When Your Filet Crochet “Squares” Look “Rectangular”

By Molly Ferriter – 5 Comments
Do you love the intricate look of filet crochet but can’t get your spaces to come out right? Do your “squares” look like “rectangles”? This is a common problem that can happen to any crocheter, but is easy to fix. Grab your crochet hook and your favorite thread and let’s get busy! In this tutorial I’ll give you a few pointers to get those squares looking square. squares rectangles

After understanding the basics in filet crochet, many crocheters run into the same problem. After completing a few rows or a section or even an entire piece, they realize that their filet open and closed spaces (also called “squares”, “mesh”, “blocks” and others) have more of a rectangle shape. What do we do to fix this?

Wash & Block
First of all, we need to understand that a good washing and blocking may stretch those squares out to look more… square. All items made in crochet thread must be blocked or ironed to get the full effect of the work. Don’t frog your work until you’ve tried this first.

Change your Stitch
After your filet crochet piece has dried out fully, check the squares. If you find that your blocks still resemble rectangles you can adjust the stitches that you are using.

  1. Use the “3-double crochet square”. You might be surprised to find that there are two techniques to make your open and closed spaces. In the first technique, a closed space is made with three double crochets, one for the “wall” of the space and two to fill. The open space is made with a double crochet for the “wall” and two chain spaces. However, there is a second technique to make the open and closed spaces and many people utilize this technique. In this second technique, the open space is created with a double crochet and three chain spaces and the closed space is made with four double crochets. If you are using the second technique and your squares look rectangular, you need to switch to the first technique.
  2. Another way to fix the “rectangular problem” is to use the extended double crochet throughout the filet crochet piece instead of a regular double crochet. In other words, every time you are supposed to double crochet, go ahead and use the extended double crochet.

    Extended Double Crochet (edc): yarn over, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (you now have 3 loops on hook), yarn over and draw through one loop, then proceed like a normal double crochet- yarn over and draw through two loops- twice.

  3. If you have tried the suggestions described above and still have rectangles, you may need to switch to a treble crochet. Wherever a double crochet is needed, go ahead and do triple crochets. And yes, you can call it a triple or treble crochet, which ever you prefer.

An additional tip is to adjust your tension. I’ve found, however, that it can be very difficult to change your tension when you have already been crocheting for a while. To me, it feels like trying to change how I walk. Very difficult- I’m set in my ways.

Let me know if you have any additional tips! Put any questions or comments below- I love reading comments and answering questions! So, type away!

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  1. Varsha says:

    Can I change the tension by using a thicker / thinner crochet hook? I suppose it should help.

    • Yes, that would change the tension, but may not always “fix” the problem of elongated squares, might just increase or decrease the size of your rectangle, versus increasing its height.

  2. Mimi S says:

    On my first filet project I ran into this very problem so my solution was to do double crochets in place of the trebles that were called for in the pattern instructions. Bingo! Problem solved. And I must admit that I, too, love doilies. They remind me of my childhood & my mom, aunts & grandma who did such beautiful threadwork. Making them makes me feel close to them as they have all passed on. Never thought I could do such work with thin threads & tiny hooks till I just jumped in &the took the plunge. It is my favorite crochet work.

    • Wonderful, Mimi! I, too, feel a connection to generations that have passes when I make my doilies. I cannot describe the feeling when a beautiful new doily is finished!

  3. Laura says:

    If you need to switch to extended double crochet, or to triple crochet, how does that affect the number of chain stitches you start with at each turn?

    I am about to do swatches with DC, EDC, and TC. Please advise. Thank you!

    I’m excited to be doing this. I’d done some filet crochet decades ago. My great-grandmother did beautiful work. I want to make some pieces as family gifts.

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