Filet Crochet was introduced to me about 3 decades ago. I asked a friend how they made a beautiful doily on their end table. She handed me a spool of thread, a crochet hook so small that I could hardly see the hook at the end, and a piece of graph paper with a "pattern" on it (it was a rose). She told me it was just double crochet and you thought of things in blocks,
rather than in rows. She told me that the solid blocks were all double crochet, the empty ones were skipping stitches. I bought myself a magnifying glass (I didn't think of using thicker thread or yarn, and a larger hook, ha ha), and went to work trying to learn on my own. There was no Internet then so I went to the library, and it was about 3 months later I had a new skill.
This introduction is just going to cover the basics to get you going. Filet crochet is a basic combination of two crochet stitches, the basic chain, and double crochet, all forming filled blocks or empty blocks that create a pattern. For this generation, think in pixelated pictures. Most Filet Crochet patterns are actually graphs or charts.
Instead of 'forcing' you to learn this new craft with very thin crochet thread and a tiny hook, I'm going to use normal crochet cotton, 4 ply, and size H/8 - 5.00mm Hook. This way you can play with easy to handle sizes until you understand - then switch.
Thinking in blocks begins with understanding what they look like. You can see open blocks in the bottom two rows, I alternated open and filled blocks in the middle two rows, and the top two rows are solid filled blocks (I know, it just looks like double crochet).
The picture below is what you'll see for a Filet Crochet Chart or Graph. The blank or white blocks represent the open blocks, the black blocks represent a filled block. You may see charts that have large dots in them instead of black blocks. In my time I've seen an equal number of solid blocks and dot blocks. The easy pattern / chart / graph I'll be sharing with you will be with filled blocks.
This makes a beautiful and simple edging
for blankets, shawls, pillows, and more.
Would you like to try the swatch above?
Chain (ch) 18 + 8 (26): Each block is made of 3 chains. In order to make the first empty block (the +8) you will need to think of this as the 3 chains on the bottom of a block, 2 chains up the side, and 3 chains at the top.
NOTE: If you are working on creating anything, using Filet Crochet. The way to calculate your start chain is always: 3 times the number of blocks you want | minus 1 block | plus 8 additional chains.
Row 1: 1 Double Crochet (dc) in the 8th chain from the hook.
* Chain (ch) 2, skip 2 chains (ch), 1 double crochet (dc) in the 3rd chain (ch). * Repeat between the stars (* *) across your chain (ch).
Note: When working into a chain always pick up the top two loops.
Row 2: Chain (ch) 5 and turn. 1 double crochet (dc) in the stitch directly above the last rows double crochet (dc) post. * Chain (ch) 2, skip 2 chains (ch), 1 double crochet (dc) in the 3rd chain (ch). * Repeat between the stars (* *) 6 times. 1 double crochet (dc) in the third (3rd) chain (ch) of the previous row's chain (ch) 5.
Row 3: Chain (ch) 5 and turn. * 1 double crochet (dc) in the stitch directly above the last rows post. 2 double crochet (dc) in the chain (ch) 2 center of the block below. 1 double crochet (dc) in the stitch directly above the last rows post. Chain (ch) 2. * Repeat between the stars (* *) 2 times. 1 double crochet (dc) in the third (3rd) chain (ch) of the previous row's chain (ch) 5.
Note: Some people like to do their 'block fill' double crochets into the chain stitches of the block below. Others double crochet around the chains. I prefer to go around the chains as it's much easier and quicker. I looked around alittle and most teaching how to Filet Crochet is around the chain versus into it.
Row 4: Chain (ch) 2 and turn (this chain counts as the first post of the first block). * 2 double crochet (dc) in the chain (ch) 2 center of the block below. 1 double crochet (dc) in the stitch directly above the last rows post. Chain (ch) 2, skip 2 stitches, 1 double crochet (dc). * Repeat between the stars (* *) 2 times. 3 double crochet (dc) around the last chain (ch) keeping your stitches close together.
Row 5: Chain (ch) 2 and turn.
Note: You'll be double crocheting (dc) across, however be mindful of where your blocks are. You could try saying something like, "fill, fill, post" to yourself while you are learning to help you remember to think in blocks.
Skip the first stitch, 1 double crochet (dc) in the next 3 stitches. * 2 double crochet (dc) around the chain (ch) below. 1 double crochet (dc) in the next 4 stitches. * Repeat between the stars (* *) 2 times. Your last double crochet (dc) will be in the first stitch of the chain (ch) 2 below.
Row 6: Chain (ch) 2 and turn. Skip the first stitch, 1 double crochet (dc) in the next 20 stitches. 1 double crochet (dc) in the first stitch of the chain (ch) 2 below.
Remember your chant, "fill, fill, post" to help you remember to think in blocks even though you're just double crocheting.
Your first Pattern / Chart / Graph
Create a HUGE butterfly. This will create a piece that is about 30 inches wide by 21 inches from top to bottom.
Using what you've learned above you can now create the pretty butterfly in Filet Crochet. It is NOT square like the chart. This pattern teaches you how to calculate a solid block edge versus an open block edge.
Materials and Tools
* Yarn: I used Crochet Cotton, 4 ply. Peaches & Cream, Sunshine (2.5 oz. per ball) 4 balls. You will need about 480 yards. If you are just learning this skill I would play it safe with 500 yards.
* Hook: I used a Boye H/8 - 5.00mm crochet hook.
* Other: A small scissors and yarn needle.
Note: If you want to make a square keep playing with your yarn and hooks until you find a combination that gives you as close to a square (in single crochet) as you can get. Equal rows and stitches make a square.
Count the blocks on the edge you're going to start on, in this case there are 43 blocks and 43 rows. You'll be starting on the bottom edge.
These are filled blocks (double crochet), remember that each block = 3 chains, and your last block will be calculated a little different. 43 blocks - 1 = 42 blocks x by 3 chains = 126.
Your last block will be a post, plus 2 double crochet, plus the chain (which is always 2) that makes the first double crochet stitch. 3 + 2 = 5. So you would start with 126 + 5 = 131 chains. You will begin your double crochet stitches in the third chain from the hook, and do a total of 129 double crochet across the chain.
Note: Hiding ends in Filet Crochet is not as easy as in regular crochet. I want my ends to be tightly hiden. Leave an end that's long enough to thread a needle with (about 5 - 6 inches) so you can easily work with it and give it a strong weave in.
Each row for this pattern will be a chain 2 and turn. Then skip the first stitch (your chain counts as your first stitch) and begin.
At the end of each row you will do one last double crochet into the links of chain below it.