Half Double Crochet:  Tutorial

By Janice Jones     |Published 02-07-2021

The half double crochet stitch is another beginner stitch that is good to know.  It is actually a crochet stitch that is half way in size (height) between the single and the double crochet stitches, hence its name.    The abbreviation is hdc.  

Pink dishcloth with teacupThe Half Double Crochet Stitch

UK vs. US Names

In the UK, the same stitch is called the half treble crochet and abbreviated htr. 

The Half Treble (Htr) and the Half Double Crochet (Hdc) are worked in the same way and are the same stitch, just labeled differently.

How is the stitch used?

Any time you need to make a tight fabric with stitches that are a bit higher than a single crochet, the half double crochet is the likely choice.  You will see it in patterns where the stitch is worked in rows as well as patterns calling for crocheting in the round.  (Making circles or spirals.) 

You’ll recognize the half double crochet stitch in baby blanket patterns or other blankets for that matter.  It also shows up in pillow coverings, wash cloths or dish cloths, placemats, and amigurumi projects to mention just a few.

Chart Symbol for the Half Double Crochet

If you are learning to use crochet symbols in addition to abbreviations, a list can be found at the Craft Yarn Council.  It looks like a large T or capital T.

The symbol for a half double crochet looks like the capital TThe symbol for a half double crochet looks like the capital T

What is the difference between the half double crochet, the single crochet stitch, the double crochet stitch and the treble stitch?

In my opinion, each stitch adds and extra step. But each uses similar techniques.  For example, take a look at the steps needed to complete these four basic crochet stitches.

Single Crochet

1. Insert hook into the top “V”

2. Yarn Over (YO)

3. Pull Through Two Loops

4. Chain one at the end of the row and turn your work.

Half Double Crochet

Half Double CrochetHalf Double Crochet

1. Yarn Over (YO)

2. Insert hook under the top “V” or chain stitch if it is your first row

3. Pull Through

4. Yarn Over

5. Pull through Three Loops

6. Chain Two at the end of the row and turn your work.

Double Crochet Stitch

1. Yarn Over (YO)

2. Insert hook under the top “V” or Chain stitch if this is your first row.

3. Pull Through

4. Yarn Over

5. Pull through two loops

6. Yarn Over

7. Pull through 2 loops

8. Chain three and turn your work

Treble Crochet Stitch

1. Yarn over twice

2. Insert Hook under the top “V” or chain stitch if this is your first row.

3. Pull Through

4. Yarn Over

5. Pull through two Loops

6. Yarn over

7. Pull through two loops

8. Yarn over

9. Pull through 2 loops

10. At the end of the row, chain four and turn your work

Are You Ready to Make the Half Double Crochet Stitch?

Let’s do a little swatch for practice.

Materials Needed

  • Yarn
  • Size G/6 Crochet Hook
  • Scissors
  • Yarn Needle

Now here is a little surprise.  You can make this practice swatch using acrylic or wool or if you want to keep it and actually use it, start with 100% cotton.  If you decide to use cotton yarn, you can turn this little practice swatch into a wash cloth or dish cloth.

For this little project, I am going to be making a swatch that is approximately 6 inches  by 6 inches  .

Learn the hdc by Making a Wash Cloth

For this project, I will be using Lily Sugar’n Cream worsted weight (Number 4) 100% cotton.  If this is the first time you are using cotton, you might find the feel a little different and more difficult to work.  If this is the case, try going up a size of hook.

Start with a ch of 24 chain stitches.  This represents the foundation chain.  The last two chain stitches represent the turning chain. 

Row One

1. Wrap your yarn around the back of your hook over to the front (“yarn over”) 

Wrap your yarn around the back of your hook over to the front (“yarn over”)Wrap your yarn around the back of your hook over to the front (“yarn over”)

2. Insert your hook into the  2nd chain from your hook. 

Insert your hook into the  2nd chain from your hook.Insert your hook into the 2nd chain from your hook.

2. Pull through and you should be able to count 3 loops on the hook.

Three loops on the crochet hook.After you pull through you should be able to count 3 loops on the hook.

3. Yarn over again and pull through all three loops.

Yarn over again and pull through all three loops.Yarn over again and pull through all three loops.

You just completed one half double crochet stitch.

Repeat in each of the chains until you reach the end of the row.

Congratulations, you’ve actually worked the hardest row of the project.  All the rest will be easier to work.

