Jump to: How to Measure  The Math of It  General Size Guidelines  How Many Squares Does It Take...
Afghan Sizing ©2012 Sandra Petit, http://www.crochetcabana.com
How big? What size? How many squares do I use to make an afghan?
These are all very good questions but with no definitive answer. What size to make a particular afghan depends on your answer to a few other questions. Here are some, and some possible answers.
1) What will you use the afghan for, or what is its primary purpose?
a) to lay over a bed as a bedspread b) to drape over the top of a sofa or love seat c) to tuck under a mattress like a sheet d) to wrap yourself in while watching TV e) as a light covering, or to keep warm on a snowy night
The last two would also affect what kind of yarn (material and thickness) that you would choose for this project.
2) What size is the person or object you want to cover?
A larger person will need a larger ghan obviously. If you’re covering a bed, you should also take into consideration whether you want it to just cover the top (as an extra blanket) or to “spill over” the sides, like a bedspread.
3) If you are making your afghan out of squares or rectangles, how big do you want to make them, and how do you plan to join and edge your individual pieces?
The finished size of your afghan will depend on how you join the pieces and which edging you use. Edgings can add several inches to the size of an afghan. If you are whipstitching, as opposed to using a joinasyougo assembly, that will change your finished size as well.
Of course, you don’t have to use squares or rectangles to make a bed covering. Another option would be to use long strips assembled together, or to make a one piece afghan.
I just recently (April 2015) ran across this excellent tool to help in figuring your foundation chain for an afghan. It is at the Crochet Crowd.
How to Measure
If you do decide to make your afghan out of squares or rectangles, it is important that they be the SAME size, since you will be joining them. A common question is how to measure them. There is a Crochet Cabana video tutorial on this subject which can help you figure it out: How to Measure Squares and Rectangles.
Squares are to be measured both horizontally and vertically. NOT diagonally. I suggest using a hard ruler rather than a flexible measuring tape.
CORRECT Measure horizontally  CORRECT
CORRECT  Measure vertically  CORRECT
WRONG  Measure diagonally  WRONG
Sometimes, if it is a charity effort where you are collecting squares from others, you will find some squares won’t all be the same size. If the squares are not the same size, you may have to adjust the edging you place on them or add a complementary or contrasting color to the square. Try to get them all within a quarter inch of each other to make it easiest to join them.
I always put an edging using same color yarn around all of my squares first so that the joining will not be so visible if I am whipstitching. Your edging can also be a part of the overall decorative effect if you use, for example, single crochet joining.
Usually, I use a single or double crochet edging around the entire afghan to bring all the sides of each square in line, adjusting where necessary along the ends if a square sticks out a bit and such, and then I do an additional, more decorative round to finish it off. As noted before, if you do this it will add a few inches to your completed piece. These are merely my personal suggestions, so feel free to change anything as you need or want to. I believe bigger is better so I am including more than one choice where necessary.
The Math of It
As I said before, there are several ways to go about making an afghan. Common options are to make one large piece, join a number of small squares or rectangles, or use long strips sewn together.
If you want to make your afghan in one piece, you would either find a pattern that is written for the size of your bed, or design your own pattern. Since there are so many different options in tools, materials, and patterns that could be used, the best suggestion I can make here is to work a chain as long as you want your bed covering to be and use that as your beginning. You could also use a chainless foundation if you don’t like to work with a long foundation chain.
If you are using squares, a good way to figure out how many you will need is to measure the area you want to cover, then decide what size squares you want to make.
For example, say you have an area 36 x 75 that you want to cover. You just want your afghan to sit on top of the thing, not necessarily drape over. You want to use 9" squares. Since 9 x 4 = 36, you could use 4 of the 9" squares across, and since 9 x 8 = 72, you could use 8 squares down, allowing that you will have the edgings for your squares. Your completed afghan, with dc edgings around each square, would be approx. 3840" ( a little more than you need but not much) across and about 7475" down, allowing you to drape over slightly at the sides. Keeping in mind, that if this is a bed, one assumes there is a pillow at the head and the afghan would likely be folded anyway. On the other hand if you were using 6" squares, you would need to allow for at least 6 across(6 times 6 = 36) x 12 down (6 times 12 = 72). Note that the size of your edging will make a difference in your finished size.
