So you’re crocheting a blanket and partway through, you notice something’s not right. Perhaps it’s a little slanted, or crooked. Maybe it looks like a really tall trapezoid, or it’s shaped more like a pyramid than a rectangle. Or perhaps your granny square blanket is coming out warped. The most frustrating part of all this is not understanding why this happens.
Crochet blankets can come out slanted, crooked, or warped for a number of reasons. You may have accidentally missed making or added extra stitches into the beginning or the end of a row. Your tension could have changed due to your position, a change in the hook you were using, or a change in yarn color. The foundation chain may be too tight, or too loose. Some projects just start off curled due to the nature of the stitches used, and eventually end up straightening themselves out. Granny square blankets specifically may warp if you used the wrong number of chain stitches, depending on your hook and yarn sizes. The fix for your blanket will depend on exactly why your work turned out wonky.
Let’s start with the problems that are the easiest to rule out:
You’re Adding Extra Stitches or Missing Stitches
Count how many stitches you made in your last row. Is it the same number of stitches you started out with? And does it match with what the pattern calls for?
If not, you may have accidentally added extra stitches or missed a few stitches. This is most likely to happen in the beginning or at the end of rows, and usually due to confusion around the turning chain.
Some patterns have you count the turning chain as a stitch, while others don’t.
If the turning chain counts as a stitch, you’re not supposed to work into the base of it. If you do, you’ll have made an increase, which is when two stitches are worked into just one stitch of the previous row. If you continue this, with every row you’d be adding more and more stitches, causing your blanket to flare out.
On subsequent rows, you’re also supposed to work into the top of the chaining stitch of the previous row, just like you worked into all the other stitches of the previous row. If you didn’t, you’d be losing a stitch, and every single row after that, you’d lose a stitch, too, and your blanket would start to get narrower.
If you’re working an extra stitch into one side of the blanket and losing a stitch on the other side, your blanket may end up slanting, and looking more like a parallelogram.
If your turning chain doesn’t count as a stitch, you’re supposed to work into the base of the turning chain. Otherwise, you’ll lose a stitch and your blanket will narrow.
On top of that, if the turning chain doesn’t count as a stitch, and you work into the top of it on subsequent rows, you’ll be introducing extra stitches, causing your blanket to widen.
Counting your stitches at the end of your rows is tedious, but is the best way to avoid these mistakes from happening. Even the most experienced crocheters can get distracted sometimes and work in an extra stitch or miss a stitch.
A compromise is to count your stitches every few rows to make sure you’re still on track. That way, you won’t have to count every single row. And if you do discover that you made an error somewhere, you don’t have to undo or frog too much of your work.
As a beginner, it can be really confusing figuring out this whole turning chain business. Here are two more in depth guides for figuring out exactly where your stitch count got messed up:
If you ended up with more stitches than you’re supposed to have: Why Your Crochet is Getting Wider (And How to Fix It).
If you ended up with fewer stitches than what you’re supposed to have: Why Your Crochet is Getting Shorter (And How to Fix It).
You Switched Hooks
Crochet hooks impact your tension and gauge. Gauge is a measure of how many stitches per inch you make in that particular yarn, and with that particular hook. It’s different for everyone, because everyone has their own way of holding the yarn and the hook, and their own way of making each stitch.
If you accidentally switched to a smaller hook, your work would get smaller, and your blanket would narrow, This would cause it to look like a trapezoid or pyramid. If you accidentally increased hook sizes, your work would widen, causing your blanket to flare out.
Your gauge can even change if you switch hooks but keep the same hook and yarn size. It may sound strange at first, but the material and shape of the hook can affect how you crochet. For example, you may hold a cold, basic aluminum hook very tightly. But your hands may be more relaxed working with an ergonomic hook made with soft, large silicone grips.
This is why it can be a good idea to keep a crochet journal to take note of the projects you’re working on, and which hook you used for it.
You Switched Yarns At Some Point
Did your blanket involve a color change? Even yarn of the same brand but a different color can be slightly thicker or smaller. This can be the case even if the yarn weight on the label is the same.
