How to Work Third Loop Half Double Crochet

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Third loop half double crochet (or HDC in the third loop) is a fun crochet technique that gives your fabric a texture similar to knit ribbing. Once you figure out what the third loop is, it’s pretty easy and fun to do it.

What is Third Loop Half Double Crochet?

The way you make a half double crochet stitch is what makes the third loop HDC stitch possible.

As a refresher, HDC is made by doing a yarn over, entering the stitch and pulling up a loop, doing a yarn over and pulling through all three loops on the hook.

It’s that yarn over at the beginning of the stitch that is considered the “third loop” that you work into to make a third loop half double crochet.

When you’re looking at a row of crochet, at the top of the fabric you’ll see a row of vs, which is usually where you work the stitch. You either take the hook under both of these loops, or you can work in the front loop (the one closest to you) or back loop (farther away) only to make a different looking stitch.

For half double crochet in the third loop, we ignore both of those loops. If you look at the back of the stitch, you’ll see another horizontal bar below the v loops. This is the third loop. It’s marked here by the sewing needle.

To make third loop HDC, you do exactly the same thing as a normal half double crochet, just worked into that bar instead of a loop at the top of the stitch.

How to Stitch Third Loop HDC

Let’s take that step by step. First you’ll want to chain a number of chains to work with. (For reference here I’m using Lion Brand Basic Stitch and a size I/5.5 mm crochet hook.)

Work the first row as regular half double crochet. Chain 1 (or 2 if you prefer; I did 1 here) and turn.

Again you’re looking for the third loop kind of behind the vs at the top of each stitch. Yarn over and insert your hook into the third loop.

Pull up a loop.

Yarn over and pull through all three loops on the hook.

Repeat across, then chain 1 or 2 at the end.

You’ll see that the v part of the stitches from the previous row are now flat and horizontal along the surface of the fabric.

As you keep doing this, the vs will appear on each side of the fabric, making it basically reversible.

Make sure you count your stitches as you go, as it’s easier to miss one working into the third loop than working into the tops of the stitches.

Uses for Third Loop Half Double Crochet

HDC in the third loop feels thicker than regular half double crochet.

If you turn it on its side it looks like knit ribbing, so it’s often used in places where you would use ribbing in knitting, such as hat brims, sleeve cuffs and other edgings. It’s not as stretchy as knit ribbing but it can stand in for ribbing.

It can also, of course, be used as an allover stitch pattern for hats, blankets, bags, headbands and more.

Crochet Patterns Using Third Loop HDC

Working into the third loop is sometimes also called camel stitch, and if you’re looking for patterns using it you will probably be able to find them more easily searching for camel stitch (otherwise you will just get a bunch of third loop half double crochet tutorials).

A great place to start when learning third loop HDC is an earwarmer, like this one from Crochet It Creations. It uses worsted weight yarn and comes in eight sizes from newborn to adult.

Carroway Crochet has a super cozy cowl worked in camel stitch using a super bulky yarn so it will stitch up in no time. This would be a great gift to make for someone (or yourself!).

Pair that cowl with the Chunky Snow Beanie by Crochet It Creations US, which actually uses the same super bulky yarn and the same third loop half double crochet stitch to make a warm and chunky hat. The yarn pompom is optional but super cute.

The Camel Stitch Beanie pattern from Crochicanfbstore on Etsy is worked in the round so it looks almost like it’s just made out of chain stitches. It’s worked from the top down starting with a flat circle, so it’s easy to customize the size if you need to.

Camel stitch makes a great border for a blanket just as it would make a good edging for a hat. The Unraveled Mitten has a tutorial on making a crochet blanket border using third loop HDC.

If you’re ready to take your HDC in the third loop to the next level, why not make a sweater? This crochet jumper from Blue Star Crochet is so cute, and it’s not that hard to make, either. It uses worsted weight yarn and is worked from side to side so the ribs look like knit stitches. The sweater pattern comes in nine sizes up to a chest measurement of 158 cm/62.2 in.

Have you ever worked third loop half double crochet? Once you know how to do it, it’s a lot of fun and the look is great!

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