You would use the same basic principles of measurement to use strips, keeping in mind the width and length of your strip and the width and length of your bed. For example, if you are using 6" strips on a bed that is 72" wide, then you would need 11 or 12 strips, depending on which type of joining (and edging) you are going to use.
Do keep in mind how high off the ground your bed is, particularly in the case of bunk beds. You don’t want the afghan trailing along the floor. The more often you have to wash it, the sooner you’ll be maker a new one, though I still have afghans I made for my husband before we got married, 20+ years and my Mom has some I made even before that.
Think about who is going to be the recipient of your afghan. If it is a child, he/she might enjoy lots of smaller squares of different colors more than just a few large ones. Depending on the child, they might prefer brighter colors as well. Some children do have a favorite color so if you know the recipient it is helpful. If it’s for a charity effort, you likely will not have particulars about the person.
These suggestions are meant for afghans you are making for yourself or a loved one. If you are joining squares in bulk, or are part of a charity ministry, the sizes are determined by your group leader who knows the scope of the project and what can reasonably be managed with the resources available.
General Size Guidelines
Here are some approximate sizes (based on bed size). Remember if you are donating these somewhere, check with the coordinator of the project as there may be specific guidelines for that organization.
Preemie (NICU preemies, tiny)  about 15" square
To cover Isolette  36" square (some hospitals have asked specifically for blankets large enough to cover the isolette and keep the light out so babies can sleep even when nurses must have light to see adequately)
Baby (crib)  30" x 36" if rectangular, or 36" around if square. (The bed is longer, but the baby doesn’t use the entire bed, right?) Always be careful when using afghans with babies  be sure their sweet little faces are not covered and that the afghan is washed before being used. It makes it softer and also takes out some of the harsh chemicals used in making the yarns.
Children  42" x whatever length their bed is. A twin bed is 75" long, but again small children won’t use the entire length of the bed and you likely will set the covering beneath where the pillow is. If you want the child to be able to use the afghan as they grown, go ahead and make it 75" long. If you want them to be able to carry it around, go with a shorter length, maybe 48" (4 feet).
Lapghan  36" square or 36" x 48" Note that if it is too wide, it will drape over too much and get caught in the wheels of a wheelchair or drag the floor, if your recipient is wheelchair bound. Keep in mind the size of your recipient. A larger person will have a larger lap area and perhaps need a wider ghan.
Adult  again, depends on bed size. minimum 48" x 75" which would be twin length, and enough extra width to keep the blanket on an adult while sleeping.
Additional note: If you are making an afghan for a larger bed, but two people share the bed, you might prefer to make two afghans so each can wrap individually and not be pulling covers off each other through the night. Awww, that never happens, right? :)
If you need more specifics (How big is a king bed?), keep reading!
How Many Squares Does It Take...
Below is a list of bed sizes from bassinet to king, including rollaway cots. I’ve also included the sizes of various types of bedding, which you can use as a reference point for your own projects.
As squares are very commonly used to make afghans, I have put the approximate number of squares necessary to complete an afghan to fit the measurements. Note that it would be impossible to include all size for every possible square, rectangle, or strip, but this is a sampling of often used sizes.
In some cases, this will mean just covering the top of a mattress. In others it will mean draping over or tucking under depending on the piece. Keep in mind always that the edging you choose may change the number needed to get the proper size. Also, it depends on if you are covering the entire bed or just the area below the pillow. The pillow takes up about 18" at my house. Use the figuring method above if you need a different area covered.
