Friday, April 4, 2014

How To: 4 DC Filet Crochet

  Filet crochet is a style of crochet most often worked from a chart. Instead of working from a written pattern, symbols are used to represent multiple stitches together, called a mesh, or colors will be used for color changes. Each symbol makes a block of fabric made of three or four stitches, or a mesh such as a lacet can be worked over two squares. The chart is worked from the bottom left to right, then from the right to the left for the next row up, and so on.

  Filet crochet can be difficult to understand if you're not familiar with reading charts, but once you understand the concept, you can turn any graphed picture into a crochet project. However, before you do that, you need to decide to work it in 3 DC or 4 DC. This tutorial is focused on teaching you about 4 DC filet crochet.


  4 DC means that every square of a chart will represent four stitches, with the beginning and last stitch always being a double crochet, or worked to the same height. Each square forms a block of fabric, or an open space. Although  each square represents four stitches, each square shares a common stitch with the square next to it.

  Wait, what?..So, 4 DC actually means each square is made of 3 stitches?

  Yes and no. Technically, each square is worked as three stitches, and is only "borrowing" a stitch from another square. Two squares next to each other will represent seven stitches, not eight. Because each stitch still needs to represent four stitches, one extra stitch is added to the beginning chain.

How to double crochet

Let's begin by learning the different types of mesh:

Solid mesh - Creates a solid block of fabric.

  For solid mesh at the beginning of a row: Chain 3, 1 dc in each of next 3 stitches.

  For regular solid mesh (over another solid mesh): 1 dc in each of next 3 sts.

  For solid mesh over a chain space: 2 double crochet in chain space, 1 dc in next stitch.

Open mesh - Creates an open block equal to the size of a solid mesh.

  For beginning open mesh: Chain 5, skip first 2 stitches, 1 double crochet.

  For regular open mesh: Chain 2, skip 2, 1 double crochet.


Long mesh - Usually worked over a lacet. Creates a double open mesh space. Always worked across 2 squares.

  For beginning long mesh: Chain 8, double crochet in last stitch of lacet; or skip next 5 stitches, 1 double crochet.

  For regular long mesh: Chain 5, double crochet in last stitch of lacet; or skip next 5 stitches, 1 double crochet.


Lacet - Creates a larger, angled open space suitable for lacy fabric. The word itself translates from French for "lace". Also known as a fancy mesh. Always worked across 2 squares.

  For beginning lacet: Chain 6, skip first 2 stitches, 1 single crochet. Chain 3, skip next 2 stitches, 1 double crochet.

  For lacet: Chain 3, skip 2, 1 single crochet, chain 3, skip 2, 1 double crochet.
The last double crochet of a lacet will count as the first double crochet of the next mesh.

  Let's work together to understand how to figure the staring chain and the stitches thereafter. For the examples, I'll be using a size F/5 - 3.75MM hook and worsted weight (4) yarn. Use whatever you are most comfortable with, and let's start with the basics.

To begin, count the number of squares going across the chart. This one is eight squares.



Multiply the number of squares by three:
8 x 3 = 24.

Add one for the beginning stitch:
24 + 1 = 25.

Then add three for your turning chain.
25 + 3 = 28.

So for a chart eight squares wide, you will need to chain 28, resulting in a row of 25 stitches.

So, to begin: Chain 28.



-  -  -  -  -

1. Let's practice the solid mesh first. Double crochet in the fourth chain from the hook,



 and in each of next 3 stitches. (1st mesh made)


(Double crochet in each of next 3 stitches)  7 times. (8 meshes, 1 row made)

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Obviously, if you were to continue all in solid mesh, you would end up with a solid fabric with no pattern. Now practice combining different meshes in the same row, using solid mesh and open mesh. Being worked over a row of solid stitches, this one's pretty easy. I'm pretty sure you can do it without step by step help.