Row Two

1. Chain two and turn your work.  This is the beginning of row 2.  You should have 23 stitches in your first row.  Count them to be sure you have made the correct number. The  two chain stitches that you skipped at the beginning of the foundation chain counts as a half double crochet

2. As a side note, the chain 2 at the beginning of the row counts as a half double crochet stitch. You will make your half double crochet stitch in the second stitch from your hook.

3. Yarn over and pull through. Three loops on your hook.

4. Yarn over and pull through all three loops.

5. Continue doing this in each stitch across the row. 

6. Again, as a side note, the last half double crochet stitch at the end of the row is worked in the top chain of your chain 2 turning chain.

Third and subsequent rows

Repeat row two until you have practiced several rows and feel comfortable with the half double crochet.  If you are making the dish cloth or wash cloth, continue making rows until your piece measures approximately 6 inches or as long as you desire.

Counting  Half Double Crochet Stitches and Rows   

Shown how to count the Vs as stitchesCount the little "V's"

It’s a good idea to get into the habit of counting stitches and rows and the best part is that counting half double crochet stitches is just like counting any other stitch.  There are two ways to count:  

  • Counting the top “V’s
  • Counting the posts

Remember that when make half double crochet stitches you count the chain-2 at the beginning of the row as a stitch.

Common Problems Associated with the Half Double Crochet Stitch 

The biggest problem that I hear is that the edges are not even.

This is a common problem for beginners making all of the basic stitches.  This can happen if you accidently add an extra stitch at the beginning of the row or leave out the last stitch at the end of the row.  Go back and count.  I know, that does sound boring and you didn't start this hobby to learn pre-K math. 

REMEMBER that with the hdc the two turning chains counts as the first half double crochet. 

Different Ways to Make the Half Double Crochet

There are more than one way to make this stitch and your pattern will tell you which method to use.  Up until now, we have been making the stitch by placing the hook under the “V “ and picking up both loops. 

But the same stitch can be created by picking up only the front loop or by picking up only the back post.  Here are the directions for making each one.

Half Double Crochet Through Front Loop Only (hdc tfl)

Half Double Crochet Stitch Through the Front Loop OnlyHalf Double Crochet Stitch Through the Front Loop Only

Abbreviations You Might Encounter for the next two stitches:

YO= Yarn over

Lp or Lps = Loops

St = stitch

Tfl = through front loop

tbl = through back loop

Directions for the hdc tfl

1. Yarn over and insert hook under the front loop.

2. Yarn over and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).

3. Yarn over and pull through all three loops.

Note:  When doing any form of the half double crochet, if you start with a foundation chain of a certain number of chain stitches, you will end up with one less hdc stitch.  So if you work a foundation chain of 22 chain stitches, after finishing the first row, you will end up with 21 hdc.

Half Double Crochet Through Back Loop Only (hdc tbl)

1. Yarn over and insert hook under the back loop of the next stitch

2. Yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)

3. Yarn over and pull through all three loops.

Troubleshooting hdc tfl and hdc tbl

Awkward Feeling

At first, both of these techniques may seem a bit awkward but it does get easier as you practice.  My best advice is to turn your fabric so that the little “v’s” are facing you and carefully place your hook into either the front or the back loop only depending on which you are working.  

Splitting Yarn

Sometimes I’ve found that the yarn may split more easily when going into either the front or the back of the loop.  If this happens to you, you can use a yarn needle to carefully pull up on the loop gently before you insert your hook.  This is a temporary measure and will certainly slow down your progress, but after a few rows you’ll begin to get the feel for it.

Accidently Pulling Up Both Loops of the "V"

Did you accidently pull up both loops of the “V” when working the row?  I mention this because it is so easy and I’ll be the first to admit that I kept doing this when I first learned the stitch. 

You will immediately know something is wrong when the swatch you are working on does not have those smooth ridge lines but appears as though they are broken.  It’s best to go back and rip out the stitches you made up to that point and then rework them.

Ever Hear of Frogging?

What I just asked you to do, (rip out the stitches) is often referred to as frogging.  It’s slang, but does make sense when you know the background of it.  To frog means to rip out stitches.  Remember our little amphibians, the frog and the sounds they make…ribbit  ribbit.  Well you get the idea.

Wrapping it Up

The half double crochet stitch is well worth learning for a beginner as you will encounter the stitch in many different projects.  Better still, you may decide to make your own projects using this stitch. 

Remember the washcloth tutorial above.  If you didn’t make one while learning this stitch, why not go back and give it a go.  Even if you have mistakes, your finished project will still function quite well as a dish or Wash cloth

Pin for Future Reference

Half Double Crochet PinHalf Double Crochet Stitch Pin

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