Filet Crochet the Day Away

Filet crochet is a type of fabric created with only two stitches: the chain and double crochet. The grid-like lace can accommodate various designs, from text to flowers to geometric shapes. Pretty much any design that can be drafted on grid paper can be translated into filet crochet! Let's explore this interesting technique. I'll explain the basics and then show you exactly how to filet crochet.

Title Image: How to Filet Crochet

What makes up filet crochet?

The double crochet stitches are used to create the actual grid AND to fill them in. Empty cells are made with a chain 2 between two double crochet stitches.

Most filet crochet is made using cotton yarn or thread. The natural fiber of cotton makes it easier to block into a neat final shape. Because each filled square essentially becomes four stitches, it is recommended we use a lighter weight yarn, but if you have a large scale project in mind, go for worsted weight yarn! You can use filet crochet for a variety of decorative uses around the home: tablecloths, place mats, curtains, bedspreads or coasters. You could even use filet crochet to create a lace shawl to wear in the spring or summer!

How to filet crochet

Before you begin

Decide which yarn you want to use. The hook for your project should be a size smaller than recommended, so your stitches can be a little stiff. When selecting or creating your design, remember that each filled grid will be four stitches wide. You can make a blank mesh as a swatch to determine your filet gauge. Use this to get an idea of how many grids would look best in your particular design.

Crochet a blank filet mesh (to determine gauge)

filet crochet blank mesh for gauge
Notes

  • The beginning chain 5 of each row is equal to one double crochet and a chain 2.
  • At the end of each row, make the last DC into the third chain of the beginning of the previous row.
  • The double crochet stitches are the lines of the graph. We are working an empty mesh, so essentially we're just crocheting a grid!

 

To determine your foundation chain length, take the number of squares you want and multiply that by three, then add five (3 for the edge/first stitch and 2 for the first space). For 7 squares I chained 26.

Steps for making a filet crochet blank

Row 1: (photos #1-2) DC in the 8th chain from your hook, *Ch 2, skip 2 chains, DC in next chain; repeat from * to end. Turn. (7 empty squares made up of 8 DC and 7 ch-2 spaces)
Row 2: Ch 5 (photo #3), skip first DC and ch-2 gap, *DC in next DC, Ch 2; repeat from * to end, DC in third chain of previous row's turning chain. (Photos #4-5)
Repeat Row 1 until you have the number of rows you desire. (Photo #6)

Determining Gauge for filet crochet
Accounting for how much the piece will stretch during blocking, I feel it is safe to say my gauge is 4" x 4" = 7 x 7 squares.

How to work designs into filet crochet

Notes

  • If the first grid of a row is filled, the beginning of the row will be a chain 3. If it is empty, the beginning is chain 5.
  • Always skip the first DC. The beginning chain of the row will always include the first stitch.
  • If the first grid of a row is filled, skip the first DC and work the first two DC into the first ch-2 space. If it is empty, skip the first DC and ch-2 space and DC into the first DC.=
  • If the last grid of a row is filled, but the first grid of the next row is empty: turn, chain 5, then skip the first 3 DC.
  • If you are working an empty square over a filled square, you will need to skip the two DC stitches between the "lines" of the grid.
  • When working a design that is on graph paper, work the odd-numbered rows from right to left and the even-numbered rows from left to right.
  • Practice.

    Here is a simple design graphed out for you to practice:
    Simple Filet Crochet chart design
    This will help you practice working filled squares over blank squares and blank squares over filled squares. This design also has the very first square filled, unlike our blank mesh.

  • To work a design like this, you chain the number of squares needed, multiplied by 3 (7 x 3 = 21) PLUS 3 (first DC) to get a foundation that is 24 chains long.First row of filet crochet
    DC into the fourth, fifth, and sixth chains to create the first block.First row filet crochet block and postFirst row of filet crochet
    Create the blank blocks the way we worked the blank mesh, by chaining 2 and skipping 2 chains. Work the last block by making DC stitches into each of the last 4 chains.Complete Filet crochet swatch
    Keeping the notes above in mind, work the rest of the graph. When you are done, block your piece to your desired dimensions. I had to stretch mine a bit to get it square.

    There are other things to do with filet crochet, including increases, decreases and lacets. We'll cover those in a later post. Let me know what you think of filet crochet! Do you like it or not? I personally find it super quick to work! I love fast projects, so this is something I'm super happy to share with everyone. I'm going to attach my little blocks to cork to make a set of coasters for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day!

What kind of project will you filet crochet?

17 Comments

Mary Strubhar

I have a filet pattern for the Lords Last Supper and am at a point where it is making the face and from the form that I have shows half sts and It is really confusing me. I started at the top. Should I have began from the bottom up.
Everything I have read and looked at is a square or a open square. Where am I going wrong? I have had this pattern for at least 20 yrs and have no instructions.
kind regards, Mary

Reply
CH

RE: 1/2 stitch: If I understand your question correctly, this stitch is usually worked into the 5CH from the previous row. Instead of making a Lacet stitch, you fill in 1/2 the space with 1 full block (4 DC), and 1 empty block (CH2, SK2, DC).
Hope this helps! Good luck!

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Helen LeBrett

Thanks for the lesson. My grandmother worked lovely fillet crochet, but I never learned it. You’ve helped me figure out the charts and the basic concepts. Looking forward to the next posts on this. Hugs, H in Healdsburg

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Pauline

are all of craftsy crochet items worked on american system? will i have to convert stitches for english? also, how do i save this new stitch to my library?

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Moira

i have I got this right. A picture of 50 squares will start with a chair of 150?
Thanks for the clear instructions

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Mary

Hi, Pauline…yes, Craftsy’s crochet terms are American, so you will need to do a bit of translation. I’m a big fan of Kerry Lord’s books (from the UK) and I have to translate the British crochet terms to my “language”! Happy crocheting!

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Mary Strubhar

I am working on the lords last supper and am to a place where I am making a face but can’t figure out how to do it. It looks like half a stitch. How is this done to get the design of the face?

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Jai Rubens

i need help, i am working on a filet crochet but it has 2 colors and I need to know how to use the colors so the thread you are carrying at the back does not show. It is in gold and red. By the way I did the last supper filet crochet way back in 90’s, if you show me the picture maybe I can help, but I did start from the bottom and worked up. Thanks for your help.

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linda

I am trying to learn filet crochet. The first row is all dc. the 2nd row says to do beginning block which I do not understand. Next it says work blocks across????

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linda

I am trying to learn filet crochet. The first row is all dc. the 2nd row says to do beginning block which I do not understand. Next it says work blocks across???? Would appreciate any help. I have watched tutorials but still cannot figure it out.

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Lucy

I have been trying to place an order all day and all I am getting is a language other than English – in trying to place an order – it won’t let me place an order

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Lance

I’m a newbie to filet crochet. My squares come out too short, so they’re rectangels, wider than they are tall. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Reply
queenshaboo

@Lance: Possible reasons –
1) fine gauge yarn/ small hook size so that the height of the dcs are shorter
try doing treble stitches rather than dcs (US terminology: yarn over twice and draw through 2 loops 3 times) might help. I do this all the time because I use very fine crochet thread with larger hooks in order to speed up the time it takes me to complete a garment, rather than using very fine thread and a fine hook which takes a long loooong time to finish and also makes for a smaller sized finished object which would require rejigging the number of blocks in the pattern itself.
than usual
2) looser tension on chain stitches and tighter tension on dcs resulting in chain stitches being bigger than dc stitches.
the only thing that will help is being mindful of your tension and just Practise Practise Practise until it improves.

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