Foundation HDC & Foundation DC (And Why They’re Also Awesome)

Tired of crocheting long chains and then adding a row of half double crochet or double crochet before getting into the good parts of a pattern? Have you ever finished a project, held it up with glory only to notice that your starting row is too tight or too loose, so that one edge of your work is kind of wonky? After all the work you put into a project, that unforgiving edge is the last thing you want to see. Let me introduce you to the Foundation Half Double Crochet and Foundation Double Crochet. They’re amazing. Seriously.

Table of Contents:

The foundation crochet “stitches” are a technique in which you create the chains and the stitches at the same time. Not only does this save you time, especially for big projects like blankets, but you take advantage of your “perfect” tension from the beginning of the project. No more finishing a project to find that wonky edge. The foundation stitches are here to save you time and effort (and a few strong words).

This blog post will detail both the Foundation Half Double Crochet and the Foundation Double Crochet, including how to work them and their anatomy. There’s a video down below for you, too! If you’ve never worked a foundation stitch at all, I would highly recommend starting out with my Foundation Single Crochet photo and/or video tutorial. You’ve gotta learn to walk before you can run, of course!

Because the Foundation Half Double Crochet and Foundation Double Crochet stitches are worked very similar, I’ve put them both on this one blog post. The Foundation Double Crochet just has one added step, which you’ll see down below.

The benefits of using the foundation half double crochet or a foundation double crochet versus a chain and then a row of either stitch are several fold. By using the foundation half double crochet or the foundation double crochet instead….

  • Your first row benefits from your tension from the start. You shouldn’t have to go up (or down) a hook size to make sure your starting chains aren’t too tight (or too loose).
  • You create the chains and crochet stitches at the same time, which is faster (after you’ve gotten the hang of it).
  • The foundation half double crochets or foundation double crochets are more stretchy and forgiving than a chain and then a row, so you shouldn’t have that unfortunate curl.
  • Especially with doing long chains for projects like blankets or scarves, you won’t lose count of the chains because there aren’t any. Just count your stitches in your first row like you normally would.
  • Twisted chains? What’s that? There are no more twisted chains because there isn’t a long strand of chains.
  • Working into the back bump? Not anymore!
  • Borders on projects will be easier to complete because the bottom of your chains will look more similar to stitches and be easier to work into (similar to how working in the back bump looks).

Should I go on?

Or, maybe you’re just tired of doing chains and then a row of half double crochet or double crochet. There must be a faster way, right? There is. The foundation crochet stitch.

When to Use the Foundation Stitches

Before we get into the tutorial, you might be wondering when you should or when you can use the foundation stitches to create your chainless crochet row.

The answer is… whenever you can or want to! If you’re following a pattern that instructs you to create chains and then to crochet into the chains for a row, you can replace the chains and row with foundation half double or foundation double crochet for the number of indicated stitches. If you’re more of a free form crocheter that crochets without a pattern, you can use them as your starting base whenever you prefer. The choice is yours.

Just remember:

  • This foundation half double crochet (FHDC) or foundation double crochet (FDC) row counts as row 1.
    • So if you’re following a pattern that says your first row is a double crochet in each chain, this FDC row counts as that first row (Just so you don’t accidentally do it twice!).
  • If your pattern says to chain and then put in half double crochets for a certain number of stitches, make sure that you only create the stitches needed and don’t include the extra chain to turn in your stitch count
    • For example, if a pattern says “Chain 36, half double crochett crochet into the second chain from the hook and each across (35)”, you’ll want to only create 35 FHDC, not 36, because 35 stitches are what is required for the pattern.

When shouldn’t I use the FHDC or FDC?

You shouldn’t use these stitches on any pattern that has a more advanced or open stitch, such as stitches that require you add several stitches into one chain, skip several chains, etc.

Grab any yarn and hook you like, and let’s get to learning both the Foundation Half Double Crochet and the Foundation Double Crochet.

