Learn the Basics of Filet Crochet

How to crochet mesh in 3dc and 4dc

Filet crochet is an easy technique that can have stunning results. Filet crochet patterns are made up of open meshes and solid meshes with patterns that depict this (so the patterns are charts, not written instructions).

The mesh is made using double crochet stitches (the solid blocks) separated by spaces (the open blocks). The blocks can be made using 3dc or 4 dc stitches, depending on the version of filet crochet that you're working. This guide explains both but shows specifically how to...MORE work with 4 dc filet crochet, since this is the more common of the two methods.

  • 01 of 06

    Filet crochet patterns are blocks

    Filet Crochet
    Filet Crochet. Kathryn Vercillo

    The first thing that you must understand about filet crochet is that you won't have any written instructions for these patterns. You also won't have symbol charts. Instead, you will have grids; the grids will consist of "open" spaces and "solid" spaces. You use double crochet stitches to create your solid spaces and add chains over skipped stitches to create the open boxes.

  • 02 of 06

    3 dc vs 4 dc blocks for filet crochet

    3 dc filet crochet
    3 dc filet crochet. Kathryn Vercillo

    Some patterns use 4 dc to form a block (solid mesh), while other patterns use 3 dc to form a block (solid mesh).

    3 DC Filet Explained: In a pattern that uses 3 double crochet (dc) to form each block (solid mesh), each block consists of 3 dc. When there are two blocks side by side, the blocks share a common dc in the center, so there will be 5 dc in that group of two blocks. Three blocks side by side = 7 dc.

    4 DC Filet Explained: In a pattern that uses 4 double crochet (dc) to form each block...MORE (solid mesh), each block consists of 4 dc. When there are two blocks side by side, the blocks share a common dc in the center, so there will be 7 dc in that group of two blocks. Three blocks side by side = 10 dc.

    If you are confused, take a moment to look at the graph charts for filet crochet. Each row consists of blocks. Each block is either open or solid. You use double crochet stitches to fill in a solid block. You use three dc stitches or 4 dc stitches, as explained above. Each block shares a solid line with the block next to it so that the last stitch of the first block is the first stitch of the next block. That's why two 4dc blocks next to each will not have 8 dc but instead will have 7 dc, because block 1 consists of dc stitches 1-4 and block 2 consists of dc stitches 4-7. They each have four dc stitches but they share the middle one.

  • 03 of 06

    Making Solid Crochet Squares in Filet Crochet

    Solid Squares in Filet Crochet
    Solid Squares in Filet Crochet. Kathryn Vercillo

    On a chart, the X or completely filled in block equals a solid mesh. The symbol shows what this solid mesh would look like on a stitch symbols diagram. To make a solid meshdc in next 3 dc or 2 dc in next chain space, dc in next dc.

    Note: Some stitch keys will call this a block instead of a solid mesh.

    The Beginning Solid Mesh (Beginning Block) is made by: ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc in first chain space, dc in next dc or dc in next 3 dc.

    Note that many (but not all) filet crochet patterns will...MORE begin and end with an entire row of double crochet stitches because this gives a nice frame to the pattern.

  • 04 of 06

    Making Open Mesh Squares in Filet Crochet

    2 Rows of Filet Crochet
    2 Rows of Filet Crochet. Kathryn Vercillo

    On a chart, the blank square equals an open mesh. The symbol shows what this open mesh would look like on a stitch symbols diagram. To make an open meshch2, skip next 2 chains, dc in next dc or skip next 2 dc, dc in next dc.

    Note: Some stitch keys will call this a space instead of a mesh.

    The Beginning Open Mesh (Beginning Space) is made by: ch 5, skip next 2 stitches, dc in next dc.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Calculating your Starting Chains for Filet Crochet

    Starting Chain
    Starting Chain. Kathryn Vercillo

    We have talked about how to create the beginning open and solid mesh stitches but how do you begin the entire project. You need to have a starting chain, of course.

    First, count the number of squares across the first row that you will be working on the chart. Charts are usually begun at the bottom of the chart. Many edgings are worked sideways (the short rows) so that the length can be decided as you go along. 

    Next, decide if you want to work the chart in a 3 dc mesh or a 4 dc mesh. 3 dc mesh...MORE = a mesh containing 3 dc in each mesh (after the first mesh, the last dc of a mesh also counts as the first dc of the next mesh). 4 dc mesh = a mesh containing 4 dc in each mesh (after the first mesh, the last dc of a mesh also counts as the first dc of the next mesh).

    If working the chart in a 3 dc mesh, multiply the number of squares across on the first row of the chart, times 2, then add 1. That's your starting chain.  Add number of chains for turning chain before starting first row: If the first square on the chart is a solid mesh, then chain 3 (counts as first double crochet of first mesh). If the first square on the chart is an open mesh, then chain 4 (counts as first double crochet and the chain-1 of first open mesh).

    If working the chart in a 4 dc mesh, multiply the number of squares across on the first row of the chart, times 3, then add 1. That's your starting chain.  Add number of chains for turning chain before starting first row: If the first square on the chart is a solid mesh, then chain 3 (counts as first double crochet of first mesh). If the first square on the chart is an open mesh, then chain 5 (counts as first double crochet and the chain-2 of first open mesh).

    Why there's an add 1 at the end of the starting chain formula: Because (for a 3 dc mesh) after the first mesh, the last dc of a mesh also counts as the first dc of the next mesh, meaning that you will need 2 dc for each new mesh across the row. This is why you multiply the number of mesh on the first row of the chart times two. But you need 3 dc for the first mesh of that row and after multiplying the number of mesh across first row times two, there are only 2 dc allotted for the first mesh of the row. That's what the add 1 is for - to bring the number of mesh allotted for the first mesh of the row up to 3 dc. The same reason and principle for the add 1 applies to a 4 dc mesh starting chain formula.

  • 06 of 06

    Beyond the Basics in Filet Crochet

    Now you have all of the tools that you need to complete basic filet crochet chart patterns. However, it's good to know that you can go beyond these basics in filet crochet, just like you can with other unique crochet techniques. 

    One way to change things up is to use half double crochet or treble crochet stitches instead of double crochet stitches to alter the shape and size of the finished pattern.

    There are also some advanced crochet stitches in filet crochet, including the long mesh and the...MORE lacet (also called "fancy mesh"), which you can learn if you discover that you want to take filet crochet to the next level.