How to Half Double Crochet – Ultimate Guide for Beginners

The half double crochet stitch is a versatile stitch that is great for beginners to learn. It is one of the most common crochet stitches out there…yet it has many interesting variations! In this ultimate guide I will show you exactly how to half double crochet so you can become a master at everything about it!

When you’re just getting started with crochet, there is so much to learn. Sometimes it can become overwhelming learning a lot of new stitches, especially when you have to go to multiple websites to learn things about the SAME stitch.

If you’ve heard of the term “half double crochet” and want to learn everything about it, look no further! I have tried to take as MUCH information as possible about half double crochet and put it into one big post so you don’t have to go finding 5 different posts about the same stitch.

I love the half double crochet because of how versatile it is! Because it is a solid fabric, you can make countless projects from it. Scarves, shawls, bags, tops..,the possibilities are endless!

I’ll show you how to make this stitch step by step, but also how to increase and decrease in it, get straight edges, and even show you a bunch of variations on the standard stitch! By the time we’re done, you should be ready for some of those projects I mentioned above.

So without further ado, let’s get into all the info and tutorial.

half double crochet swatch

Table of Contents

  1. What is the Half Double Crochet Stitch?
  2. Hdc step by step photo tutorial
  3. Chaining & Turning in Hdc
  4. Increasing & Decreasing in Hdc
  5. Back Loop Hdc
  6. Hdc in the 3rd Loop
  7. Front Post Hdc
  8. Hdc in the Round
  9. What does ‘2 hdc’ mean?
  10. How many do you chain up for hdc?
  11. How do you count a hdc row?
  12. How do you Hdc3tog?

What is the Half Double Crochet Stitch?

The half double crochet is a simple stitch that is right in between single crochet and double crochet in terms of height. It is a common stitch that extremely easy to make. Crocheters just starting out should have no problem with this stitch!

The abbreviation for half double crochet is “hdc,” which is simply the first letters of each word in the stitch. It is important to note that the UK calls this stitch the half treble crochet rather than half double crochet.

Although both of these may sound like a mouthful, don’t worry! It is very easy to make, even for the complete beginner. I just taught my 11 year old sister to hdc and she caught on like a pro.

Difference between half double crochet & double crochet

Half double crochet and standard double crochet can be particularly confusing to tell apart because of how similar the names sound.

The word “half” is obviously what sets half double crochet apart—and it means just what it sounds like! The hdc omits one step from the standard dc, and the result is that it becomes a shorter stitch. I’ll give you some tips along the way in the tutorial so you can see the exact differences.

How to Half Double Crochet

Are you ready to make your very first half double crochet? It is so easy to do! Don’t be afraid even if you’re a beginner.

Begin making hdc in just a few simple steps:

  1. Yarn over
  2. Insert hook into indicated chain/stitch
  3. Yarn over
  4. Pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
  5. Yarn over
  6. Pull through all 3 loops on hook

HDC Step-by-Step Tutorial for Beginners

Now, if you’re a visual learner like me, you probably need some photos to go along with those steps. So let’s dive into the nitty gritty of crocheting half double crochets – step by step!

In this tutorial, we will be making a small rectangle/square of hdc. Follow along below to get started.

Choose Your Yarn & Hook

Before you start your half double crochet, you’ll want to choose a yarn and hook to use! I recommend a worsted weight yarn and H/5mm hook—especially if you’re a beginner.

However, any yarn and hook combo can be used. One tip is to check the hook size recommended on the label of the yarn you want to use.

Step 1: Make a Chain of Any Number

In order to start making hdc, you first need a foundation chain row. Go ahead and make a chain of any number. I made 21 chains below.

chain 21 to start hdc row

Step 2: Yarn over

Next, you will begin your very first half double crochet! Start simply by yarning over.

Tip: yes, hdc is just like dc in that you start the stitch with a yarn over! It is actually toward the end of the stitch that the difference will occur.

yarn over to start first hdc

Step 3: Insert hook into third chain from hook

The next step to making a hdc is to insert your hook. Make sure to count 3 chains from the beginning and insert your hook into the 3rd chain. This will ensure you have a starting chain on the right (which I will explain more about later!)

