Filet Knitting

or how to knit a "Picture Afghan"

Something I enjoyed in crochet - and which frustrated me with knitting was the ability in crochet to easily create filet mesh "pictures". done in a heavier yarn they make nice afghans. Or filet mesh geometric patterns made complex looking but mindless-to-work patterns.

Which was a reason I purchased 'A Gathering of Lace'. In that book there is a technique for filet knitting - they use it in the round to work a graphed picture of a unicorn.

To use the technique in back and forth knitting (such as for a blanket or afghan or laprobe or wall hanging or door screen or window shade) is a little more complicated - but I worked it out last year to knit a dragon stole for my niece's Mother-in-law.

The technique uses 2 stiches x 3 rows for each square in a graphed pattern. The meshes are either "filled" or "empty". You're aiming for a stockinette fabric - so in addition to the 2 stitches per square you also want to allow for some edge stitches to prevent curling and you also have to add 1 stitch per row to make things balance out. or subtract one edge stitch.

(each square worked "loans" a stitch to an adjacent square to complete it)

But since it takes 3 rows of knitting to work a row of graphed squares, you are working every other row of squares in opposing directions. (confused yet? believe me - I was!) So odd rows are worked one way and even rows another...sorta

Assuming you are starting your work at the bottom right corner of a graph, working right to left across the first row:

Row ONE-A:
an Empty mesh is worked: YO, k2tog
a filled mesh is worked k2

Row ONE-B (you are now *READING* left to right = still on the first row of the graph)

an empty mesh is worked p1, slip YO purlwise, YO [the two yo's should end up as parallel threads across the needle}
a filled mesh is worked p2

Row ONE-C:
knit across


this is a "wrong side" or Purl row. Read row two of the graph from left to right.

An empty mesh is p2tog, YO
a filled mesh is p2

Row TWO-B: reading row two of the graph from right to left
an empty mesh: with yarn in front slip the YO purlwise, k1
a filled mesh: k2

Row TWO-C : purl across

simple, yes?

I'd use a 6mm needle with a sport weight or 9 mm needle with a worsted weight for an afghan. It works up quickly and opens up a lot, so your chooice of needle sizes might be smaller for the same weight yarn. (I actually worked the dragon stole in lace-weight on 6 mm needles)


Tallguy's picture

Umm ---- why don't you just knit it in the round, as written, and then cut the tube at the beginning mark (make a steek) and there you are! That would be the simplest way to go. If you want a border, they CAN be knit on afterwards -- really, they can!

Or then again, sometimes it's fun to just figure these things out in another way. Right?

MMario's picture

oh, sure, come up with a sensible alternative...

Does "I never thought of that" work as an excuse? Of course - when I was knitting the stole I'd never heard of steeks so that is another possible excuse.

I'm also not sure about steeking, for example, lace weight yarn knit on a 6mm needle. Would it work without looking fugly?

MMario - I don't live in the 21st Century - but I play a character who does.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

grandcarriage's picture

I wouldn't be so sure about steaking lace weight. I suppose you could knot the edges..It could be done, but ugh! The thought makes me cringe.


Anonymous graffito: My mother made me a homosexual. (and the reply) If I bought her the yarn, would she make me one, too?