Thanks to everyone for their outpouring of support!? I’ll take you who wrote at your words, and continue posting about the dragon.

A couple of people asked how filet crochet differs from other forms of crochet. "Filet" in this case means net. It’s meant to emulate darned net lace. Filet crochet typically uses only a couple of the various crochet stitches – chain and double crochet?(yes, there are exceptions to this,?notably when working a pattern with shaped as opposed to rectangular edges). It marches along row by row, not unlike an old-fashioned line printer, or a the way a stranded pattern builds in colorwork knitting. Other forms of crochet are less "row bound," often incorporate many different length stitches (singles, doubles, trebles, etc.), or grow in more than two dimensions (the heavily embossed Irish crochet styles spring to mind.)? In terms of technical skill in forming stitches, it’s very easy compared to many other forms of crochet, and produces tremendous effect for the level of effort invested. Following the chart is the only hard part. I’ve already described my mantra to help me keep count.

One minor complication?- there are usually no detailed instructions given for filet crochet designs. Patterns at most offer instructions on how to do a filled mesh and an open mesh, give a chart and (if you’re lucky) tell you how many stitches to cast on. Since most (but not all) filet patterns are for home decorative items rather than clothing, it’s unusual for gauge to matter much beyond dictating the final overall size of the piece. Some patterns omit gauge entirely.Others give a range of gauges and final dimensions based on thread and hook size. Vintage patterns can be especially difficult to interpret as both the hook and thread sizes they cite may or may not correspond to modern sizes.

Which brings me to another oddity. For all the complaining we knitters do about lack of standardization in needle sizes, pattern format and yarn descriptors, crocheters face considerably more variation in both their materials and their written directions. There are a few contemporary standards. Size 30 cotton is more or less the same maker to maker, but not always so. Yardage for a given weight does vary enough to make it important enough to buy by crochet threads by yardage and not weight, just as one does for knitting yarn.

Hook sizes however are all over the map. I try to go by metric measurement rather than letter or number size, but I’ve found that even then – and especially in the smaller sizes – there is considerable variation between brand names. For this project I got finer, tighter results and a smaller gauge with a Bates #10 1.15mm hook than I could acheive with a Boye #10 1.10mm hook. One side effect of this sizing problem is that dedicated crocheters collect and hoard hooks of as many different makers as they can find, even more than dedicated knitters squirrel away needles. There are quite a few charts available on line that compare hook sizes both historical and modern, and among makers. Here’s a good one at Norns.

The best on-line how-tos on filet crochet I found were at Hass,?SmartCrochet,?and StitchGuide. The lattermost has some Quicktime video clips illustrating some key points.

Which brings me to today’s report on progress. I’m not posting photos every day because compared to knitting (and allowing for time pressure), my production rate is so slow:

Don’t worry. the foreshortening on the right is an artifact of a sloping futon sofa seat and my inferior skills as a photographer. Still, you can see my corner stars and the repeat of the scrolling bit from the top/bottom border. I’m almost done with the right hand edge.I chose NOT to use the big flower underneath the dragon’s foot because it’s not quite centered in the top and bottom strips. Centering it in the side strips would call attention to that fact. If I don’t like the way it looks when this strip is done, I’ll rip it back and try again.

While I’m working on the left edge, I’ll be?thinking about the final frame. That will incorporate some "long meshes" to make double wide, possibly double high holes through which the thin curtain rod/stretchers will be threaded, top and bottom.

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