Filet Crochet

Beginning and intermediate crochet crafters often look at filet crochet with fear. When done with a fine cotton thread, it looks like intricate lace. This type of filet crochet work is used often for table runners, doilies or crochet edging for pillowcases or towels. The patterns look complicated, yet once you start filet crochet, you'll be surprised at how easy this craft truly is.

Filet crochet typically uses only two simple stitches: the double crochet (dc) and chain (ch) stitches. Some patterns may use a single or triple crochet instead of the double crochet stitch, but that's rare and equally easy. If you use a thicker thread or yarn, your filet lace can make a trim for a sweater or afghan or a delicate lace scarf.

Filet Crochet Patterns
Essentially, filet crochet is a fabric of square mesh crocheted using the two stitches noted above. Each side of each mesh square is made with one double-crochet stitch. The top and bottom are made with chain stitches. Some squares are filled with double crochet, creating a pattern surrounded by open squares in the mesh.

In some cases, it's done in reverse. The pattern squares are left open and the background squares are filled. Unlike the patterns for most other types of crochet, many filet crochet patterns use only a grid diagram. In others, they sometimes include written instructions for the work. Filled squares may be indicated by a color or an X in the appropriate squares.

Reading a Filet Crochet Chart
Read the chart from right-to-left on the odd (or right side) rows and left-to-right on the even numbered (or wrong) side rows. Because of the diagram pattern and the square mesh design, many cross stitch or colored knitting patterns can be used as filet crochet designs.

A filet crochet pattern may fill a small (one chain) space with one double crochet between the chain (one space) or a larger (two chain) space with two double-crochet stitches. Because the mesh of filet crochet lacework uses a double-crochet stitch to make the sides of a space, a one-stitch filling will appear as three double-crochet stitches in a row, and a two-stitch filling will look like four double-crochet stitches in a row.

Following a Pattern
When you begin filet crocheting, it may be easiest to find a pattern online, where photos are sometime provided. The addition of photos can help you create a visual for the abbreviations and symbols provided.

You will begin by making the foundation chain. Continue through the pattern, moving from row one to two and so on.

Continue in pattern, remembering to read odd numbered rows from right to left, and even numbered rows from left to right. Most of the photos you will find accompanying patterns online show work done with yarn to make it easier to see the filet crochet stitches. If you choose to do filet crochet with fine cotton thread, you can easily crochet lace. It takes longer to make a large piece with fine thread. But with a good light, a magnifying glass and some practice, you'll be making beautiful filet lace and crocheted edgings in no time.

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