The smaller crochet hook is pointing to the chain where you will insert your hook.

where to insert your hook for first hdc

What it should look like once you insert your hook:

Insert hook into third chain to make first half double crochet

Step 4: Yarn over

Next, simply yarn over again. Because of the positioning, the working yarn should naturally fall over the hook to make this YO.

yarn over

Step 5: Pull up a loop

Pull your hook through the chain you had inserted into, bringing the yarn over from the previous step up through the chain. At this point you should have 3 loops on your hook. You might notice that this still looks like the steps to making a regular double crochet—and you’d be right! Up till this point, the hdc and dc have the same starting steps.

pulling up a loop for a hdc

Step 6: Yarn over

You’re getting so close to finishing your hdc! The next thing to do is yarn over again (just put your hook under the working yarn and wrap it around).

yarn over to continue your hdc

Step 7: Pull Through All 3 Loops

To finish up your hdc, pull your hook through all 3 loops on your hook.

Tip: THIS is where the hdc differs from the dc. Dc adds in an extra YO and pulls through 2 loops at a time. However, hdc simply yarns over and pulls through all 3 loops!

one half double crochet done

Step 8: Repeat steps 1-7 in all chains!

Woohoo, you just finished your first hdc! Now, you simply need to repeat steps 1-7 in every foundation chain you made. Below you can see one row of half double crochet completed.

one row of half double crochet complete

How to Turn Your HDC Row

Once you’ve made the first row, it is time to turn your work and continue hdc for lots more rows!

Now, the truth is, there are a few different ways to turn and continue your hdc rows. When you look for tutorials online, most people will only show you one method.

But I think it is important to learn all 3 different ways, because the look of your hdc can change depending on which one you choose!

I’ll start by showing you my favorite method…

Method 1: Chain 1, Turn, Hdc into first stitch.

For this method, chain 1 and turn your work. The chain will NOT count as a stitch. Follow the photos below to see where to insert your hook – you want to go in the very first half double crochet.

how to chain and turn in half double crochet rows

I will explain more later about why this is my favorite method!

Method 2: Chain 2, Turn, Hdc into First stitch.

The second method is very similar, except this time you will chain 2 rather than 1. This chain 2 still does NOT count as a stitch. You will also still make a hdc in the FIRST stitch after turning.

As the photos go onto show, at the end of the row you will NOT work into the chain 2 space. Follow the arrow on the second photo to see where the very last stitch is.

Hdc turning chain method

Let me take a moment and say – the two methods above are both valid methods to use! They will both result in straight hdc edges without any holes. I would encourage you to try them out and see which one you like better with your tension.

Personally, I find that the edge looks just a bit cleaner with the chain 1. In the photo below you can see a comparison of the 2 methods. The first 5 rows of the square are made with the chain 2, while the last 5 are made with the chain 1.

Chaining 1 versus chaining 2 to turn in a half double crochet row

Method 3: Chain 2, Turn, Hdc into next stitch.

Okay, now that we’ve covered the correct ways to turn, I must show you the incorrect way. This is the way I worked in half double crochet for a long time, and it always frustrated me because it leaves big holes on the edge of the work!

This method is very similar to method 2, except here the turning chain 2 counts as a stitch. Because the chain counts as a stitch, you would hdc in the “next” stitch when you turn, rather than the first one. See the photos below:

avoiding holes in half double crochet rows

When you get to the end of the row, you then work a hdc into the chain 2 on the edge. This might sound familiar…and there’s a reason! It’s because the standard way to work double crochet rows is to make a chain 3 that counts as a stitch.

But with half double crochet, counting the chain 2 as a stitch just doesn’t cut it. The result will be little holes going up and down both sides of the fabric:

holes in half double crochet swatch

For this reason, I highly recommend using either method 1 or 2 when you turn in hdc. Hopefully this clears up any confusion you’ve had about the number of chains to do when working in this stitch!

How to Increase & Decrease in HDC

Since hdc is a common crochet stitch, there is a good chance you’re going to need to increase or decrease in it at some point in your crochet life.

Increasing in half double crochet is extremely easy, and it is just like increasing in any other stitch! Simply work another half double crochet into the same stitch (shown below). In fact, you can easily work 3 or 4 hdc into the same stitch if you need to increase even more.

half double crochet increase

Decreasing is a little more complex, but overall it is similar to decreasing in double crochet.

How to Hdc2Tog

The typcial decrease in hdc is called a “hdc2tog” which stands for “half double crochet two together.”