You can find the photo tutorial for both stitches below, or you can check out my video tutorial that goes over both stitches. Or both, if you like! 🙂

In this tutorial, I’ve included both a photo tutorial with written instructions as well as a video tutorial. In the video tutorial, I work through 5 foundation half double crochet and 5 foundation double crochet with you slowly with big chunky yarn so you can really see what’s going on. If you prefer to learn via video, I recommend giving it a watch.

1 | Foundation Half Double Crochet

Foundation Crochet Stitch Step by Step

Step 1: Chain 2

Step 2: Because we are working a half double crochet foundation stitch, we will need to yarn over before we begin working into any chains.

Steps 3 and 4 for Foundation Half Double Crochet

Step 3: Insert your hook into the second chain from the hook (your first chain made). In the picture above, you can see that I’ve gone under both strands of the chain (a black arrow points to it). You can go under only one strand of the chain on this first chain*, but the side of your work might be a bit wonky. I would recommend going under both.

* Going under only one loop of the chain only applies to this very first chain. You will need to go under both strands in all subsequent foundation single crochets. There will be a note on this later.

Step 4: With your hook inserted into the chain (from step 3), yarn over and pull a loop through. Your work should look like the step 4 image, with three loops on your hook. A black arrow in the Step 4 image points to the 3rd loop we have created.

Steps 5 and 6

Step 5: Yarn over and pull through ONLY the first loop on your hook. This creates your next chain. Your work should now look like the step 5 image. The white arrow pointing to a loop below the nose of the hook is pointing to the chain we have just created. You now have three loops on your hook.

Step 6: Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops as you normally would with a half double crochet. This completes your first foundation half double crochet. Your work should look like the step 6 image. A black arrow points to the top of the first foundation half double crochet.

We now have one foundation half double crochet. Let’s make some more.

Steps 7 and 8 for Foundation Half Double Crochet

Step 7 (& 8): To begin your next FHDC, you’ll want to locate the chain you’ve just created in step 5. If you turn your work so you can view the bottom, the chain is the upside down “V”.

In the Step 7 image, a black arrow is pointing to where this stitch is when you view it from the front. In the Step 8 image, a black arrow is pointing to where the chain is if you view it from the bottom. The upside down “V” you see is the chain.

Step 9: Yarn over and insert your hook under both loops* of the chain (upside down “V”) that we located in Step 7 & 8.

* Remember how I said in Step 2 that you “can go under only one loop of the chain”? That doesn’t apply here. For this step and all subsequent steps where we are inserting our hook into the chain to move forward, you do need to go under both strands.

Step 10: Yarn over and pull up a loop. A black arrow in the Step 10 image points to the loop we’ve just pulled up. There are 3 loops on the hook.

Foundation stitch steps 11 and 12.

Step 11: Yarn over and pull a loop through only the first loop on your hook to create the chain for your next half double crochet. You should have three loops on your hook. In the step 11 image, a black arrow is pointing to the chain we have just created.

We need to create these chains to keep the work moving forward and give the half double crochets something to stand on. If we didn’t make these chains, our work would curl inward and we wouldn’t have a space to work into.

Step 12: Yarn over, pull a loop through all three loops on your hook to finish your half double crochet. The step 12 image is how your work should look so far and a black arrow is pointing to each of our FHDC’s so far.

Second FHDC is complete!

To continue placing chainless half double crochets on this foundation row, continue working steps 7 through 12. These steps are the steps you will take to create one foundation half double crochet. You will work steps 7 through 12 as many times necessary to begin your project.

2 | Foundation Double Crochet

The foundation double crochet is worked very similar to the foundation half double crochet, which is why I’ve kept them both on the same blog post. There are two key differences, though. The first is that we start with a chain 3 instead of a chain 2. The second is that we, of course, need to make a double crochet, not a half double.

Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through these steps with this photo tutorial. 🙂

Foundation Double Crochet Steps 1 and 2.

