You are crocheting along, row after row, the afghan bunched on your lap. You finally open up the afghan to look at your work only to notice it’s gotten narrower. This happens to beginner and experienced crocheters alike. It is not an uncommon occurrence. Don’t panic. There are a few things you can do.
There are a few reasons your crochet piece might narrow as you stitch. It could be that your tension has changed. Maybe your tension has tightening up. It’s natural that when you are relaxed that your stitches are looser and when you are tense and sad, your tension tighten up. Or maybe when you picked up the afghan again to work on it, you inadvertently changed hook size, thus, changing your gauge.
Another cause can be that you’re missing a stitch at the beginning or end of the row. It is easy to skip the last stitch (the turning chain) of the row which would result in decreased stitches and thus the piece narrowing. This is common to do, but easy to fix by counting your stitches each row or every few rows to make sure you have the number of stitches you are supposed to have. This way you can make adjustments by adding or subtracting stitches along the way or rip back to correct.
In some cases, you might be able to block the afghan out even. If there are only a few stitches missing causing minor narrowing, then blocking is a great option. If your afghan is made using 100% acrylic yarns, you would want to steam block the afghan rather than wet block as you would if you are using a yarn containing animal fiber. However, if the narrowing is significant, more than a few stitches and you don’t want to rip back, you can be creative and cover up the irregularities with a lace edging or a wide border. Try a free-form crochet technique and be completely unconventional and unique.