If there is something that makes the half double crochet a pretty unique stitch, that is the third loop!
Why Crochet in the Third Loop?
The main reason why you should consider crocheting in the third loop is texture! But it is not the only one…
- It creates beautiful textures.
- It makes a thicker fabric, which is perfect for winter accessories and garments, but also for blankets, and many other projects.
- Despite being extra thick, the fabric is extremely soft and squishy!
What is the Third Loop?
Like every other crochet stitch, the half double crochet has two top loops, the front loop, and the back loop. These are the loops in which regular crochet normally happens.
Third Loop or Horizontal Bar
However, on the wrong side of a half double crochet stitch, you’ll find one extra loop compared to the other crochet stitches. This is the third loop.
Sometimes, the third loop is called horizontal bar because you can find it as a horizontal bar behind each half double crochet stitch.
How does the Third Loop Form?
The reason because that third loop or horizontal bar exists is that when you make a half double crochet, you first yarn over, then insert your hook into the indicated stitch, pick up a loop, yarn over and draw yarn through all three loops at once.
The middle loop of the three on your hook is the one that you created with your first yarn over, and it is the one that will produce a horizontal bar behind the stitch.
In the photo below, you can compare half double crochet and single crochet stitches on the wrong side.
Where is the Third Loop?
The third loop is always on the back of a half double crochet.
When you crochet flat, turning your work at the end of each row, then, the third loop will always be in front of you.
However, if you are crocheting in the round without turning your project, the third loop will be on the wrong side, and finding it might seem complicated. However, it is not! Scroll further down to see a couple of practical examples on how to crochet in the third loop when working in the round.
How to Crochet in the Third Loop
Once you are familiar with the stitch anatomy of a half double crochet, crocheting in the third loop is really not complicated.
In the example below, I will show you how to crochet a hdc in the third loop. However, the same principles can be used to crochet any stitch in the third loop!
Yo, and identify the third loop if the first hdc.
Insert your hook under the third loop from the bottom-up.
Little Side Note. If you are crocheting in the round without turning your project, then you will have to insert your hook into the third loop from the top!
Yo, and pull up a loop. Yo, pull through all three loops on your hook to complete your hdc (not shown in the picture below).
After a few rows of third loop hdc, the texture of your project will look like the one shown in the photo below.
However, there are many stitch combinations that use the third loop to create many different textures!
How to Third Loop Crochet in the Round
Let’s a few practical examples that can help you identify the third loop.
This example comes from the Sweet Baby Beanie, which is crocheted in the round by working half double crochet in the third loop.
The first round of the Sweet Baby Beanie is made by working 11 hdc in the MC (photo 1).
From Round 2, you’ll need to work your hdc increases in the third loop.
In the beginning, especially for the first st, it might be helpful to flip your work to the wrong side (photo 2). This way, you can clearly see the third loops.
Then, turn your work to the right side again, and crochet your sts (photos 3 and 4).
Finding the third loop for all the other sts will be way easier. You can just slightly tilt your work towards you and you’ll find the third loops (photos 5 and 6).
Hdc in the Third Loop vs. Regular Hdc
In the example below, I worked the first half of my second row by making my hdc stitches in the third loop. On the other hand, the second half of the row is worked regularly into the top two loops.
Now, look at the panel on the bottom to appreciate the textured effect that you get when you crochet in the third loop!
Find more tutorials and inspiration…