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Have you met the hdc tlo?

One of my favorite crochet techniques is working stitches in the half double crochet’s third loop. While some may call it a “faux knit stitch,” I think of it as a hidden gem in the crochet world. It can, of course, create a raised ridge on your fabric that resembles stockinette stitch, but it can also give us a granular texture that looks neither crochet nor knit. I find that it brings another dimension to crochet pieces that you don’t often find with other stitches.

To celebrate my love of this technique, I created TLO: The Half Double Crochet Third Loop Only, an ebook that teaches the joy of this technique to crocheters of all skill levels. In the ebook, I’ve written out a short tutorial about how to find and work into the half double crochet’s third loop, and then apply the technique in 3 skill-building cowl patterns.

Incognito is a great first step into the world of the half double crochet’s third loop. This intro-level pattern is written to practice your TLO skills and create a cowl that has a bit of a secret.

Created with Cannoli Worsted in Stepping Stone by Kim Dyes Yarn, Incognito was created while I was designing the Egg Noggin’ hat and cowl set with Lolabean Yarn Co. Garbanzo Bean for the Stitch Three Together collection. I became fully smitten with the wrong side of the stitch pattern and thought…what if I created a cowl where neither side is the wrong side?! So when you’ve fastened off and woven in the ends, you get to decide which side is the right side! Or, you can style it like I do: folded a bit so you can see both sides.

I love how the hand dyed Cannoli Worsted looks in this pattern. On one side, we have squishy raised ridges, and on the other side we have a bumpy texture that reminds me of watercolors on grainy paper. The stitches on this side look smaller and more tightly stitched, but they aren’t. I simply adore it! It’s also the cowl you see me wearing in my headshots :)

Mirror Image takes the TLO technique and combines it with others to create another type of fabric texture with alternating stripes. Crocheted with Why Knot Fibers unSalted in Plum and Dune Grass, this pattern was created to honor my grandmother, Lela, and her mirror image twin, Lola, who were both avid crocheters and knitters. Both ends of the cowl are true mirror images of each other, and can be worn either end up.

But what really makes this cowl a favorite for me is the soft yet rustic unSalted yarn. The pattern on its own is highly-textured but paired with the unSalted, it becomes a timeless piece that will keep you toasty warm all winter.

Until last year, never had I ever made a mobius (either in crochet or knit). But I wondered…could I work in the TLO and create a mobius?! And I’m happy to report that the answer was YES!!

Swizzle is the cowl that came out of this learning adventure. Made with Miss Purl Worsted from Miss Purl Chicago and dyed by Distortion Fibers, this pattern can be made as a cowl (as written) or made bigger to be worn around the shoulders. Because of the mobius twist, it’s easy to throw on and have it stay in place, and shows both textures of working into the third love that I absolutely love.

For Swizzle, I chose the semi-solid Lula colorway on Miss Purl Worsted which I think gives this cowl design an extra little kick. It’s a great accent color for wearing with either your everyday or more formal winter outerwear, and it lets the textural elements take center stage. And, as an added bonus, it’s lusciously soft and squooshy!

Each cowl uses 2 skeins of worsted weight yarn (about 400-500 yds total depending on the cowl) and are easily adjustable to change the width and height to your preference. The stitches can work with other yarn weights but I feel the cowls are best made with a worsted weight yarn.

All three patterns are available as a bundle in the TLO ebook or may be purchased individually through my Ravelry and Etsy shops. I hope this set helps you fall head over heels for the half double crochet third loop!

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