Start with a slip knot on the hook just as you did when making a base chain for single crochet.
Chain 16 stitches. This will be the width of your swatch. Now, chain 2 more stitches. Half double crochet is taller than single crochet, so instead of simply chaining 1 extra stitch to add more height, this time we need 2 stitches. Our base chain is now 18 stitches wide.
Before we insert our hook, we will be doing a yarn over. This is different from single crochet, where you insert the hook without yarning over. We are basically adding an extra loop to our hook. Now, insert your hook into the third chain from the hook.
Why the third chain? Remember, those first two chain stitches are needed for height. They won't count as a stitch in half double crochet. Also note that I am inserting my hook into the back loops of my chain stitches on my base chain. You can insert your hook into the back loop, front loop, or both loops of the base chain. However, when you start working into actual stitches, be sure to insert the hook under both loops.
After you insert the hook, draw up a loop just like in single crochet. I now have three loops on my hook -- the original working loop, the loop we made with our yarn over, and the loop I just drew up through the chain stitch.
Yarn over again. The stitch is almost complete.
Now pull through all three of the loops on your hook. Congratulations! You have now completed your first half double crochet stitch. To the right of my stitch you can see the two chain stitches that were used for height.
Repeat this process for every remaining chain stitch. Yarn over.
Insert the hook and then yarn over again.
Draw up a loop. You now have three.
Yarn over once more.
Finally, pull thorough all three loops.
Here I have reached the end of the first row by working into all of the remaining chain stitches. It's time to chain and turn so that I can begin the next row.
I need 2 chain stitches. This is just like those extra two chain stitches on our base chain. I need them for height. When working other, taller stitches in the future we will be counting our turning chains, or chains used for height, as stitches. However, in single and half double crochet the turning chain is not generally counted as a stitch.
Now we turn our item so that the back sides of the stitches from the previous row are facing us. This will allow us to continue working from right to left. Remember not to crochet into those two chain stitches!
Working under both loops of each stitch, work 1 half double crochet into each stitch.
Here I have reached the end of my second row. Notice that I am not working a stitch into the chain 2 from the previous row because it doesn't count as a stitch in half double crochet.
Here I have chained 2 once more and I'm ready to turn my item and start my third row. See the height that the chain 2 adds?
Practice your half double crochet until you feel comfortable with it. Next in our series will be a simple project that will teach you how to read a simple pattern and how to mix basic stitches. You're on your way, baby!