Half Double Crochet and hdc Decrease

Today's mission is to show you how to make a half double crochet stitch, and also, how to make the most basic half double crochet decrease. In the photos I'm sharing here, I'm working on one of my crochet designs, Primary Sweater Dress. It is available in girls sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Click the photo below to see the pattern on Ravelry.

First off, when you see the abbreviation "hdc" in a pattern, it means half double crochet. This stitch is sort of half way between a single crochet and a double crochet, both in it's height, and in the way you make it. So, here we go...

As in the photo above, you'll start by wrapping your yarn around your hook. This is what we call a "yarn over", usually abbreviated "yo".

Next, insert your hook under both loops of the next stitch or chain, then it should look something like the photo above.

Then, wrap your yarn around your hook again and pull this through the stitch, by catching it under your hook as you pull your hook through the stitch. I usually turn my hook a little toward the left as I slide it. It catches the yarn well, and slides through the stitch more easily. If I were writing these instructions into a pattern, this part would say "yo, pull up a loop".

In the photo above, the loop closest to the hook is the loop that I just made by pulling my yarn over through my stitch.

Now, yarn over again, and pull this through all 3 loops on your hook. Now, I do this quickly because I am used to it, but you may find that pulling through the first two loops goes smoothly, and then you need to change the direction of your pull slightly to get through the 3rd loop. I tend to push the non-working end of my hook up into the air a little more as I go through that 3rd loop.

Ta-da! All finished.

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Now, for the decrease stitch. You'll see this one abbreviated like this: hdc2tog. This is short for "half double crochet two stitches together", which means that you are going to turn two stitches into one stitch, or decrease by one stitch. This is helpful when you are doing something besides making squares and rectangles. You use decreases when making hats, or amigurumi (3-D crochet stuffed animals or dolls), or when shaping garments. In the project I'm working on in these photos, I am using decreases to shape a raglan seam in a garment. So, here's how to do it:

Here's how it looks before.

Yarn over (or wrap your yarn around your hook).

Insert your hook under both strands of the next stitch.

Yarn over, and pull that yarn through the stitch, just as you did for the half double crochet.

Now, yarn over again, but don't pull this through the three loops.

Instead, insert your hook into the next stitch.

Yarn over again, and pull this through the stitch.

Now, yarn over one more time...

And pull that yarn over through all five loops! Finished!

I hope this was helpful to you! Please visit me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ravelry, or Pinterest! I love hearing from you! Interested in this project I was working on? It's my latest crochet pattern! Primary Sweater Dress.

Happy stitching!

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Crochet in the Back Loop

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Have you ever seen a pattern instruct you to crochet in the back loop of a stitch? Sometimes this may be written like "sc blo" or "hdc in BL". There may be other ways that designers notate this, but if you aren't sure what an abbreviation means, check the intro material of the pattern for an abbreviation list, check the back pages of a magazine or book for a list of abbreviations, or contact the designer or publisher if you aren't sure.

Stitching into the back loop only is very simple. Normally, when crocheting into a stitch, you should work under both loops.  Look at the picture above. The last row you see worked (in orange), has several single crochet stitches. The tops of them each look like two little parallel lines. Sort of like an equals sign. Sometimes, they look a little more like a sideways 'v'. To work a typical crochet stitch, insert your crochet hook under both of these strands of yarn.


To work through the back loop only, you will insert your hook only under the strand furthest from you, the strand towards the back of your fabric. Notice that which loop is the front, and which is the back, changes when you turn your fabric. The front loop is the one closest to you when it is time to work the stitch. The back loop is the one furthest from you when it is time to work the stitch.

Looking at the picture above, you can see that I inserted my hook under just the back loop. You can see the front loop still, just under my hook, and my hook only has one strand of yarn over the top of it. 

Once you've inserted your hook, you complete the single crochet stitch as usual: yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through both of the loops on your hook. 

You can see in the picture above, my newly completed single crochet stitch, plus a few others. You might notice that you can still see the unused front loops forming something of a line under my newly-formed stitches. Back-loop-only, or front-loop-only stitches are often used for just this reason, to leave this line on the fabric, to provide texture, or a certain look. 

I hope this has been helpful to you! Please visit me on my Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter! I'd love to see you around!

Happy stitching!

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Book Review: Crochet to Calm

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A month or so ago, I was sent Crochet to Calm by Interweave. I was rather surprised to receive it, as I was not expecting it. It's a really nice book. The projects are on trend, but oh-so-easy. All of these are simple patterns that make nice TV-watching or conversation-having projects. 

I'm not familiar with all the yarns used in this book, but it seemed that most of them are inexpensive yarns that you can find at the hobby stores, so that may appeal to some. Of course, you can always substitute if you're more of a Local Yarn Shop crocheter.

Here are a few favorites:

Honeycomb Blanket, by Adrienne Brigham

Peachy Arm Warmers, by Julie King

Slouchy Slipper Boots, by Lisa Van Klaveren

and Small Crochet Basket, by Desiree Hobson

Not long ago, I went on a sock-knitting binge. I made 2 pairs of socks for myself in quick succession. My four girls all started begging me for handmade socks of their own. Well, one day I started looking through the yarn vault for suitable yarn to begin a pair of socks for Lady Hops-a-lot. She asked what I was doing, and quickly showed me just the yarn she wanted. It was Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable, which is a heavy worsted weight yarn....not your typical sock yarn. This was not what I'd had in mind, but it would be a lot quicker. I thought of the Slouchy Slipper Boots pattern in this book and showed her the picture. She immediately agreed that the pattern would be perfect. Hooray! I began her slipper boots on Monday. By the end of the week I had completed, not one, but THREE sets! Lady Hops-a-lot, Princess, and Baby, all had a set in the color of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable of their choosing. I made these while watching the Olympics. It was a great project to keep my hands busy while spending much more time than usual watching television. Here are the sets I made:

 Aren't they so cute! The pattern was easily memorized and fun! I look forward to trying other patterns from this book as well! I hope you'll get the book and try them too!

Happy stitching,