2. Chain 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. 1 double crochet in each of next 3 stitches. Chain 2, skip 2, 1 dc. (1 solid mesh, 1 open mesh made)
Make an open mesh again, make 2 solid mesh, make 2 open mesh. End with 1 solid mesh.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Next, let's reverse that pattern. When working a solid mesh over a chain space, work 2 double crochet in the chain space, then 1 double crochet in the next double crochet.

3. For beginning open mesh, chain 5, skip 2, 1 double crochet.
Make 2 solid mesh, make open mesh twice, 2 solid mesh, 1 open mesh.




-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


Now let's practice a full row of open mesh.

4. Chain 5 for beginning open mesh., skip 2, double crochet.


(Ch 2, skip 2, double crochet) 7 times. (8 open meshes made)


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Now you've covered solid mesh and open mesh. Got it? Let's move on to cover the lacet and its companion, the long mesh. We'll begin by making an entire row using the lacet.

5. For beginning lacet, chain 6, skip 2, 1 sc. Chain 3, skip 2, 1 dc.


(Chain 3, skip 2, 1 single crochet, chain 3, skip 2, 1 double crochet) 3 times. (4 lacets made)


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Now, let's make a row of long mesh over that.

6. For beginning long mesh, chain 8, double crochet in last double crochet of lacet.


(Chain 5, skip lacet, double crochet in last double crochet of lacet) 7 times. (4 long meshes made)


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Practice working the lacet over the long mesh. 


7. For beginning lacet, chain 6, skip 2, 1 sc, chain 3, skip 2, 1 double crochet.


To complete the row, make one lacet over each long mesh. (8 lacets made)


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

8. Make a row of long mesh again. Let's see if you can do it by yourself this time. Refer to step/row 6  if you need help.


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

What goes above the long mesh? Anything, really. Let's practice the solid and open mesh one more time for an example. Work as for step/ row 2, that will be: Solid mesh, 2 open mesh, 2 solid mesh, 2 open mesh, 1 solid mesh.

9. For beginning solid mesh, chain 3, 3 double crochet in chain space.


To make the first open mesh, chain 2, 1 double crochet in last double crochet of long mesh.


For next open mesh, chain 2, 1 double crochet in chain space.


Place 2 double crochet in chain space, 1 double crochet in last double crochet of long mesh for first solid mesh.


Work all 3 double crochet of following solid mesh in next chain space.


Chain 2, double crochet in last double crochet of long mesh, chain 2, double crochet in next chain space for final 2 open meshes.



For the last solid mesh, work 2 double crochet in chain space,



1 dc in chain-3 of turning chain.


-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

There you have it! Now you've covered the 4 DC meshes, and a combination of how to place them. You can combine the knowledge you've learned here to crochet just about any 4 DC pattern.


What will you make?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Free Pattern: Pink Lemonade Scarf

  Spring is here for many of us, but the chill of winter is still in the air. The Pink Lemonade Scarf is a beautiful lacy scarf with bright, eye catching colors perfect for the season. Long enough to be doubled over for layering on those chilly days, it's still light enough to be worn as an accessory for a cool summer night. Using a nylon blend DK weight yarn and lacy stitches creates a material that drapes beautifully while still providing some extra warmth.

  With lots of open spaces and a short repeating pattern, you could have this project done in almost no time. Can be made in any length desired by ending with rows 115-120. Now with a chart!

Finished size is 4" by 60" (10 cm by 152 cm).

* Oops! These instructions have been updated. No problem for anybody working from the mesh descriptions, but I hope I didn't confuse anyone. I originally forgot to note that the lacet used is modified, using chain 2 instead of chain 3.  It was made this way purposely, to work with the stitch count and to pull the fabric for effect on the edges.
  Just as a note to beginners in 4 DC filet crochet: A regular lacet - Chain 3, skip 2, 1 single crochet, chain 3, skip 2, 1 double crochet - will normally have a long mesh worked over it. Stitches are not usually worked into the middle of a lacet, I just felt like breaking the rules.

