So you’re learning how to crochet—great! Crocheting is an incredibly rewarding hobby and is both calming and useful in a practical sense. Once you master the basic stitches, you’ll be able to create handmade garments for yourself and others as well as blankets, bookmarks, doilies, lace, and so much more. Learning how to double crochet is an important step in the process.
You’re here because you have already mastered the basics like the slip stitch and single crochet, which are the building blocks of every crochet project. You know how to get started and follow a pattern. But you’re ready to keep learning and take on the double crochet. Never fear—our easy instructions for how to double crochet make learning this essential stitch totally painless.
And it is an essential stitch—you’ll see double crochets in nearly every pattern you encounter. That’s what makes this tutorial so important, and it’s one you will want to bookmark and come back to whenever you get stuck in the future.
Not only does our tutorial on how to double crochet include stitch instructions, it also includes more advanced techniques that you can use to add texture and visual interest to your projects as you become more advanced. These include stitching around posts, increases and decreases, half double crochets, and more!
What Is a Double Crochet Stitch?
Once you’ve learned how to do a single crochet stitch, it’s easy to move on and learn how to double crochet. It is more or less an extension of a single crochet, which is done by wrapping the yarn around the crochet hook (known as “yarning over”) and pulling it through one extra time to build another layer. This results in a taller stitch, which can fill more space faster than rows of single crochets can. The resulting layers of stitches are also less dense than rows of single crochets would be.
The double crochet is one of the most versatile crochet stitches; because it is longer, there are more options for creating different shapes and motifs, like shells or overlapping rows. But before we get to the complicated stuff, we’ll start with the basics of how to double crochet.
How to Double Crochet
There’s no need to feel intimidated when learning how to double crochet for the first time. In this guide, we’ll walk you through step by step—from creating the foundation of your project to creative techniques for using double crochets.
Starting Your Project
Every project will begin with a foundation chain consisting of slip stitches, the length of which will be determined by the pattern you are using. If you have decided to not use a pattern (for example, if you are making a simple scarf), then you can count out how many stitches you think you will need for the desired length or width.
Once you’ve completed your slip stitch chain for your base, you’ll turn and begin to create the double crochets. If you are following a pattern, then it will most likely tell you that the last three slip stitches in your foundation chain will count as the first double crochet. This will become clearer after you do the first stitch.
For those who have chosen to go forward without a pattern, you will want to add three to the desired number of stitches in the row. For example, if you are making a tea towel that you would like to be 20 stitches across once completed, make 23 slip stitches in the foundation chain.
Completing the First Stitch
As said before, the first three slip stitches in the foundation chain will technically count as the first double crochet. Skip these three, and yarn over once. Hook into the fourth chain in the foundation, yarn over, and pull up a loop.
You will now have three loops on your hook. Next, you will yarn over and pull through the first two loops. This will leave you with two remaining loops on the hook. Yarn over one more time and pull through the final two loops. There is your first double crochet!
Completing the First Row
Now that you have learned how to double crochet, you can move on and complete the first row of stitches. To create the next double crochet stitch, yarn over and insert your hook into the next slip stitch in the foundation chain. You will not be skipping any more stitches—that was only done in the beginning of the row.
Now that you have a complete double crochet, it should be easier to see how the first three stitches in the foundation chain form the first double crochet; they will be standing up next to the first true double crochet.
Continue down the row until you have stitched a double crochet into every slip stitch of the foundation chain.
Starting a New Row
To start the next row, you will turn your project and start working back across the row you have just created. You will need to create a “turning chain;” chain three, then skip the very first stitch in the row. This chain will act as the first stitch in the row, similar to how the first three in the beginning of the foundation chain did.
Make a double crochet in the second stitch of the previous row, then continue on as you did with the first row. Once you get to the end, turn and do the same thing again until you have reached the desired length for your project (or simply follow the instructions in your pattern).
Variations on the Basic Double Crochet Stitch
Once you have mastered how to double crochet, you can start to get creative and try out patterns that use double crochets to create interesting motifs and shapes. Since it’s found in most patterns, these techniques will become useful right away!
Using Only the Front or Back Loops
This technique creates a ribbing texture by using only the front or back loops of the previous row. Once a foundation row of double crochets has been created, start hooking into either the front or back loops of the previous stitches. Usually, you would be hooking into both loops to create an even texture. By using only one instead of two, the row is pushed either forward or backward slightly to create a ridge.
Half Double Crochets
These stitches are used as transitions, usually from single crochets to double crochets or vice versa. Half double crochets are commonly seen in granny squares, doilies, and lace patterns, and are thankfully not as tricky as they may look at first. To stitch a half double crochet, yarn over, insert your hook into the next stitch, and pull up a loop.
You will have three loops on your hook; instead of yarning over and pulling through two loops twice (like you would usually do), you will yarn over and pull through all three at the same time. This creates a squished-down version of the double crochet that makes the transition to or from single crochets in a row smoother and slightly less visible.
Decreasing and Increasing
Increasing is simple: you essentially make two double crochet stitches in the next stitch in your row, side by side. When you stitch the next row, you will have one more stitch than you did previously. Decreasing, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. To create a decrease, you combine two double crochet stitches into one. Start by starting a regular double crochet stitch and stop when you have the last two loops on the hook (where you would normally yarn over one more time and pull through to finish the stitch).
Instead of finishing the stitch, leave the last two loops on the hook and start the next double crochet in the next stitch in the row. Work it until you have three loops on the hook, then yarn over and pull through all three. This leaves you with two stitches that share a common loop at the top, meaning when you go to stitch the next row, there will be one loop where there once were two.
Crocheting around a Post
This variation is a great way to create some texture in a project. While normally you would create new double crochets in the top of the stitches in the previous row, this technique involves wrapping stitches around the double chains below. Instead of hooking into the top of the stitch, the hook is inserted around the back of the stitch itself. These stitches are very common in patterns that involve cables, like sweaters, and beanies.
Congratulations—you now know how to double crochet! There is a whole world of creative crocheting possibilities open to you. Many crochet techniques and stitches use double crochets—shells, clusters, popcorn stitches, cables, and more. From doilies to granny squares, scarves, and sweaters, you’ll see double crochet stitches in almost every pattern you come across. So, go forward and put your new skills to use! If you ever get stuck, just come on back to this handy guide.