If you're looking to expand your crochet horizons, consider learning how to filet crochet. You can create beautiful decorative pieces and intricate detailed accents with this time-honored technique.
What Is Filet Crochet?
Filet crochet, sometimes also spelled "fillet crochet," is a technique that involves different "meshes" to make a fabric. There are filled meshes, which create solid pieces, and open meshes, which create holes. Think of your grandmother's doilies or antimacassars (that's the fancy word for those things over the back and arms of the chairs). Its lacy, delicate, pretty and not too difficult to produce yourself.
The pattern is made by placing filled meshes on a background of open mesh. Hass Design has a handy chart and instructional videos to help you learn the basics.
Reading a Filet Crochet Pattern
Before you can stitch it, though, you have to understand what it means. Filet crochet patterns use charts to show you where the mesh starts and stops, as well as where to double crochet and where to chain.
A filled mesh is formed by a series of three double crochet stitches, while the open mesh is made with a combination of double crochet and chain stitches. It sounds more complicated than it is. Once you get used to reading the charts, it's really pretty easy to do, as long as you pay attention to where you are in the pattern.
Filet Crochet Pattern Variations
Many patterns are written in the manner described above. However, some use treble crochet instead of double crochet, and some use a different pattern for making the open crochet. Sometimes patterns will say that two filled meshes next to each other share one set of double crochet, so instead of doing eight double crochets in a row, you would only do seven.
For this reason, it's important to read your pattern carefully to know how the pattern was originally worked. That way, you can do it the same way and end up with a similar result.
Resources for Filet Crochet
Learning how to read the patterns and complete the necessary filet crochet stitches can a highly visual experience. Here are some websites with detailed instructions, photos, and videos to help you along the way:
- Crochet Kim - This tutorial is in pdf format, so you can easily print it out and keep it with you while you work.
- Crochet Cabana - The basic crochet tutorial is handy, but there's also a great international stitch symbol chart to help you convert patterns. You'll also find an informative Q and A at the end.
- Smart Crochet - Don't let the site design fool you. These filet tutorials are extremely detailed and easy to read, and there are sections devoted to each step of the process.
Filet Crochet Patterns
Once you've learned how to crochet in this style, it can be fun to browse through free patterns to choose what you'd like to make. Here are some good resources to try:
- Crochet Doilies offers alphabet and number charts for filet crochet, which can be useful in customizing designs.
- Crochet Pattern Central has a great collection of filet crochet pattern links for a variety of different projects.
- All Free Crafts offers four different animal patterns that can be used alone or as part of a larger project.
More Than Just Doilies
While the idea of filet crochet brings to mind the doilies and frilly accent pieces your grandmother used to make, you can use this technique to make everything from baby clothes to hair accessories. If you're looking to expand your crocheting skills, consider spending some time learning more about this useful and fun way of creating beautiful pieces.