INVESTIGATIONS – FILET KNITTING AND CROCHET

Done with the reposts! I hope. Here’s something from String, first appearing on 27 June 2004.

INVESTIGATIONS – FILET KNITTING AND CROCHET

More investigations on filet knitting and filet crochet have convinced me that while filet knitting will be worth doing, provided I use very fine threads and 4/0 (1.25mm) needles or smaller, it’s not going to work out for my dragon panel.

I’m having gauge problems working my design into the desired dimensions, even if I eke out the too-narrow dragon motif band with additional borders top and bottom. For the record, my design is something like 43 units tall by 135 units wide. I’ve got a space to fill that’s 19 inches tall by 30 inches wide (although I can go over a bit on this). That means for the width, I’ve got to hit something like 4.5 rows per inch. Now in filet crochet, looking at a series of filet patterns with gauges found at the Stargazer site, I’m seeing gauges the smallest gauge I see (size 30 crochet cotton) is something like 10 rows = 2.3 inches. That’s about 5 rows = 1.15 inches. My 135 rows at this smallest gauge would be something like 31 inches wide. By contrast, the smallest I’ve been able to do so far in knitting is 3 squares = 1 inch (that’s about 14 or so knitting stitches per inch). At 3 squares per inch, my 135 units turns out to be 45 inches wide. I suppose I could hunt down longer size 5/0 or 6/0 needles (or make them) and finer threads, but I’m not inclined to do that right now. Interim verdict: Filet knitting is certainly worth further experimentation, but it’s not suitable for this project.

I think I’ll have to fall back on filet crochet to do my door curtain. I think I’ll take it and my Crazy Raglan with me as my official vacation projects.

Crochet Dragon Panel Pre-Project Calculations

Using these theoretical base calculation points for two thread sizes, I posit these rough dimensions and yarn consumption factors:

  • Base for Size 20 cotton – 10 squares x 10 rows = 2.2″ x 2.4″; a piece that’s 100×50 squares or 21.3 inches x 12 inches will take 519 yards, using old US size 9 steel crochet hook.
  • Base for Size 30 cotton – 10 squares x 10 rows = 2.1″ x 2.3″; a piece that’s 100×50 squares or 20.4 inches x 11.5 inches will take 485 yards using old US size 11 steel crochet hook.

Doing the math for Size 20 cotton (and working across the height instead of across the width to preserve sanity), that means my piece of 43 x 138 squares would be 9.16 inches x 33.12. Since my piece is 5934 squares total (138*43), and the original was 5000 squares, mine is roughly 19% bigger. I’ll round up to 20%, and I come up with a new yardage consumption estimate of 519 *1.2 or roughly 623 yards. I’ll add 10% to that for a fudge factor and round up – 686 yards. Repeating the operation for Size 30 cotton, I get an estimated finished dimension of 8.8 inches x 31.74 inches, and an estimated yarn consumption forecast of 641 yards. Remember that these yardage estimates are for the base dragon strip alone. I need to make it taller because the window space I need to cover is taller. With height estimates of 9.16 and 8.8 inches respectively I’ll need to either find or design complementing border strips that roughly double the project’s height. That means I need to double my yardage estimates – 1372 yards or 1282 yards for size 20 and 30 cotton, respectively. These estimates are VERY rough at best, but with luck should be good enough to get me started.

Now on to crochet hook sizes. The circa 1919 instructions on which I’ve based these calculations specify size 9 and 11 steel crochet hooks for sizes 20 and 30 cotton. According to various authorities (very few of whom agree), an 11 can be as large as 1.1mm, and as small as .75mm; a 9 can be as large as 1.4mm or as small as 1.25mm. My modern Susan Bates set goes from 0 to 10 (2.55 to 1.15mm). I’ll have to play and see what I can achieve using those sizes.

I haven’t decided which size thread or hook to use yet. Much will depend on what I can find locally, and on what size hook I can dig up without staging a raid on the storage cubby where all my tools and goodies are stashed.

So apologies. This knitting blog is going to take a side trip into crochet. But since I’ll be doing it during a forced blogging hiatus, I’ll only bore you with a couple large gobs of progress rather than by reporting in inch by inch.

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