The pattern shown below contains a bad word. I’ve tagged it PG-17. If it’s inappropriate for you, please click away.
[I eventually art bombed my UFO of this pattern. I didn’t have time to work on it while moving, and it was going to be almost the size of that Mission Accomplished banner of GW Bush’s. I don’t have an aircraft carrier, so…]
My first few attempts at filet crochet have been put on hold, or perhaps I can think of them as toe-dips. I’ve settled on one that I plan to finish, a simple word (not a nice one, some of them won’t be) on an open background. I’m mastering the tension, counting, following the patterns, basically getting the actual skill of filet in my bones. I’m not quite there yet.
The Priscilla books, specifically Anna Wuerfel Brown’s Kirchmaier adventure, have helped me get ramped up.
The current project will be smaller, estimated at 7.5″ x 21″ I’m not very good with estimating sizes and gauges, so having to conform in this way sort of annoys me, but I need to learn some new ways of thinking and working. It’s what a truly Modern Priscilla would do. I’ll get some pictures of my WIP as well as a few test pieces/false starts and upload them, too, before it’s all said and done.
I’m using a 10 crochet cotton and a 1.25 mm hook. The pattern is shown below in graph, stitching, and text instruction. The work is coming out almost exactly as expected, though I have been playing a bit with tension and some of it is almost 8″ wide.
Note that I’ve put the graph on its side mostly so you can see it. The actual stitching pattern is posted the way I’m working it, I guess you’d call that vertically.
A few notes about the pattern and what I’ve learned so far:
One of my big hindrances with filet has been the first and second rows. Most of our less Modern Priscillas do our patterns with a full row of doubles once you get your initial chains on. At least that’s what I did from having poked around. That does make sense – that long chain is just a wobbly thing, there’s no denying it.
However, the counting is a nightmare. The first piece I started to do was too large, base row of 309 stitches. But a lot of the patterns in the Priscilla books are that large and much larger. I also used the next size larger hook for that one, 1.5. It just came out enormous. I could still finish it, but probably won’t. I think there are better ways to address that particular concept.
So, even on a smaller piece, like the one I’m working on now, if you’ve made a mistake in counting — either the initial chain or on the turn — you can make a lot of very fiddly little stitches before you find out that you made a mistake in the first two rows. I once had trouble counting the turn on the very first row of doubles and came out with a love handle.
I also wasn’t secure in my tension, or what exactly it was supposed to look and feel like in terms of the stitches in relation to each other. In Wuerfel Brown’s book she says that if your squares look rectangular, the top of your double crochets is too loose. You really need to be aware of the tension of each stitch, and the different tension you need to employ to keep the two chains taking up the same amount of space as the two doubles.
You really need to treat the two stitches differently in terms of tension, I can’t stress that enough.
So I see a lot of the patterns in the Priscilla books just starting out with open mesh all around. That would make it a lot easier to connect edgings, corners, insertions, etc. So I decided live wild and free and just chart this out with all open meshes surrounding. It has worked out just great, no complaints. The first row was a lot easier too.
I need to change threads, haven’t figured out exactly how to go about that yet. I’ll look through the Priscilla books to see if they have any advice on it.
I also wasn’t entirely satisfied with my corners/edges, and have been fiddling about with that. Since I don’t have any doubles on the margins, I’m chaining 5 to turn each time. It didn’t seem very solid to me, attaching the double for the next row to the third chain of the turn below it. Long story short, what I started doing was get to the last stitch before the chain five. Turn the work. Take the crochet hook out, turn it, and re-insert it. Make my five chains. Now the way the stitches lay is easier for me when I’m attaching to the third chain. It seems to be more solid and consistent, though that may be psychological.
Anyway, enjoy the stitching!