Baby Shawl Diaries 1 – Mathematical Musings

The centre of the shawl is worked in filet crochet using 4ply yarn and 3mm hook.

Charting
When charting filet crochet the design is drawn onto squared paper. Each square represents a filet block. Blocks can be open or filled in with treble crochet stitches.

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Anything inside the black lines is a treble crochet block.

Choosing The Block Size
There are 2 approaches to creating the blocks – the 3 stitch or 4 stitch method. Its important to decide which method you want to use before working out the length of your foundation chain – its not possible to work out the chain from the chart without some number crunching.

The 3 stitch approach, which I prefer for baby makes as it has smaller spaces and I think a nicer finish, has each open block made up of 1tr 1ch 1tr and each closed block as 3tr.
As you crochet you will discover that the final tr of block 1 is also the 1st tr of block 2 and if you are working 2 closed blocks the 1st block is 3tr but again the 3rd tr is also the 1st tr of the next block so you only need to work 5tr.

So working out the stitch count is not a simple multiple of 3, its a multiple of 2 with extra stitches added to account for turning chains and the 1st st of the row.

Likewise the 4st version will be a multiple of 3 plus additional stitches.

I chose a 3st block….

And made my first error – I got my numbers crossed, multiplied by 3 and ended up with far too many sts and holes. My first attempt at the centre panel was duly frogged and the maths reworked!

Framing
Because I have done quite a bit of filet I only chart the fiddly bits – pictures and letters – I tend to use rough notes or sketchy diagrams  for simple borders / frames The purple pencil in the diagram is the plan for this section.  If you are new to filet, chart everything!

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My Design
I wanted 1 open block at the start of each row plus 1 open row around the outside.
I then wanted a frame of 1 closed block, 3 open blocks, 1 closed block surrounding the lettering. The letters were arranged 4 open blocks in from the 2nd band of closed blocks.

Calculating the Starting Chain

Frame:  2 x sections of 10 blocks
Letters: 18 blocks 
Total: 38
38×2= 76ch

Additional Stitches
1 extra st to complete the row
4 turning chain for the first block – 3ch = 1tr +1ch = 5st

Final Count
So to get my stitch count:
38×2=76 +5 extra ch = 81ch

Half Completed
I started this yesterday evening:

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