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How to Filet Crochet Tutorial

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Updated April 26, 2017
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How to Filet Crochet Tutorial

Learn what filet crochet is and how to read filet crochet charts.

Filet crochet is a unique crochet design that requires chain stitches and double crochet stitches only. These two stitches can be used to form blocks of stitches to make designs in the form of words to images. The finished project resembles a lacy grid of stitches that depict your image, so if you can sketch it out on graph paper, you can filet crochet it.

However, this technique looks intimidating to a lot of people because the filet technique is unknown to them. I'm here to help you out with this by showing you how to read these crochet patterns so that you can make that project you've been putting off for years. 

The filet technique most commonly uses cotton thread and a small steel hook. The double crochet and chain stitches arrange in a grid that is made up of blocks (for the design) and spaces (for the background), which is almost always laid out in a diagram for you. Combining the blocks and spaces is how your pattern makes a design, such as doilies with names crocheted into them, or shawls with a butterfly pattern.

How to Read Filet Crochet Charts

Block: This is where you make your double crochets. It is made up of either three, four, or five dc stitches, and is represented by the black boxes in the diagram below.

Space: This is where your chain stitches are. It is made by either one, two, or three chains and a double crochet. 
(When working a block above a space, the stitches are worked into the chain space rather than into the chain stitches.)

How to Start Filet Crochet

To start your foundation chain: Count the number of squares across the bottom row of the diagram to start. Take that number times three, plus one. For example, take the diagram below. Each darkened square (or block) is three dc. Each white square (or space) is a ch 2 and a dc.

Pay attention to the first square: If your first square is a white square (or space), then you add 5 chain stitches to your starting chain to count as a ch 3 plus a ch 2 mesh. If this space were a block (or black), then you would only add 3 chain stitches to your starting chain to count as the first dc of the block.

For this particular pattern, you would calculate your foundation chain like this: 
(6 x 3) + 1 = 19
19 + 5 = 24 sts for starting chain.


Since our first square is a white square, we are adding 5 to our starting chain. 

start in the lower right corner where there is a space if you're right handed. Lefties start in the lower lefthand corner. 

How to Start Filet Crochet

Filet Crochet Stitches Diagram

If you read patterns in a visual way, here is a stitch diagram to represent the diagram above. Here, every stitch is represented individually to help you work your way across each row. 

Filet Crochet Stitches Diagram

Tips for Filet Crochet and How to Use It

Before you start your first filet crochet project, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.  Work your stitches tightly. If they are too loose, your design will flop around and look a little sloppier than you might want it. You might want to use a smaller hook than your yarn calls for to ensure close stitching.
2.  Some stitch keys will call a space a "mesh" and a block a "solid mesh." Other diagrams may also use X's in the place of darkened blocks.
3.  Use graph paper to map out your own designs if you're feeling super creative.
4.  To finish, block your project by following the care instructions of your yarn.

Filet Crochet Patterns

Now that you've gotten the basics of this crochet technique, try these amazing patterns out:

1. Filet Crochet Butterfly
2. Lace Summer Top with Filet
3. ​Symmetrical Filet Crochet Prayer Cloth
4. Safran Filet Top
5. ​White Filet Lacy Top with Contrasting Bands
6. ​Happy Jack O' Lantern Table Runner

Filet Crochet Projects

Have you tried filet crochet?

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