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Filet Tutorial

Filet crochet basics
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Chart Abbreviations:

- shows where the mesh starts and where ends;

- dc;

- chain

Filet crochet basics - open and filled meshes.

In this lesson I'll give you the general idea about filet crochet. We'll start CROCHETING in the next lesson " Starting your work. Simple filet crochet project".


Filet crochet is more simple than you may think. Generally, filet crochet technique is filled mesh against a background of open mesh, that's it!
So, as you've figured out already, filet crochet consists of two kind of meshes: filled and open. Filled mesh is also called block, or solid.

First of all let me tell you this: I want you to UNDERSTAND what you are crocheting and get the whole picture. If you do, you'll have no problems reading any scheme or pattern in future, no matter how complicated somebody's descriptions are.


Different patterns use different methods of working filled and open meshes. But the most common method is this one:

Filled mesh - 3 double crochet (3dc)
Open mesh - double crochet, chain 2 (dc, ch2)

(Other methods I'll explain later, I don't want to confuse you with whole bunch of information).

This picture shows you how it looks like on a stitch symbol chart (read the chart from right to left, this is how you read the schemes in filet):

-   open and filled mesh

2. - two open and two filled meshes

3. -  open, filled, open, filled meshes

4. -  open, two filled, open, filled meshes

You've may noticed, that one filled mesh on the chart looks like 4dc in a row, two filled meshes - like 7dc. That's right, it's because last dc belongs to the next open mesh. And this is how you are supposed to crochet it - one filled mesh like 4dc instead of 3dc, two - like 7dc instead of  6dc, three - like 10dc instead of  9dc, and so on. But it's NOT because filled mesh is 4dc or filled meshes share dc, like some instructions state. Once again, it's simply because last dc BELONGS TO THE NEXT OPEN MESH. It's very important that you understand that, and I've tried to make it as clear as possible on the charts.


OK, lets move on. Some of you may ask: and what happens if the row ends with open mesh? Then it may look like this:


This looks like the last open mesh ends with a chain which is "hanging in the air" and this doesn't seem right!
Good question! It is wrong, indeed! That's why in filet crochet you ALWAYS must end the row with additional dc. So the correct version of the above chart appears as following:


You have to end the row with additional dc EVEN if the last mesh of the row is filled mesh:


We work it that way, so when we turn our work and start the next row the count of dc and chains would not be screwed up. Otherwise we'll always be one dc short in each following row.


Now I'll show you how to start the row. It's very simple. First of all, turn your work after finishing the previous row. If the next row starts with open mesh, work chain 5 (ch5) - it counts like first dc and ch2:

8. -  the first ch5 works like open mesh

If the next row starts with filled mesh, work chain 3 (ch3) - it counts like first dc and two dc:

9. -  the first ch3 and 2dc works like filled mesh


Now that you know some basics, I'll explain you what other ways of working meshes exist.

Some patterns use treble crochet instead of double. All instructions above remain the same, just replace double crochet with treble crochet. The only difference is that when you start the row with open mesh work ch6 instead of ch5, and with filled mesh work ch4 instead of ch3.
This works good when you need to keep an aspect ratio of your work. Usually the square item on the scheme appears as a rectangle in reality. With treble crochet meshes are more square and the item keeps its proportions. Also if you tend to crochet tight, meshes with treble crochet will be bigger.

Some patterns use open meshes as double crochet, chain 1 and filled meshes as 2 double crochet. This kind of meshes are not very popular though. I never use this kind of filet crochet in my designs, as meshes appear too small and the work doesn't look lacy. But if you tend to crochet loose, this may work good for you.
In this case above instructions change as following:
You work one filled mesh as 3dc, two - as 5dc, three - as 7dc and so on (again, the last dc belongs to the next open mesh). You start rows with open meshes as ch4 (instead of ch5 in the above instructions), rows with first filled mesh as ch3, one dc (instead of two dc in the above instructions). The rest is the same.

In my future lessons all my instructions will refer to the common method of filet crochet, i.e. the one I described in details in this lesson (unless I point out some special tips  for the other methods).


And one more thing. Filet crochet patterns don't use word instructions (at least very little of word instructions). Filet patterns use schemes. Not the kind I showed you above, these charts I used just in the first lesson to help you understand better. The filet crochet schemes use squares: empty square stands for open mesh, square with cross - for filled. Some schemes use solid dark square for filled mesh, some use circles - it depends on the software. I'll use the traditional filet schemes in my future lessons.

This is how the first four charts of this lesson will look like on the schemes:

1. 2. 3. 4.


That's it! I haven't explained you yet where to actually work all these stitches (like "work dc in dc"). This I'll show you in our next lesson, when we actually start crocheting. I'll show you some exercises and we'll work row after row together.

Happy crocheting!

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