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How to Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc)

The half double crochet stitch is one of the most common crochet stitches.
This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to crochet the half double crochet stitch and give you lots of tips for working with HDC stitches in patterns.

half double crochet swatch in blue yarn and pink crochet hook

The half double crochet stitch, often abbreviated HDC, is one of the 6 basic crochet stitches. It’s a beginner-friendly stitch that’s easy to learn and fun to make.

Once you’ve learned the chain stitch and the single crochet, you’re ready to learn the half-double crochet.

What is the Half Double Crochet Stitch?

The half double crochet stitch is taller than a single crochet stitch, yet shorter than double crochet stitch. The process of making a half double crochet stitch is very similar to single crochet, with one extra yarn-over at the beginning.

In the US, it’s called half-double crochet. In the UK, it’s called half-treble crochet.

Half double crochet makes a solid crocheted fabric without holes. It’s a simple stitch that’s well suited to a wide variety of crochet projects, like baby blankets, pillows, scarves, and warm sweaters.

crochet swatch showing the different heights of basic crochet stitches

How to Half Double Crochet

A half double crochet stitch is very similar to the single crochet and double crochet – with a couple of important differences. 

In half-double crochet, you’ll start the stitch with a yarn over. And then, at the end of the stitch, you’ll pull the yarn through three loops on the hook, instead of the usual two. This creates a special third loop that is unique to HDC fabric. 

Here is how to make a HDC stitch:

  • Yarn over, and insert the hook into the next stitch.
  • Yarn over, and pull up a loop.
  • Yarn over again, and pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook.

You can crochet half-double crochet stitches in rows or rounds. Make a turning chain of two to start a new row or round.

Does the turning chain count as a stitch? 

A turning chain is a number of chain stitches that you make at the beginning of a row to bring the yarn up to the correct height for the next stitch.

In HDC, the turning chain sometimes counts as a stitch. It depends on the pattern and the designer.

The pattern introduction will tell you how to treat the turning chain, and whether or not it counts as a stitch.

If the turning chain does count as a stitch, skip the first stitch and make the first HDC into the second stitch. Make the last stitch of a row into the top of the turning chain from the previous row.

If the turning chain does not count as a stitch, make the first HDC into the first stitch (the same one as the base of the turning chain). Make the last stitch of the row into the last HDC of the previous row.

Step-by-Step Half Double Crochet for Beginners

First, choose a yarn and corresponding hook. For beginners, I recommend using a smooth worsted weight yarn and an ergonomic hook. Choose yarn in a light color to make it easier to see your stitches.

If you are starting a new project, make a slip knot and a foundation chain. Start your first half double crochet in the 3rd chain from the hook. (Remember, we don’t count the chain that is around the hook.)

Make the first half double crochet stitch.

Step 1: Yarn over (YO) from back to front.

how to half double crochet

Step 2: Insert the hook into the next stitch. Put the tip of the hook under both of the loops at the top of the stitch.

how to half double crochet - insert the hook

Step 3: Yarn over (YO), and pull the yarn through the stitch.

how to hdc, yarn over

You should now have three loops on the hook.

how to half double crochet - pull up a loop

Step 4: Yarn over (YO) the hook again, and pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook.

hdc stitch tutorial, yarn over again

You should now have one loop remaining on the hook.

half double crochet tutorial, finished stitch

Great job! You have now completed a half-double crochet (HDC) stitch.

Continue across the row.

To make the next HDC: Yarn over (YO) and insert your hook into the next stitch. Yarn over (YO) and pull through the stitch. Yarn over (YO) and pull through all three loops on the hook. This completes the second HDC.

Work 1 half double crochet stitch in each of the remaining stitches.

Start Row 2

To add another row of half-double crochet, chain 2 and turn your work. You will now be looking at the backside of your swatch.

Remember: Some patterns will count the turning chain as a stitch; others will not. Make sure to read the pattern introduction carefully to know what the pattern designer intends for you to do.

The picture below shows the start of a new row where the turning chain does not count as a stitch. As such, you’ll see the ch-2 turning chain and the first HDC of the row made in the first stitch.

ch-2 turning chain, and the first HDC of the row made in the first stitch.

Fastening Off

After the last stitch, cut the yarn, leaving a 6 inch yarn tail. Lift the hook straight up, pulling the yarn tail through the last stitch. Pull the yarn tail to tighten the last stitch. Weave in the yarn ends with a tapestry needle.

How to do a Half Double Crochet Increase

It’s very easy to increase in half-double crochet.

To make a HDC increase, simply make 2 HDC in one stitch. This increase will add one stitch to your stitch count.

