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.
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)
- 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.
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)
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
- 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.
Here is a simple design graphed out for you to practice:
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.
DC into the fourth, fifth, and sixth chains to create the first block.
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.
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!