Filet crochet patterns are blocks that create a graphic pattern by combining the positive and negative space of open and closed blocks. In the following article I go over all the basics of filet crochet, plus there is a free download to get you started!
Filet crochet has a grid-like appearance and traditionally is made with very fine thread and steel crochet hooks (around 1-2mm size!) Traditionally you may see tablecloths, bedspreads, placemats, curtains or even a lace shawl.
Many filet crochet patterns are charted only without written instructions. However, I have demystified the filet crochet chart, converted it into a traditional crochet chart and also written it out in step by step instructions, too. The ability to apply what you know already to the new chart format and compare side by side will help you to learn the filet crochet charts, too.
Here is a free download to get started on filet crochet today: Xs and Os Filet Crochet Stitch Pattern Free Download
In my interpretation of the filet crochet block chart, I chose to represent each block with ch1 for open squares and 1dc for closed squares. You can also represent wider blocks: ch2 for open squares and 2dc for closed squares; or ch3 for open squares and 3dc for closed squares.
Regardless of which way you interpret your squares, the walls of the squares will always be represented by one stitch: in this example, double crochet.
An open square in filet crochet
An open square in filet crochet is represented with a white square in the traditional block chart. And it is represented in the crochet symbol chart with chains. In the chart above, open squares are (ch1, 1dc) but in wider filet crochet charts it could also be represented with (ch2, 1dc), (ch3, 1dc) or even (ch4, 1dc).
A closed square in filet crochet
A closed square in filet crochet is reprinted with a black square in the traditional block chart. And it is represented in the crochet symbol chart with (1dc in next ch1 sp, 1dc in next dc). In the chart above, closed squares are (1dc in next ch1 sp, 1dc in next dc) but in wider filet crochet charts closed squares could also be represented with (2dc in next ch2 sp, 1dc in next dc), (3dc in next ch3 sp, 1dc in next dc), or even (4dc in next ch4 sp, 1dc in next dc).
What is the stitch multiple in filet crochet?
The stitch multiple in filet crochet varies based on how large your squares are represented. For example, in the chart above, each square is a multiple of 2 sts + 1. As long as you are making your first set up row in foundation stitches, the multiple is 2 sts + 1. If you are starting with a traditional beginning chain, also account for 2 additional chains to allow your first dc to count as 3 chains with the second dc worked into the fourth chain from hook. See the two charts side by side comparing traditional beginning chain and foundation double crochet in the set up row.
Filet crochet chart with tradition beginning chain set up row: multiple of 2 sts + 3.
Filet crochet chart with foundation double crochet set up row: multiple of 2 sts + 1.
For the wider examples of filet crochet, here are the stitch multiples:
3dc Filet Crochet (ch2, dc) for open blocks and (2dc in ch2 sp, 1dc) for closed blocks, the stitch multiple is 3 sts + 1 for foundation dc set up row and 3 sts + 3 for beginning chain set up.
4dc Filet Crochet (ch3, dc) for open blocks and (3dc in ch3 sp, 1dc) for closed blocks, the stitch multiple is 4 st + 1 for foundation dc set up row and 4 sts + 3 for beginning chain set up.
Gauge and Blocking
Your tension and gauge are important in filet crochet for a couple of reason. If your tension is too tight, you might not be able to differentiate between the open and closed squares to see your intended design and if your tension is too loose, there won’t be enough structure to your fabric to see the design properly either. Another reason gauge is important is because how your project if affected by water can alter the gauge dramatically, especially if your tension was loose when crocheting it in the first place. And since the items you will be making most likely will require laundering over their lifetime, knowing how your fabric will be affected by water is important. it would be a shame to invest hundreds of hours making a filet crochet table cloth or bedspread and finding out it is too large or too small.
Other ways to modify your filet crochet
You can also modify the height of your squares by substituting the double crochets for either half double crochet for shorter squares or treble crochet or taller stitches for taller squares.
Browse more free crochet stitch pattern downloads here:
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