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How to Stop Crochet From Getting Smaller

If you are having crochet problems, you're not alone! Learn how to fix uneven crochet edges with this guide!

By: Emma Fiander, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com
Updated February 10, 2020
How to Stop Crochet From Getting Smaller

Why is my crochet getting smaller?

We've all been there: you're going along, crocheting to your heart's content, getting really in your groove, when suddenly you realize your crochet blanket (or scarf, dishcloth, sweater pattern, or whatever project you're working on) isn't even.

It seems like it's been slowly getting smaller. In fact, when you stop to check for sure, you realize that it is getting smaller.

That's where this page comes in handy! This guide goes over How to Stop Crochet From Getting Smaller.

It can be really frustrating to spend hours of your time on a project, only to realize that it isn't turning out the way you envisioned.

If this a problem you find that you keep running into over and over, keep reading for this page full of tips on helping you solve one of the most common beginner crochet mistakes.

Image shows a skein of brown yarn and a crocheted circle.

Why Your Crochet Is Getting Smaller

To figure out how to prevent this from happening in the future, first, we need to look at the reasons why your crochet project is shrinking (or growing, or just generally turning out uneven).

1. The number of stitches in each row is different:

This is the most common reason why your project seems to take on a life of its own. For every stitch you miss in a row, your crochet gradually gets smaller. Likewise, if you accidentally add a stitch every now and then, your project will start to grow.

While one missed stitch might not seem like a big deal, as Amy Solovay from The Spruce points out, when you lose a stitch, those start to grow on each other every time you lose another one until all of a sudden you have a narrow blanket — and narrow blankets are not ideal for cuddling.

Image shows a single crocheted swatch of green yarn.

2. You aren’t starting or ending the row in the right place:

This is an extension of the first problem. You THINK your numbers are right, but you're actually getting tripped up on the turning chain, according to Ashley Little from Bluprint.

3. Your tension is off:

With this one, the problem isn't so much that your project seems to disappear, but rather that there are some places where your stitches are bigger and looser and some places where they look a lot tighter. This is usually an indication that your tension needs some work.

Learn more about tension by reading two of our guides:

  1. What is Gauge in Crochet?
  2. How Tight Should Crochet Stitches Be?

Image shows a swatch of white and blue yarn showing the harlequin stitch.

How to Stop Crochet from Getting Smaller

Now that you know what your problem is, you can work on a solution.

1. Count your stitches:

This is a big one. This is the easiest, simplest thing you can do, and it will make a huge difference. It's a little tedious, sure, but it can save you a major headache later, preventing you from having to undo hours of work.

It's important to do this for each row, Solovay warns, because if you realize too late what's going on, there's not much you can do about it besides tearing it out and starting again.

2. Know when to stitch into the turning chain:

This concept can be a bit confusing because the rules vary on which type of stitch you're doing. A basic rule of thumb is that with single crochet, you don't do it. You should work the first stitch of a row into the last stitch of the row before it, Little says. As for double crochet (and most other stitches), the turning chain counts as a stitch.

3. Be consistent:

Consistency — in your stitch size, in your tension, in everything — is key, Tonya Grant from The Crafty Mummy advises. If you do the same thing for every stitch you make — even if it’s technically wrong — your crochet project will turn out just fine.

4. Count your stitches:

Reiterating the importance of this one. Always count your stitches.

Read our guides to master these beginner crochet skills!

  1. How to Count Crochet Stitches
  2. How to Count Crochet Rows

Image shows a swatch of yellow yarn and hands with one holding a crochet hook to show counting stitches.

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Ultimate Beginner's Crochet Guide >>

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so very glad to know I'm not an idiot lol tryin hard to learn to make a blanket the same size from start tyo finish

Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in this. Am now remaking a shrug for the fifth time. Yep, 5 times!

Ha ha. This is not just for beginners. I have been crocheting for years and notice that I still have the tendency to tighten up my stitches as my work progresses. I am looking forward to seeing how these tips help me keep my tension at an even kilter throughout my work. I need to repeat a mantra and do light meditation while crocheting to help maybe?

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