Half Double Crochet:
Also Called Sweater Stitch

Why is Half Double Crochet called the Sweater Stitch? Around the 1900s, looking at the 'fashion' of the times, you'll see many, many crochet items made using this stitch. One of the unique qualities of the stitch is that it forms a sort of yarn line. The crocheters of the time made some beautiful wool or cotton items - using that 'line' - as decoration, crafting it to do exactly what they wanted. Yet, the tightness of the stitch itself still made it a good choice for warm clothing. Its really not much more than single crochet (sc), it just has the extra tread. It was during that time that this stitch took on the name - Sweater Stitch.

Here you see Half Double Crochet and that 'line' that forms between rows

This is the first time you'll see, and learn, the term Yarn Over (abbreviated YO). Basically it is the process of putting the yarn over (sort of around) your crochet hook. This stitch uses this technique for every stitch. There are some that insist that the yarn must go around behind, some say it must go around in front. I'm here to say - if it gets the job done, works and looks correct, you're doing it right.

Also note that most of the 'old time' sweaters were made with real wool. Man made fibers, like the yarn of today, was not widely available nor was cotton as we use it today. This lead to felting which is a process of binding wool fibers together to make a tighter fabric. Ah, but that's for another lesson. The point is that the use of wool with this stitch made beautiful patterns in the finished garments.

How To Half Double Crochet


This is the way I do Yarn Over (yo). You are basically making a 'false' stitch on the hook.

Begin your stitch with a Yarn Over (yo).


Look closely at the picture. Do you see how my Yarn Over (yo) has formed a loop / stitch? It goes around the hook.

Place your hook into the designated stitch.


Catch the yarn on the other side. You could do a Yarn Over (yo) again. I did it this way to show you that it doesn't have to be behind or in front - whatever works.


Pull the yarn through the stitch, just like in single crochet (sc).

You should now have 3 stitches / loops on your hook.


Catch your yarn. Again, this can be a Yarn Over (yo) if you like.


Pull the yarn through all 3 stitches / loops on the hook.


This is what one, Half Double Crochet (hdc) looks like when done.

One Trick with Half Double Crochet

There is one tricky thing about working with this stitch, that being - where to insert your hook on the following rows. I strongly suggest you play with this stitch and learn how different placements look. This 'tricky' situation is why crocheters of old loved it - you can create some beautiful and really different appearances just by picking up the next row using a different thread (or hook position). Just so you know - there are 5 locations to pick up stitches for the next row. There are only 2 locations that most patterns (now days) call for. Strangely enough they are hook positions #4 and #5 (in the picture below).

In the above picture you see numbers on the piece. These show you the 5 locations that you 'could' crochet into. You'll note that you do have to be careful where you put your crochet hook. This different look and the flexibility is what makes this stitch so much fun. You could make 5 different scarves, all using half double crochet, but using a different hook placement - they would all look a little different.

Note the subtle differences in each swatch below.

#1 Hook Position Above: Picking up only that very front thread will create a row that looks like chain stitches on the back and creates a lacy look between the chain stitch looking rows.

#2 Hook Position Above: Picking up only the middle thread will make your yarn line in the back with a lacy looking center.

#3 Hook Position Above: Picking up both the front stitches creates a flat warm piece with a thread line.

#4 Hook Position Above: Picking up just the back thread (one of the common instructions in today's patterns) creates that chain stitch look again, however it appears tighter and warmer.

#5 Hook Position Above: Picking up both the top stitches is the most common way to do this stitch. This creates a single crochet (sc) look only with a thread line every 2 rows.

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