This happened to me when I was making my very first blanket. I used acrylic medium weight yarn from the same brand. But the aqua colored yarn was slightly thinner.
One way to prevent this from happening is to measure the wraps per inch, or WPI, of the yarns you plan to use before you start the project. To do this, wrap it gently around a ruler, and nudge the strands so that they’re next to each other so that there aren’t gaps in between. Then, count how many times it wraps around in one inch.
Try not to wrap it too tightly, because this may stretch the yarn and cause it to appear thinner.
If the WPI of your yarns turns out different from each other, then this can deform the shape of your blanket. Your best bet would be to make gauge swatches with the yarn, varying the hook you use until you can accomplish the same gauge across all the yarns.
Keep the gauge swatches until your blanket is finished in case you need more of that yarn – you can always frog them and use the yarn if you come close to running out of that yarn color.
Your Foundation Chain is Too Tight or Loose
If your foundation chain is too tight, it can cause your blanket to curl into a rainbow shape.
Depending on how tight your foundation chain is, sometimes this becomes less noticeable as you continue to make more rows. But if your foundation chain is extremely tight, then the only solution may be to restart your blanket.
I always crochet tightly, so my foundation chains are always too tight. To combat this, I go up a hook size or two when making the foundation chain. I just have to remember to switch back to the proper hook when I’m done.
If your foundation chain is too loose, it can cause your blanket to curl into a “u” shape or into a smile. Depending on how loose it is, you may be able to get away with blocking after the blanket is done. But if you can’t afford the risk of finishing the blanket and not being able to block it back into the intended shape, then your best bet may be to restart the project and tighten your tension when redoing the foundation.
Another way to circumvent this problem altogether is to start your blanket with a foundationless first row. These are stitches that replace your foundation chain.
Depending on what stitch your blanket is made in, you can start with a foundationless single crochet, foundationless double crochet, or foundationless treble crochet. Here’s a handy tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPcotNpV_4M
Your Tension Changed Partway Through
If you’re using the same yarn and hook throughout, but your blanket still turned out warped, your tension may have changed.
You may crochet more tightly or more loosely due to:
- Cramped hands
- Fatigued arms
- Pain or other discomfort
- Fatigue or sleepiness
- Changes in focus
- Inadequate lighting
- Posture or comfort levels
I’ve found that if I’m learning a new stitch or intently focused on figuring out a new pattern, I’ll tend to focus harder and my tension tightens up significantly.
If I’m watching a scary movie while crocheting, that minor amount of stress will also cause me to hold my crochet crochet more tightly and increase my tension.
I also tend to crochet more tightly if it’s too dark, like if I’m riding in a car at night. I think because I can’t see the stitches as well, I pull my stitches tighter to make sure everything is as it should be.
It’s a good idea to check your posture periodically when you’re crocheting. You may get too focused and hunch over, causing your hands to shrink closer together, which may throw off your tension.
Try to find a comfortable chair and lighting setup. If you aren’t relaxed and comfortable, it can show through in your work.
Some Projects Just Start Off Curled
In some instances, the type of stitch used can cause a project to start off rather curled. As you add more rows, the issue sorts itself out and the project unfurls. If you haven’t identified any other possible cause, and you’re sure that you had appropriate tension when you made the foundation chain, then you might want to continue crocheting and see if it gets any better.
It Might Be a Bad Pattern
Sometimes, bad patterns get published.
Generally, good crochet designers have their patterns tested by a number of other crocheters, and pay to have their pattern tech edited on top of that.
But some yarn companies or designers don’t go to these lengths to ensure quality patterns, so a pattern may be released without proper testing or editing.
To protect yourself against this, look for patterns that other people have tried, that have been rated well on Etsy or Ravelry. Does the pattern description mention that it was tested and tech edited? Are there any photos of finished objects made from the pattern?
Granny Square Issues
If your blanket isn’t a granny square, feel free to skip over this section to General Fixes.
If your Granny Square blanket looks a little warped, there are a few things you can try. These apply to both a blanket made out of one giant granny square, or blankets made of individual granny squares.
