Tapestry Crochet

Interested in learning more about filet crochet? Find out everything you could want to know about filet crochet plus some extra tips and tricks to help you master the technique.

What is filet crochet?

Filet crochet is a crochet technique that combines “open mesh” stitches and “closed mesh” stitches to create visual images (like filling in graph paper). An open mesh consists of a double crochet and 2 chains, while a closed mesh is 3 double crochet. When you look at the project, the open mesh squares let the light in while closed mesh is solid. The placement of the solid, closed-mesh squares creates a visual image.

An “open mesh” square

An “open mesh” square

A “closed mesh” square

A “closed mesh” square

What is the history of filet crochet?

Historically, filet crochet used thin, white cotton crochet thread (like Curio) to make window curtains, tablecloths, and bedspreads. They would depict geometric patterns, floral patterns, or words of some kind. Today, you might see the technique worked in thicker yarns and brighter colors. You might also see it in a larger range of projects like glamorous wraps, ponchos, or market bags.

How do you read a filet crochet chart?

If you find a filet crochet pattern, you’ll most likely see it shared as a chart (it looks like graph paper with squares filled in), rather than a written pattern. As you look at the chart, you will read right side (RS) rows from right to left and the wrong side (WS) rows from left to right. If you are working filet crochet in the round, you will read all rows from right to left.

If the first square of the chart is open, chain 5 (counts as DC, ch 2). If the first square of the chart is closed (filled in), ch 3 (counts as first DC), 2 DC. After the first square, every open square on the chart consists of a double crochet and 2 chains. Every closed (or filled in) square on the cart consists of 3 double crochet. End the row with a final double crochet.

Chevron pattern filet chart
Flower pattern filet chart
Chevron pattern swatch

Chevron pattern swatch

Flower pattern swatch

Flower pattern swatch

Tips and tricks for filet crochet projects

Want to know how to make filet crochet the very best it can be? Here are some tried and true tips from filet crocheters:

  • You want your open and closed mesh blocks to be as close to square as possible to enhance your visual pattern. Some people’s double crochet stitches tend to be rather short making their filet crochet square look a bit more like a short rectangle. To help create a square, work an extended double crochet stitch instead.
    • Extended double crochet (EDC): Yarn over, insert hook in indicated stitch or space, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and draw through 1 loop, (yarn over and draw through 2 loops) twice.
  • Experiment with different hook sizes. To create a visually impactful filet crochet pattern, you need just the right crochet hook size. A hook that is too large will make your closed meshes look too open and it will be hard to see the pattern. Hooks that are too small will make your open meshes look too closed and it will be hard to see the pattern.
  • Block your filet crochet projects! Blocking is helpful for almost every project, but it is especially helpful for lace projects, and the most helpful for filet crochet. Blocking helps those open spaces in your work open up even more and let the light through, and this is essential for filet crochet.
  • For larger filet crochet projects, it can be very difficult to keep your eye on the chart and keep track of where you are. Use a piece of paper to help you keep track of which row you are on, or use a small highlighter to cross out the row when you have completed it, or use our Magnetic Chart Keeper

Now you have all the secrets to creating stunning filet crochet! If you want to try this technique, practice with the filet crochet market bag pattern (at the bottom of the page), or use the empty chart below to create filet crochet patterns of your very own.

Make Your Own Chart

Print this empty chart and fill it in yourself to create your own filet chart.

Make your own chart
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