A growing or shrinking blanket is a common crochet problem, particularly if the blanket is one of your first crocheted projects. This can be caused by a number of things, the most common causes are changes in tension or yarn, miscounting stitches or using the incorrect turning chain at the end of a row. This problem can be fixed and the earlier you notice the problem, the less severe it will be.
Double check to be sure you have used the same yarn for the entire blanket. Even though yarns are the same color, they may be different weights, and using different weights of yarn will greatly affect the width of any project, including a blanket. Always use the same yarn or the same brand and type of yarn for a blanket, and you won't have to worry about your blanket growing or shrinking due to changes in the yarn thickness.
Tension or gauge is the number of crocheted stitches per inch in a given project or swatch. If your gauge changes halfway through a crocheted baby blanket, then the size of the blanket will change as well. Avoid tension changes by using the same hook for the entire blanket and by crocheting at a consistent rate of speed. If you try to rush to get to the end of the blanket, your tension could tighten up, resulting in a baby blanket that is smaller at the end than it was in the beginning. Give yourself plenty of time to finish a blanket and you won't need to worry about tension changes caused by trying to rush.
Count the number of stitches at the top of your blanket. If this number is different from the number of stitches at the bottom of your blanket, then your stitch count is off -- you likely missed a stitch or two somewhere at the end of a row. If you can find the mistake, you can unravel the blanket to the spot where the error occurred, then re-crochet it with the right stitch count to fix the problem. This is a very common error for new crocheters and the "missing" stitches are almost always at the edges of the blanket.
Fixing the Blanket
There are several ways to fix the problem of a shrinking (or growing) crocheted blanket. Examine the blanket to see if one of the above problems is causing the issue. If you can identify what is wrong, you can fix the blanket by unraveling it to the point where the problem occurred, then crocheting it with the correct yarn, tension or stitch count.
If you can't identify the problem, or the problem occurred early enough in the blanket that unraveling it would undo days or weeks of work, then add a border to each side of the blanket to disguise the problem. Make the border narrower at the bottom, and add stitches as needed as you reach the top of the blanket to even it out. You can also add a scalloped border around the entire blanket, which will disguise the shifted size as well.
- "Crocheting for Dummies"; Karen Manthey; 2004
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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