Step 1: Chain 3 and then yarn over.

Step 2: Insert your hook into the third chain from the hook (your first chain made). In the picture above, you can see that I’ve gone under both strands of the chain (a black arrow points to it).

Steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: With your hook inserted into the chain (from step 2), yarn over and pull a loop through. Your work should look like the step 3 image, with three loops on your hook. A black arrow in the Step 3 image points to the 3rd loop we have created.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull through ONLY the first loop on your hook. This creates your next chain. Your work should now look like the step 4 image. The black arrow pointing to a loop below the nose of the hook is pointing to the chain we have just created. You now have three loops on your hook.

Foundation Double Crochet Steps 5 and 6.

Step 5: Now, we begin to complete the double crochet as we normally would. So, yarn over and pull through the first two loops on your hook. We have two loops left on our hook.

Step 6: Yarn over and pull through the remaining two loops as you normally would with a double crochet. This completes your first foundation double crochet. Your work should look like the step 6 image. A black arrow points to the post of the first foundation double crochet.

We now have one foundation double crochet. Let’s make some more.

Steps 7 and 8

Step 7 (& 8): To begin your next FDC, you’ll want to locate the chain you’ve just created in step 4. If you turn your work so you can view the bottom, the chain is the upside down “V”. So, yarn over (Step 7) and find your chain (step 8).

Steps 9 and 10 of foundation double crochet.

Step 9: Yarn over and insert your hook under both loops of the chain (upside down “V”) that we located in Step 7 & 8.

Step 10: Yarn over and pull up a loop. A black arrow in the Step 10 image points to the loop we’ve just pulled up. There are 3 loops on the hook.

Steps 11 and 12

Step 11: Yarn over and pull a loop through only the first loop on your hook to create the chain for your next double crochet. You should have three loops on your hook. In the step 11 image, a black arrow is pointing to the chain we have just created.

We need to create these chains to keep the work moving forward and give the half double crochets something to stand on. If we didn’t make these chains, our work would curl inward and we wouldn’t have a space to work into.

Step 12: Yarn over, pull a loop through the first two loops on your hook to begin finishing your double crochet. You should now have 2 loops on your hook.

foundation crochet stitch completed

Step 13: Yarn over, pull through the remaining two loops to finish your double crochet. In the image above, you’ll see two black arrows. These are pointing to the tops of your completed foundation double crochets.

To continue placing chainless double crochets on this foundation row, continue working steps 7 through 13. These steps are the steps you will take to create one foundation double crochet. You will work steps 7 through 13 as many times necessary to begin your project.

3 | And Something Really Cool….

Foundation Half Double Crochet and Foundation Double Crochet worked on the same row.

Here you can see I’ve completed 10 chainless crochet stitches. At the top are the tops of the stitches, as they normally would be. At the bottom you can see the chains we have created in between each crochet stitch and, of course, the posts of the crochet stitches are in the middle.

You might notice, though, that I’ve worked 5 foundation double crochet and then 5 foundation half double crochet on the same row! Yep, you can do that. You can work any of the foundation stitches next to each other, just follow the steps as shown for the half double, double or single crochet variations.

Before you head out to practice your chainless crochet foundation rows, I want to give you a few important tips to keep in mind:

  • When you’re learning, take it slow. Speed will come with time.
  • Always make sure to create the chain one to keep your work moving forward. If you do not create this chain, your work will curl and you won’t have anywhere to place your next stitch.
  • Similarly, make sure you don’t accidentally add another chain.
  • As your practicing, keep in mind that your stitches might look a bit wonky or be a bit loose (or tight). That’s okay! With practice, your stitches will look more and more uniform.

I would recommend practicing the foundation stitches before you commit to a project. Creating 10 at a time should build your confidence, get you used to the stitch and prepare you for the best outcome on all future projects.

That’s it! After some practice, you should be able to move forward with the foundation crochet stitches with confidence.


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