Adjust the Number of Chain Stitches Between the DC Groups
There are many different ways to make a granny square. One of the most traditional ways is to (3dc in chain space, ch1) and repeat until corner. And then at the corner, do (3dc, ch2, 3dc.)
This particular method calls for 1 chain stitch between the groups of 3 double crochet stitches. But other patterns call for 2 chains, and some people even do NO chains at all, except for in the corners.
While this can work sometimes, it depends on the yarn you’re using, the hook size, and your tension, which all affect the size and shape of the stitches.
The right number of chains between groups depends on the height of your stitches. Since this varies from person to person, try experimenting with different numbers of chain stitches.
If your stitches aren’t very tall, but you are chaining 1 or 2 between the dc groups, then these chains lead to the rows/rounds being too wide. In other words, you have too much material in the blanket, which causes the square to twist and wrinkle.
Reducing or eliminating the chains can yield a flat, neat blanket.
Generally 2 chains between the dc groups is too much, unless your stitches are coming out very tall.
Try starting a new square and eliminating the chain stitches between DC groups, to see if that solves your problem.
Don’t eliminate the chain stitches in the corners, though – you can alter these, and we’ll cover that next, but for now, only change one thing at once. That way you wont risk the two changes working together to give you more problems, leaving you still stuck with a misshapen blanket.
Change How Many Chains Go in the Corner
There are many different variations of the granny square pattern. The number of chain stitches to be placed in the corner of a granny square can range from 1-3 chain stitches.
What works best will depend on the yarn you’re using and your tension. Just like the number of chain stitches between your 3 double crochet groupings can cause the blanket to become warped, too few chain stitches on the corners will cause your square to tighten and look more rounded. Too many chain stitches in the corners can cause your blanket to appear ruffled or wavy throughout.
If your tension is too loose, you may want to do just one chain.
Turn Your Work Between Each Row
Because crochet stitches naturally learn to the left, if you keep working in the round without ever turning, your work may start twisting counter-clockwise. This is because every row leans to the left, and the effect stacks on top of each other.
If you turn your work after each row, the lean will cancel out, because you’ll start alternating the leans. One row will lean left, the next will learn right, and so on.
Note that this can change the appearance slightly, because stitches don’t always look the same from their wrong side and from their right side.
Here’s another set of before and after pictures, where a twisted granny square blanket was fixed by turning after each row.
Start and End in the Same Corner
Some crocheters have had luck preventing skewing of their granny square by starting and ending their granny square in the same corner.
Make Sure You Have the Right Number of Stitches
This one can be easy to overlook, but if you were tired or distracted while working, you may have missed some dcs or added a few extra.
General Fixes for Wonky Blankets
There are generally three solutions you can try.
You can try to block your blanket when it’s finished.
The exact methods would depend on the material, but generally, blocking involves wetting the project, arranging the blanket as you’d like it to appear, then pinning it down onto a blocking board or foam board and allowing it to dry.
Some people choose to pin the blanket first, then wet it before waiting for it to dry.
Some methods of blocking involve the use of steam, but this can impact your blanket in a variety of ways depending on the material you made it with.
Heat can make wool felt, and heat can melt acrylic. Never apply your iron directly to your blanket. You can either steam it from a distance of a few inches, or put something thick between the hot iron and your work to protect it.
Consider Adding a Border
Sometimes, the right border can hide minor mistakes in a blanket and “stretch” it into a good shape. I wouldn’t recommend this for blankets with errors that are very noticeable (such as a blanket missing a large number of stitches.)
For blankets that are curling in on one side, a border can help tame the curl by flattening the blanket out.
You can experiment with different borders, and see what happens. If things still don’t look right to you, you can always pull out the border and try something else.
The most dreaded solution, of course, is frogging your work and redoing it.
This one is particularly painful, but sometimes, it’s the best way option, especially if your stitch counts are off by a lot.
I generally find that if I’ve made a big mistake and I have to frog a large amount, taking some time away from the project makes it less painful. So I’ll shelve the project for some time, and a few months later, undoing all those hours of work doesn’t seem so bad. Since so much time has passed, I’m usually not as upset about the mistake I made.