Hooked on Needles

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Filet Crochet -- Pretty in Pink

Filet Crochet has always been one of my favorite decorative crochet methods. The origins of this method are unclear, but historians say they date back to the Pima Indians, early sailors, and Middle Eastern, Scottish and Scandinavian shepherds among others. I don't know much about any of that, but I am certain that Filet Crochet has provided me with many satisfactory hours of creative enjoyment.

Filet Crochet is easy to do because it only uses a few very basic crochet stitches. It is relatively inexpensive to do because it uses crochet cotton which can be purchased in balls of several hundred yards for a reasonable price at your favorite craft store or website. Or if the project is large like a bedspread or large curtain or tablecloth, it can be purchased more economically on cones of several thousand yards.

The project I am working on now is a simple dresser scarf for my younger daughter's dresser. I purchased an old handmade dresser at a yard sale, fixed it up a little with a coat of oil based primer and then several coats of shiny white paint. Some new knobs for the drawers and it was good as new and pretty as a picture. It was just begging for a girly pink crocheted dresser scarf!

I went through my patterns and rediscovered one that I had made many years ago as a matched set of two single designs for our night stands and one long dresser scarf for my husband's chest of drawers. I had planned to do an extra long dresser scarf for my triple dresser but never got around to it. Anyway, it's a pretty design with hearts in it which I found in the Number 29 issue of Annie's Crochet Newsletter from all the way back in 1987!

This is how you get started with this Filet Crochet pattern:

First you crochet a chain the length required for the project and then do a foundation row of double crochet stitches. For the second row, start off with a beginning block consisting of the chain three turning chain and then a double crochet in each of the next three stitches. This is how each row begins and you will see that this makes a nice border around the piece.

Filet Crochet is characterized by its open mesh blocks and filled blocks which make the picture. The second row in the picture above shows the beginning block which is filled, then a whole row of open mesh blocks which are made by simply working two chain stitches, skipping the next two stitches and working a double crochet into the next stitch. The row ends with a filled block of four double crochets.

The next row starts with the beginning block, then four open mesh blocks are worked, then a filled block which is the first part of the design that will be created with subsequent filled blocks in the next few rows.

This is the middle of the same row showing the first filled block for the little design that will be in the middle on each end of the piece.

This shows the piece with three complete rows. Notice how the beginning and end of each row is filled in with double crochet stitches and the main part of the piece so far is made up of open mesh blocks.

This is one of the night stand pieces I did so many years ago which is still used on the night stand today. The piece I am working on for my daughter's dresser will look just like this, only it will be pink and not so old and worn looking!

Isn't it pretty how the filled blocks make up a design that shows up so nicely against the wood furniture? Working in Filet Crochet is sort of like creating a picture with thread. I just love it.

This is the dresser scarf that my husband still uses. It has four repeats of the design. This pattern was worked from the short end so it could be made with any number of repeats depending on the size desired.

If you are interested in learning more about Filet Crochet and trying some beautiful designs for doilies, edgings, curtains, tablecloths, pillows, panels, nursery accessories and more, I can recommend The Filet Crochet Book by Chris Rankin. I refer to it often when working on projects and love just browsing through the book for inspiration. The informational and instructional sections of the book are very thorough and there are beautiful color pictures of every pattern and charts to go along with them.

I'll post pictures of my finished project once it has taken its proper place atop the shiny white dresser. I'm thinking it won't take me too long since I have a very excited girl waiting for the newest pink addition to her room!

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