You can also make 3 or even 4 HDC into the same stitch.

half double crochet increase in blue yarn with pink crochet hook

  

How to do a Half Double Crochet Decrease

A half-double crochet decrease stitch works two neighboring stitches together to create one stitch. You may see the half-double crochet decrease abbreviated as hdc2tog (half-double crochet two together) or simply HDC Dec.

There are a few ways to make a HDC decrease. I’ll show you three different ways.

Standard HDC Decrease

  • Yarn over and insert the hook into the stitch.
  • Yarn over and pull up a loop. (3 loops on the hook.)
  • Keeping these 3 loops on the hook, yarn over, and insert the hook into the next stitch. (4 loops on the hook.)
  • Yarn over and pull up a loop. (5 loops on the hook.)
  • Yarn over and pull through all five loops.
first step of standard half double crochet decrease
five loops on the hook
completed standard half double crochet decrease
completed hdc decrease

Less Bulky HDC Decrease

Here’s a variation on the half-double crochet decrease that’s a little less bulky. To make it, omit the yarn over in the second stitch of the decrease.

  • Yarn over and insert the hook in the stitch.
  • Yarn over and pull up a loop. (3 loops on the hook.)
  • Do not yarn over (YO), insert the hook into the next stitch. 
  • Yarn over and pull up a loop. (4 loops on the hook.)
  • Yarn over and pull through all four loops.
showing differences between three types of half double crochet decreases

Invisible HDC Decrease

Here is another variation on the HDC decrease that creates a very seamless-looking decrease. I use this decrease in my crochet baby booties pattern.

Here’s how to make it. Instead of inserting your hook through both loops, you insert the hook through the front loops only.  

  • Yarn over and insert your hook in the front loop of the stitch. (Do not pull up a loop.)
  • Do not yarn over, insert your hook through the front loop of the next stitch. (4 loops on the hook)
  • Yarn over and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook. (You should now have 3 loops on the hook.)
  • Yarn over and pull through the 3 loops on the hook.

Half Double Crochet Stitch Variations

You can crochet variations of the half double crochet stitch by working in different loops.

stitch diagram showing different loops in half double crochet

Working HDC in Different Loops

To make a standard half double crochet, you’ll insert your yarn through the top two loops, which are otherwise called the front loop and the back loop.

You can create variations of the standard HDC stitch loop by working in the back loop, front loop, third loop, or combinations of loops.

HDC BLO

One very common HDC variation is called “half-double crochet in the back loop only”, abbreviated as HDC BLO.

To make HDC BLO, you’ll make the HDC as normal – the only thing that changes is where you’ll insert your hook. Instead of inserting the hook under both the front and back loops of each stitch, you’ll insert the hook under the back loop only.

This simple difference will totally change the look of the finished swatch, giving it a ribbed, knit-look appearance.


HDC in the 3rd Loop

You can also crochet half double crochet stitches in the 3rd loop. This gives the fabric a braided, knit-like appearance.

The 3rd loop is the horizontal bar that forms at the back of each HDC stitch. It is formed by the yarn over (YO) that you make at the beginning of the HDC stitch.

When crocheting in rows, you’ll see the 3rd loop once you turn the work to the wrong side to work the next row. With the wrong side of the work facing you, you’ll find the 3rd loop in front of and below the front loop.

When crocheting in the round, you’ll see the 3rd loop on the wrong side of the piece. To find it, tilt the work towards you and look behind and under the back loop.

Camel Stitch

Camel stitch refers to making half-double crochet stitches in the 3rd loop when working in the round. You’ll remember that when you crochet in the round, you’ll find the 3rd loop behind the back loop, toward the wrong side.

By crocheting into the third loop, you’ll push the front and back loops toward the front of the piece. As you crochet rounds of camel stitch, the V-shaped loops begin to resemble knit fabric.

HDC Ribbing

HDC ribbing can refer to a few different stitch patterns. In some cases, it refers to HDC made in the back loop only when crocheting in rows. In other cases, it refers to HDC made in the 3rd loop only when crocheting in rows.

Patterns Using Half Double Crochet

Here are some free crochet patterns that use half double crochet.

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Half Double Crochet Stitch

Half Double Crochet Stitch

Yield: 1
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 1

How to make a half-double crochet stitch, often abbreviated HDC

Materials

Tools

Instructions

  1. Yarn over, and insert the hook into the next stitch.
  2. Yarn over, and pull up a loop.
  3. Yarn over again, and pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook.


Make a turning chain of 2 to start a new row.

Notes

Find step by step photos and more information in the post above.

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