zondag 14 oktober 2012

Learn to Crochet Simple Style Part 7: Half double crochet

Hi, and welcom to the seventh part of "Learn to Crochet Simple Style"!
In this part I will cover the half double crochet, or the hdc.

The half double crochet is a real in between stitch. It has the advantage that it is a bit higher than the single crochet, but thicker than double crochet. It is more stretchy than single crochet, but not as stretchy lengthwise as the double crochet. The half double crochet on its own is a stitch that is not widely used. Lots of garments alternate between rows with double crochet and half double crochet to keep its shape for example, but using only half double crochet would just use too much yarn or would create a garment that is too thick or warm to wear.

There is also a lot of debate about the “rules” of using double crochet. As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of discussion surrounding the turning chain (the chain you make at the beginning of the row to add height) and also how to decrease.

But, I searched and I conquered some knowledge, so I hope you will find this part of the course helpful in learning how to crochet!

The basics of the half double crochet

For this part, if you want to practice, it is useful to make a nice little foundation chain and make a practice row on it. I am going to tell you how to work flat. I will discuss working in the round with half double crochet a bit later on.

If you start crocheting half double crochet stitches, you need to make a turning chain of two chain stitches.

For example, make a foundation chain of 10 stitches. Add two chains and you will need to make the first real half double crochet in the third chain from the hook. The turning chain will count as a stitch so if a pattern states the number of stitches made in a row you need to count the turning chain as well.
In pattern language this will look like this:

Ch 10
In 3rd ch from hook, hdc in each stitch till end (10 st)
Hdc is the abbreviation for half double crochet.
And now, the picture part to show you how to make the half double crochet.

At the start of a row of round, chain 2

Yarn over hook, just like you do to finish a stitch. Wrap it over the top, to the back.

Insert hook in second stitch (the chain 2 counts as a stitch in this swatch)

Yarn over hook, and pull through stitch (3 loops on hook)

Yarn over hook

Pull the yarn through all three loops on hook. Your hdc is now finished.

To give you an example, here are "five" stitches made. At the most right is the chain 2, and after that three hdc stitches.

Increasing and decreasing

Increases and decreases are actually not very different as in single crochet. For increasing you make two stitches into the same stitch and for decreasing you work two stitches together. Although.... The latter one is a bit intitmidating if you are a beginner with all those loops!

Here is a picture to show you the end result of an increase. I just made two hdc's into the same stitch. Just follow the steps from the hdc, only twice.
Now, decreasing is a bit of a different story. The main rule in decreasing is: work the stitch until the last step, omit the last step and repeat the steps in the next stitch until the last stitch. Work all loops together.
I will show you what I mean.

Here we have an hdc worked till the last step. Normally I would wrap the yarn over my hook and work all three loops of my hook by pulling the yarn through. This is the step you now do NOT do.

Instead, I wrap my yarn to start a new hdc.

I insert my hook in the next stitch.

Wrap yarn over hook.

And pull through. Now I have five loops on my hook. One that was already there, and two loops from each unfinished hdc.

To finish off, yarn over hook.

And I pull the yarn through all of the loops. This is one hdc decrease!

A bit on the turning chain and mathematics

As I mentioned earlier, often the turning chain you make in patterns using the hdc it counts as a stitch. Both for working in the round and working flat you need to treat is as a stitch. You can work in this stitch by putting your hook in the top chain of the turning chain if it is at the end of a row. If you accidentally forget this, you will start decreasing unintentionally.
In the beginning of the row, you make your turning chain and start hdc stitches in the next stitch. If you start by making hdc stitches in the first stitch you will accidentally start to increase. I made that mistake a lot! The solution for this is to count your stitches, row by row.

And then there is mathematics. For both the single crochet and double crochet, 6 or 12 is really a magic number. If you are working in the round, for both stitches you will increase evenly every 6 stitches.
For example to put into a "pattern":
Ch3, sl st to close (to make a ring)
Ch1, sc 6 times into ring, sl st to first sc to close round
Ch1, sc twice into each st, sl st to first sc to close round
Ch1, *sc twice into first st, once into next st*, repeat five more times, sl st to first sc to close round

This is what you see a lot, you can substitute sc with double crochet, the rules are the same. But for hdc it was quite different. Its magic number is 8. So you increase 8 times evenly spaced out if you make a flat circle. This was quite a lesson for me! I started a swatch with in the back of my head just the magic 6. So guess what happened? I got a nice cupping circle! Of course, mathematically speaking it is quite logic. The length of a hdc is in between the single crochet and the double crochet. So to get the diameter of the circle, rules needed to be quite different.

Lots of lessons learned.

Well, I hope you found this lesson a good read. I will leave you with practice pattern number three!
It is a useful accessory, and you can customize it completely to your taste.
Have fun crocheting a ribbed purse with zipper and lining!

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