Skill level:
Easy

Materials:
1 skein Bernat Baby Jacquards (90% acrylic, 10% nylon) in Berries 'n' Cream
  or any similar blend DK/3 weight yarn

Crochet hook size G/6-4.25MM or size needed to obtain gauge

Yarn needle to weave in ends




Gauge:
In 4" by 4" or 10 cm by 10 cm:
19 dc in 8 rows

Notes: Pattern is worked in 4 DC filet crochet. One square = 4 dc. Two squares = 7 stitches. Each square shares a stitch with previous square. 
  
Instructions for stitches are provided. There are two kinds of modified lacets used, check stitch descriptions before starting. 

Stitches:
Chain (ch)

Double crochet bobble (dc bobble) - *Yarn over, insert hook in designated stitch, pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through two loops.* Repeat from * to * 4 more times. Yarn over, pull through all six loops on hook.

Solid mesh - 1 dc in each of next 3 chains or stitches.




Open mesh - Chain 2, skip 2, 1 dc.




Long mesh (worked over 2 squares) - Ch 5, sk 5, 1 dc.



Modified (m.) Lacet (worked over 2 squares) - Chain 2, skip 2, 1 sc. Ch 2, sk 2, 1 dc.



Bobble lacet (worked over 2 squares) - Chain 2, skip 2, dc bobble. Ch 2, sk 2, 1 dc.







Directions:
To begin, ch 22.



Row 1:
1 dc in 4th ch from hook. 1 dc in each of next 3 chs. Ch 2, sk 2, 1 dc (open mesh). Ch 2, sk 2, 1 sc, ch 2, sk 2, 1 dc (m. lacet). Ch 2, sk 2, 1 dc (open mesh). 1 dc in each of next 3 chs (solid mesh).

Row 2:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. Solid mesh, open mesh, bobble lacet, open mesh, solid mesh.

Row 3:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. Solid mesh, open mesh, m. lacet, open mesh, solid mesh.

Rows 4 - 7:
Repeat Rows 2 through 3 two more times. 

Row 8:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. Solid mesh, open mesh, long mesh, open mesh, solid mesh. 

Row 9:
Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), turn. Solid mesh, open mesh, m. lacet, open mesh, solid mesh.

Rows 10 - 114:
Repeat Rows 2 throughthirteen more times. 

Rows 115-120:
Repeat Rows 2 through 3 three more times.

Bind off, weave in ends.




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yarn Review: DMC Traditions Crochet Thread

    Recently while facing limited finances, and a sparse selection of colors in a local store, I found my new love. Michaels had been invaded by thread hoarders that day, but I was in luck. Color 5109 caught my eye, and the price fit my budget. We went home a happy couple.

  It's 100% mercerized cotton, and colorfast, which I love, because not long ago, a former project was ruined by color bleeding. Being machine washable and dryer safe, this would work great for garments, especially for babies.



  I have one complaint, and only one complaint: It's only available in five colors, and I want more! I searched the company's site and found a vast selection of colors in their other products, but sadly, only five in Traditions.

  After visiting dmc-usa.com, I discovered this is not available for purchase from their site, but they will help you locate a store which carries it. It can also be found online at many other sites. Being new to this brand, I only picked up one ball of each color. I have to go get more, but not in an "I ran out of material for my project" kind of way. I have to get more because I love working with this thread.

  I have nothing against any other brand of any crochet thread I've ever used. They've all just been, well...thread. DMC Traditions is the softest cotton thread I've worked with yet. When compared to others, DMC appears to be a finer thread at first, but I had no problem with gauge when mixing brands for my Celtic Knot Shamrock pendant.

  The candy colors of 5109 inspired the Cotton Candy Butterfly applique, along with multiple ideas still in my head. Honestly, pastel rainbow colors are about as far away from my taste as you can get. That's what surprised me when I discovered how many things this thread has inspired me to make. From accessories to appliques; from bags to baby items, the patterns keep flowing through my mind.

  So there you have it: If the only thing I can complain about is a lack of colors, I think it should get an almost perfect score. I highly recommend giving DMC Traditions a try. You might fall in love with it too.

 

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