When I first started learning I quickly discovered an increasingly decreasing problem. Certain things I tried to crochet would appear to get smaller in one direction or another.
Why is my crochet getting smaller is one of the top questions I get asked, and one I have personal experience of. In fact, I dare any expert crocheter to say that they haven’t dealt with a shrinking project or two in their early days.
Today I share the potential reasons why your crochet is getting smaller, to help you fix the problem or move on to a more successful crochet experience next time.
- Why is my crochet getting smaller?
- Reasons why your crochet blanket is shrinking
- Why is my crochet round smaller?
- Why are my stitches getting tighter?
- Are you using the right stitches?
- Hook issues
- Why is my crochet smaller after it’s complete?
FYI, you can make your crochet smaller on purpose through felting, but that’s a different story.
Why Is My Crochet Getting Smaller?
To work out why your crochet is getting smaller, we need to look at what you’ve been making. The reasons differ depending on the project you’re working on and stitches you are using. However, it will be on of the following issues:
- Dropping a stitch at the end of the row
- Missing a stitch in a row
- Decreasing too quickly in a round
- Increasing the tension
- Hook mistakes
- Washing at a high temperature
Let’s look at each of these in turn, and see which one applies to your increasingly decreasing crochet work.
Why Is My Crochet Blanket Getting Smaller?
The first time I ever crocheted a blanket I was so proud of myself. It was a simple thing with repeating rows, designed to be the right size for my daughter’s dolls. But after around twenty rows I realised it was turning into more of a flag shape than a blanket.
The end stitch of the row in crochet can be a little bit tricky when you are inexperienced. It doesn’t look as obvious as the other stitches, and it’s easy to miss. This means that each row can end up being a single stitch shorter than the row before it.
A dropped stitch at the end of the row is no big deal if you realise what you’ve done quickly. But if it goes on for a while you are either going to need to undo several rows of work, or just put it to one side and start again. If you are a fast crocheter sadly the downside of this is that you might get a lot further on before noticing mistakes.
Crochet Shrinking When Working In A Round
When you are crocheting a three dimensional object like a toy dog or teddy bear there are parts of the pattern where you will need to increase or decrease the size of the round. To decrease the round you crochet two stitches together in a repeating pattern. But sometimes you lose count of the normal crochet stitches in between and end up crocheting together too many times. This means that your round will shrink more rapidly than you wanted it to.
Decreasing Stitch Sizes
If the size of your individual stitches is becoming smaller and tighter, the most likely culprit is tension. This is how firmly you are holding your yarn in your other hand whilst you work. The tension in your yarn is directly related to the tightness of your stitches. If all else is correct, your crochet project is a victim of over tense yarn.
To test whether this is your problem, look at how hard it is to put your hook through the previous row. If it’s easy at the earlier stages and difficult with the recent stitches, your tension is probably at fault.
When crocheting a new pattern that involves a variety of stitches, you will sometimes realise a row looks smaller than it should. This is often due to a translation error or a simple mistake. So making a little stitch where you needed a larger one.
The most common reason this happens is confusing a double crochet uk with a double crochet USA. The American double crochet is known in British patterns as a treble crochet. Get them the wrong way around and your crochet can unexpectedly get smaller.
Accidentally Skipped Crochet Stitches
Missing a stitch in the row and stitching into the next crochet stitch along by mistake isn’t a common issue for larger projects, but is easily done when you are working into a very fine yarn. If your project has shrunk but you’re confident you’ve hit those end stitches okay, then run your finger along each side and count stitches. If the numbers aren’t the same, you’ve likely missed a stitch somewhere.
Swapping Hooks Mid Project
Picking up an identical looking but actually smaller hook isn’t something you will all have done. But it’s certainly happened to me. I’ve got two sets of hooks, both colored metal, that have different colors for different sizes. If I started with a 6mm hook and my stitches suddenly look smaller, I need to make sure I haven’t picked up my 5mm hook by mistake.
It doesn’t happen any more because I wind the hook I’m working with into the body of the crochet when I stop for a while. But definitely worth checking if you’ve got your own rather excessive hook collection!
Why Is My Crochet Getting Smaller After I’ve Finished?
If your crochet looks smaller after you’ve finished it, chances are you’ve given it a wash recently. Some crocheted items can’t be washed at all, others should be hand washed, and a few homemade crochet items will be okay on a gentle hand wash cycle in the washing machine.
Washing crochet yarn at too hot a temperature will result in your item shrinking and possibly fraying or even coming apart entirely. When you are crocheting something you’ll need to wash from time to time, check out your yarn’s packaging to make sure that’s going to work out for you,
More Of Your Crochet Questions Answered
- Do you get tired of crocheting?
- Is crochet really hard to do?
- What makes crochet take so long?
- Top reasons why your crochet stitches are too tight
- How to crochet faster than ever