s a great way to add a simple accent to a crochet hat, for instance.
Another term for a HDC in the third loop worked in the round is the Camel stitch. Some people think this pushing forward of the front and back loops over multiple rows looks a bit like knit stitches.
Half Double Crochet Stitch Ribbing
I love, love, love half double crochet ribbing. In fact, you’ll find it on most of my crochet hat patterns. There are two ways to crochet half double crochet ribbing: HDC Post Ribbing and HDC Ribbing worked in rows
HDC Post Stitch Ribbing
To work half double crochet post stitch ribbing, simply alternate front post crochet (FPHDC) stitches with back post crochet stitches (BPHDC). Post Stitches are worked around a stitch instead of through the loops. Read my complete tutorial on crochet post stitches for more information on working post stitches.
Half Double Crochet Ribbing
Half-double crochet ribbing can also be worked in rows by EITHER working in the back loop only OR the 3rd loop.
This forms a ribbing that many people enjoy. If making a hat with this ribbing, the body of the hat is worked into the sides of the rows. Here is a photo of the ribbing in the ‘wearing position’ showing the texture formed by working stitches in the back loop only.
Patterns Using Half Double Crochet
Wondering what you can make with the HDC stitch or are you looking for a free pattern that uses this basic stitch? Here are some free patterns that use half double crochet for your next crochet project:
I love seeing your finished projects! If you enjoyed making one of my patterns I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @crochet365knittoo. If you are on Facebook, stop over to the Crochet 365 Knit Too Facebook page or pop over to the Crochet365KnitToo Club and share a photo! I’d love to see your work!