Saturday, April 12, 2014

How To: 3 DC Filet Crochet

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   I remember the first time I tried to tackle a filet crochet project on my own. It was made in 3 DC filet, was only written using the mesh terms, and the meshes were not explained in the instructions. I thought, "I can do this, every square equals 3 double crochet!". If you know filet crochet, you may be laughing before I explain that after the first row, the pattern wasn't working.
   I let confidence get in my way. My skills are advanced, so I know what I'm doing, right? I grumbled, assuming the pattern was written incorrectly. I moved on to another project, this time a charted pattern with no written instructions, also in 3 DC filet.
  I'd like to invite you to share my memories of that project.

  It was supposed to be an afghan. Sixty dollars in yarn later, hook in hand, I was ready. Over 200 stitches across, beginning chain made, I began.

  The first ten rows of the afghan were all solid mesh, with no color changes. Can you guess what happened? Over 2,000 stitches later, I discovered my stitches were off.
  I stopped to count my stitches. Hmm...I had the correct (so I thought) number, why wouldn't it work?
  With my confidence knocked down a peg, I turned to my collection of crochet books and magazines. I brushed up on the technique, and moved on to smaller, more simple projects. I never had the heart to try the same pattern again, and I don't wish the same mistake on anyone else. 


  With this tutorial, you'll be able to follow just about any pattern or chart using 3 DC filet. You can follow along later to learn a few ways to use each mesh, but let's begin by learning the meshes.


Solid mesh - Creates a solid block of fabric. 



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For solid mesh at the beginning of a row: Chain 3, 1 dc in each of next 2 stitches.


For regular solid mesh (over another solid mesh): 1 dc in each of next 2 sts.


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

*Or, your pattern may call to work both stitches in the chain space.

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


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For beginning open mesh: Chain 4, skip first stitch, 1 double crochet.


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



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


For beginning long mesh: Chain 6, double crochet in last stitch of lacet; or skip next 3 stitches, 1 double crochet.


For regular long mesh: Chain 3, double crochet in last stitch of lacet; or skip next 3 stitches, 1 double crochet.



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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 5, skip first stitch, 1 single crochet. Chain 2, skip next stitch, 1 double crochet.


For lacet: Chain 2, skip 1, 1 single crochet, chain 2, skip 1, 1 double crochet.

Note - The last double crochet of a lacet will count as the first double crochet of the next mesh.


Now let's make sure we understand what all that means... Why do you need to make a mesh differently at the beginning of a row?



The term 3 DC is used because each mesh represents three double crochet. But did you know that after the first mesh in a row, each mesh shares a common stitch? 


Below the next picture, you'll find a sample chart for this tutorial. The first mesh in each row will always be worked over 3 stitches. 


Any solid or open mesh (one square) after the first mesh in a row will only consist of two stitches.

A lacet or long mesh (two squares), it will be worked across five stitches. (A beginning lacet or long mesh would be six stitches.)

Following the sampler chart below will create this:





Let's move on to figuring our starting chain. Yeah, math! No, no, no, don't run away, it's simple!


Count the number of squares across the chart below. Multiply the number of squares by two (2).


Add one (1) to that number.


Then add three (3) for your turning chain.




This chart is seven squares across, so the starting chain would be:


7 x 2 = 14


14 + 1 = 15


15 + 3 = 18


Beginning chain = 18


  Now let's practice how to make these mesh and a few different ways to place them. Grab whatever yarn and hook you are comfortable with, and get ready to begin 3 DC filet crochet.


How to double crochet


The chart is worked from the bottom left to right, the next row right to left, and so on.

Chain 18.




To make the first solid mesh, make 1 double crochet in the 4th chain from hook and in the next stitch.
 



To make the next open mesh, chain 1, skip 1, double crochet.





The next solid mesh will be 1 double crochet in each of the next 2.





Can you see how the two meshes together make what looks like one block of three stitches? Remember, they share a common stitch together.


Now, see if you can finish the row. Follow the chart and you should get this:





The next row begins with an open mesh.

Chain 4, skip 1, double crochet.




To make the next solid mesh over an open mesh, place 1 double crochet in chain space, double crochet in next double crochet.






Chain 1, skip 1, 1 double crochet over next solid mesh.




Finish the row according to the chart.





Row 3 is a whole row of open mesh for practice. Here's the first mesh if you need help:



  



The next row is all solid mesh. Remember, 1 double crochet in the chain space, 1 in the next double crochet.

  

 Here's the chart again so you don't have to scroll all the way back up.


Begin Row 5 with a solid mesh. Now for the lacet:
Chain 2, skip 1, 1 single crochet.



Chain 2, skip 1, 1 double crochet to complete the lacet.



Finish Row 5. Notice the last double crochet of the lacet is shared with the next mesh, just as the last double crochet of the solid mesh is shared as the first stitch of the next lacet.



Make a solid mesh to begin the next row. For the long mesh, chain 3, 1 double crochet in the last double crochet of the lacet.



See if you can finish this row by yourself. Again you can see how the long mesh shares a stitch with the mesh next to it.



Let's repeat those two rows again. This time, the lacet is going over the long mesh. As before, chain 2, but this time, single crochet in the chain-space. Complete the lacet as before, and finish the row.





The last row is worked the same as before:



You can keep practicing from there if you want. Repeat the chart I provided, or work with your own combination to see what you can do.

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?

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