Skull-A-Day 4.0 - Tutorial #2 - Filet Crochet Skull

As I mentioned in my Skull-A-Day post, this piece was a remembrance of a cloth that my -paternal grandmother made. It was a filet crochet piece that laid on the top of her dresser. I always wanted to touch it because the texture is magnificent, but I always got reprimanded for it. She passed away when I was 12, so my memories of her are limited, but even with that time limitation, my memories of her are all good. Ok, so before the tears of loss start flowing, it's time to move on to how to make this piece.

This is square, but I haven't blocked it, so I appologize for it looking wonky.

Filet Crochet is a series of open and closed squares. The open squares create the mesh and the closed squares create the design. Now, if you know how to crochet (even at an beginners level), it's not hard to do. Honestly it's made up of a series of chains(ch) and double crochets(dc). The outside ruffle bit is a shell stitch and really I fudged the placement of that because working along the sides of the piece can be tricky. I'm going to give you basic instructions for both the filet crochet and shell stitch. If you need guides that have images for making each stitch, I suggest googling the different stitches I used for those or purchasing a crochet book. My favorite and well loved book is Stitch and Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker" by Debbie Stoller. Which is also a hilarious title and amused me to leave laying on my desk with a project, when I worked at a call center.

Bear with me as you read this pattern. This is the 1st formal crochet pattern that I've written. I normally just write scribbles when making or altering a pattern...which is probably normal.

Stitches Used - you will need this to follow the written pattern. Abbreviations are just faster.
Chain = (CH)
Double Crochet = (DC)
Slip Stitch = (SS)
Shell = (shell)

Materials Needed
size 10 black crochet thread (I used Aunt Lydia's, but any brand will do)
Size 6/1.80mm hook (for the crochet)
Size 7/1.5mm hook (for feeding the tails of the crochet through the edges of the piece)
Small colorful paper clips or stitch counters...which ever you prefer to mark your stitch amounts

Pattern: You will be following the pattern below, but I'll clarify how to start and how to do the filet crochet...all is very easy and repetitive, so you should be fine making this piece.

1) CH 93 (since this part is long, I tend to lose count unless I slip a paper clip in every 10 or 20 chains. The amount depends on how smart I'm feeling that day.) Turn.

2) Skipping the 1st 2 CHs, make 1 DC in each chain till the end of the CHs. Turn. (91 stitches total)

3) CH 2. Make 1 DC in the top of each stitch of the previous row. Turn. (91 stitches total)

4) CH 2. Make 5 DC. Now for the mesh...*CH 1, skip 1 stitch, 1 DC in next stitch; rep from * until the last 4 stitches. 1 DC in each of the last 4 stitches. Turn. (91 stitches total)

5) Repeat Step 4 for the next row too. Your DC stitches will go into the tops of the DC stitches from the previous row. This will make the boxes into an even mesh. Turn.

6) So you've learned how to make open mesh boxes and you actually have learned how to make closed ones too, but you might not have realized that. The open ones are (1 DC, 1 CH, skip a stitch). The closed ones are all DC, so instead of a CH for the box, there would be a DC. Remember, you are making a square piece, so all the boxes need to be even on top of each other, regardless if they are open or closed ones.

The pattern below is the one I created and followed to make the piece in the photo above. The grey squares are closed boxes and the white ones are open get the idea. I made the pattern with numbers along the rows and columns, you don't have to follow the numbers the way they are. I actually made this from the bottom up because that made keeping track of the image easier. The numbers are really just to tell you how many rows and columns there are in this pattern/piece.

Click this pattern to larger and easier to read/follow.

The only special stitch I used was a shell stitch for the outside (see photo at top). To make the shell stitch, skip 2 stitches, make 7 DC in the next stitch (this is an increase and this many increases will make a fan/shell shape), skip 2 stitches, 1 SS in next stitch. Repeat until you have completed the perimeter of the piece. You might have to fudge this part because I didn't figure out the exact math for this stitch with the row amount, but it will still look great.