Here’s how to complete a hdc2tog:

  1. Start out like a regular hdc. YO, insert hook into next stitch, pull up a loop. (3 loops on hook)
  2. Do not finish the hdc. Instead, YO and insert hook into next stitch.
  3. Pull up a loop so that you have 5 loops on your hook.
  4. YO, pull through all 5 loops on your hook.
how to crochet a hdc2tog

This is the typical way a hdc2tog is made. However, it can tend to look a little bulky compared to the rest of your half double crochet stitches.

To make a less bulky hdc2tog, you can omit the yarn over in step 2. Simply insert your hook into the second stitch of the hdc2tog without yarning over beforehand. This will result in only 4 loops on your hook to pull through for the final step.

less bulky hdc2tog stitch

Hdc Crochet Stitch Variations:

So now you know the basics of hdc. But there are still more variations of this stitch to learn! When I said this was the “ultimate guide” to hdc, I wasn’t kidding. 🤪

Here are the main half double crochet stitch variations you can learn:

1. Back Loop Hdc

One simple way to spice up your hdc stitches is to work them in the back loop! This is an excellent choice for crochet ribbings especially.

Follow these steps to work BL hdc:

  1. Insert your hook through the back loop only of the next stitch
  2. Pull up a loop and complete a hdc like normal

As you can see, the only difference from normal and back loop hdc is the original hook placement!

how to hdc2tog - decrease in hdc

2. Hdc in the 3rd Loop

But there’s more…because of the unique structure of the hdc, there is another loop you can work into! This is called the “third loop.”

Just like back loop hdc, the only difference in making this stitch is where you place the hook at first. Follow the photos below to find the third loop:

half double crochet in the third loop

Third loop half double crochet is particularly attractive because it pushes the “v” of the hdc to the front of the work, creating a knitted look.

3. Front Post Hdc

Another less common variation (but still good to know) is the front post half double crochet! Again, the main difference in this stitch is the hook placement. You will insert your hook around the post of the stitch rather than in any loops.

front post half double crochet tutorial

4. Half double crochet in the round

All the examples so far have been working hdc in rows…but what about rounds? The truth is, working half double crochets in the round is just like any other stitches!

There are two main ways to work hdc in the round. The first way is to make a “tube” of hdc—make a long chain, join it together, and then work hdc all the way around. You will have to join at the end of each round.

The second way is to make a flat circle in hdc. I recommend doing a hdc magic ring to start out your circle. Here’s a video on that if you want to learn more.

Aren’t those some cool variations on the regular half double crochet? I hope you try them out!

Crochet Stitches that feature Hdc

Now that you know so much about half double crochet, it’s time to put your knowledge to use! Below is a list of 6 awesome crochet stitches that use hdc in some way. These incorporate other stitches as well, so it will help you get a feel for using hdc alongside other things.

Crochet Patterns that Feature Hdc

And here are some crochet patterns that use half double crochet:

Your Questions About HDC answered:

To close out this post, let’s do a Q & A! I’ll answer some more common questions about hdc just to make sure I”ve covered everything.

What does 2 Hdc mean in crochet?

The phrase “2 hdc” is another way of telling you to increase. It simply means to work 2 hdc into the same stitch.

How many do you chain up for hdc?

As I mentioned earlier, you can chain up either 1 or 2 chains when you turn in your hdc rows. Just make sure that you never count these chains as a stitch, otherwise you will have holes in the edge of your work.

Important note: in some patterns, you may find that the designer DOES count the turning chain as a stitch. If this is the case, you can either follow the pattern as written and deal with the holes, or alter it as I recommend by not counting it as a stitch. If you choose the second option, just make sure you end up with the stitch counts in the pattern.

How do you count a hdc row?

You count a hdc row the same way as any other stitch! Simply count the v’s at the top, or the posts of the stitches (whichever you’re more comfortable with). Remember you do not want to include any turning chains in your count.

How do you hdc3tog?

A hdc3tog is simply an extension of the hdc2tog. To make it, leave the 4 loops on your hook that you have before completing a hdc2tog…then, insert your hook into the next stitch and pull up a loop so you have 5 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull through all 5 to complete it.

Conclusion

Half double crochet is a simple but highly versatile stitch that every beginning should become familiar with! It is not as short as single crochet yet not too tall either. There are so many variations that can make the hdc more interesting, such as working in the back loop or the third loop. If you practice everything we talked about in this post, you are sure to become a hdc master!

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Happy Crocheting!