When I shared my "Shiver Me Timbers" filet crochet piece, I promised I would tell you how I work filet crochet from cross-stitch charts - today's the day! And if you haven't done any filet crochet before, I highly recommend you do an easy, quick project first such as the bookmark I give instructions for here.
First you need to find an interesting design/pattern that doesn't rely on more than color to let the pattern be seen. So if you find a wonderful Christmas tree cross-stitch pattern with lots of ornaments on the tree, garland, etc. .... that won't work. There would not be a way to visually separate the decorations from the tree. Cross-stitch done in one color of thread will almost always work - but don't discount multi-colored designs just because they are multi-colored. They'll still work as long as you can imagine it being done in one color of thread and still be able to see the pattern. One way to check is to copy the image of the pattern, put it into a word processing document, and print it out in black and white. If the pattern still looks good, it'll work! I'm beginning on a new table doily, so I'll walk you through how I started it out.
First I found my pattern. There's this wonderful blog where people around the world sent in images and charts for biscornu they made. Uh huh - what the heck is a biscornu, you ask? I asked the same thing and learned something new! They are cross-stitched pin cushions that are made in a certain way - usually with a button in the middle. If you're intrigued by these and want to learn more, Mary Corbet talks about them here. The pattern I like was for a Norwegian themed biscornu designed by Alexander Sviridov. You can see it here.
After I found the pattern, I copied the image for the chart and pasted it into a PowerPoint document I use as an idea book. I enlarged it so I could see the individual squares and then printed it out.
Working on the printout, I then colored in the first row I wanted in my doily. I always like to have a row of solid squares running around the piece acting as a sort of frame. Next I counted how many squares I'd be working with - in this pattern it is 81.
To find out the number of chains I needed to make for my foundation I counted 3 each for the first and last squares. That's 6 so far. Then I multiplied the remaining squares times 2 ... 79 x 2 = 158. Added to the previous 6 that makes 164. Now I add 2 more for the beginning chain (for when you do your first double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook). And came up with a total of 166. I made a 166 chain foundation chain. The first row has all solid squares, so I double crocheted in the 4th chain from the hook and in each chain across for a total of 164 stitches.
The second row has all empty squares except for the first and last ones. I chained three and turned (counted as my first double crochet) and double crocheted in the next two stitches. Then all the way across I did chain 1, skip one, double crochet. When I reached the last square, I filled it in by double crocheting in each of the last two stitches.
Now I'm just continuing to add rows by following the pattern on the chart. For each solid square I fill it in with double crochet and for each empty square I leave it empty by chaining one and skipping the next stitch. I find it helps me keep track of where I am if I put a small check mark next to each row that I complete. And remember to chain three at the start of each row!
I'll show you what the finished piece looks like when I'm done - this often takes me a long time to finish large filet pieces, though, as I get tired of working on them and start other projects so it will most likely not be soon!
Happy Creating! Deborah