When you are at the end, SS in the last stitch. With a loop still on your hook, yarn over, pull the thread through the loop and make that piece long. You will cut it at the top of the long loop, pull the remaining thread (the one attached to the thread ball) back out of the piece. You will be left with a tail, pull it tight. You will now have two loose at the beginning of the piece and one at the end. Use the smaller hook (Size 7/1.5mm) to weave the tails through the edge of the piece...not the shell, as that is delicate and lacy, but through the DC edge you made. You can block the piece and frame it if desired. I have never done that, but there are lots of useful instructions available if you Google "blocking crochet" and "framing filet crochet".

To make remembering the amount of completely rows, I slip a paper clip at each end of every 5 rows. I just count by 5s to count the rows and it makes keeping track of the pattern much easier.

Other Options:
I'm a big fan of taking an existing project and making it my own. This is something I did for my 1st filet crochet project. I made a scarf using the image from a pattern for a repeat on the bottom of a curtain.
  • Scarf - You can use the same pattern as above, but when the pattern gets to the top where it has 2 rows of all closed squares, you can continue making open square mesh with the closed boxes along the edge. You could also exclude the close box edge too. For the other end of the scarf, you would make the skull again, but in when you wear it, the skulls will hang down correctly.
  • Change Materials - Instead of using crochet thread, use yarn or fabric, of what ever other fiber you can think of.
  • Super Size It - Increase the amount of rows and columns to make a wrap, blanket or what ever other thing you can think of. This can also be done by repeating the pattern vertically and horizontal, using larger hooks and thicker yarn.Bulleted List
  • Make it into Clothing - Use the basic design, but increase the size or repeat it to make a skirt, sweater, cardigan, or dress. Obviously this one would take some extra math and time to work out the size and construction design.

If you do decide to make this pattern, feel free to send me photos of your creations to . If you have a blog and post your inspired creations there, please link back to this post for design credit. All right, that is all I have for now, happy crafting!


  1. I did the pattern- it was super easy- even though it was my first time doing the filet crochet, and only my third time reading a pattern. :-P

    I posted it on my blog today:, I'm making a scarf with mine!

    Thanks again for the pattern- and inspiring me to try to make new patterns with other images!!

  2. It looks great! It is easy to do, because it's only 2 different stitches to make the pattern...but I sometimes get lost in my counting too.

  3. thanks! :) I must've pulled out redone that first chain 15 times because I kept losing count. :-P it was too hard to count the stitches with the thread, which I can usually do with yarn. :-P Thanks again for posting the pattern!

  4. If you put a paper clip (stitch counter) every 10 chains, then that helps with counting. I recommended that counting technique, because it's what I use for every crochet project that requires lots of chains and/or rows. It helps me keep track. I also put a paper clip at the end of every 2 or 5 rows. Which ever # you decide on, repeat that same amount for the whole project, so you can easily keep track of the row amount. This helps a lot with grid the filet crochet is. If I don't use these counting methods, I always have to pull out stitches, which is annoying and requires lots more work to be redone.

  5. This is amazing, I wish I had found it last week so I could make one for my mother in law's birthday!

  6. Thanks. I'm always late on presents, so be inspired, make it for her.

  7. Help, ok? I want to make this for my daughter in law but I clearlydon't get something. the grid shows 45 rows but the instructions say to chain 90 ish. what am I not getting? thanks.

    1. The grid is showing the filet crochet design. The instructions clearly explain how to create this design. Perhaps you're not familiar with what filet crochet is. It's a series of open and closed double crochet squares. To have an open square, there needs to be a chain stitch between two double crochet stitches. To have a closed square, it's three double crochet stitches. Each stitch of the grid has it's own stitch in the previous row. They do not share stitches. You need double the amount of chain stitches + turning stitches to start, so the grid can be properly made. Hope that helps.


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