MATTRESSES
Bassinet: 1924" x 3338" Using 6" squares: For a preemie, try 3 x 5 [15 squares]. For a full term baby, I would go a little larger: 4 or 5 across and 5 or 6 down.
Jenny Lind Cradle: 39 x 22.75 x 34.5 inches (this is how it was listed. Not sure which is the height and which is the length) Using 6" squares: 7 x 4
Crib: 28 x 52 Using 6" squares: 5 x 8
Baby afghans, especially those for a bassinet or cradle, should probably be worked in a fine yarn, like fingering yarn, so it won’t be too heavy for the baby. Be very careful, of course, not to cover the baby’s face and to keep a close eye, so the baby doesn’t chew on the yarn or get little fingers caught. Also, be sure to wash the item (to get rid of the sizing and such) and don’t use a heavy scented softener.
Rollaway beds: 30" 39" or 48" wide Using 6" squares: 5, 7, or 8 squares x 11 to 13 squares depending on who’s sleeping in it. You want to fully cover the person. Rollaways are not that comfortable to begin with. You don’t want your guests freezing too.
Trundle: 35 x 7075 Using 6" squares: 6 x 12
Daybeds: Vary, but generally about a twin bed size. (My daughter’s daybed mattress is approx. 37 1/2" x 74".
Twin: 39" x 75" Using 6" squares: 6 x 12 (good36" x 72" plus edging) [72 squares], 7 x 13 (better42" x 78" plus edging) [91 squares], 7 x 14 (best42" x 84" plus edging) [98 squares] Using 9" squares: 4 x 8 (good36" x 72" plus edging) [32 squares], 5 x 9 (best45" x 81" plus edging) [45 squares] Using 12" squares: 4 x 6 (48" x 72" plus edging) [24 squares]
XL Twin: 39" x 80" Using 6" squares: 6 x 13 (good36" x 78" plus edging) [78 squares], 7 x 13 (better42" x 78" plus edging) [91 squares], 7 x 14 (best42" x 84" plus edging) [98 squares] Using 9" squares: 4 x 9 (good36" x 81" plus edging) [36 squares], 5 x 9 (best45" x 81" plus edging) [45 squares] Using 12" squares: 4 x 7 (48" x 84" plus edging) [28 squares]
Super Single (waterbed): 48" x 84" Using 6" squares: 8 x 14 (best 48" x 84" plus edging) [112 squares] Using 9" squares: 5 x 9 (good45" x 81" plus edging) [45 squares], 6 x 10 (best54" x 90" plus edging) [60 squares] Using 12" squares: 4 x 7 (48" x 84" plus edging) [28 squares]
Full (also called standard): 54" x 75" uUsing 6" squares: 9 x 12 (good54" x 72" plus edging) [108 squares], 9 x 13 (best, 54" x 78" plus edging) [117 squares] Using 9" squares: 6 x 8 (good54" x 72" plus edging) [48 squares], 6 x 9 (best, 54" x 81" plus edging) [54 squares] Using 12" squares: 5 x 6 (60" x 72" plus edging) [30 squares]
XL Full: 54" x 80" Using 6" squares: 9 x 13 (good54" x 78" plus edging) [117 squares], 9 x 14 (best, 54" x 84" plus edging) [126 squares] Using 9" squares: 6 x 9 (best, 54" x 81" plus edging) [54 squares] Using 12" squares: 5 x 7 (60" x 84" plus edging) [35 squares]
Queen: 60" x 80" Using 6" squares: 10 x 13 (good 60" x 78" plus edging) [130 squares], 10 x 14 (best, 60" x 84" plus edging) [140 squares] Using 9" squares: 7 x 9 (best, 63" x 81" plus edging) [63 squares] Using 12" squares: 5 x 7 (60" x 84" plus edging) [35 squares]
King: 78" x 80" (Our king size mattress is approx. 76 1/2" x 79 1/2") Using 6" squares: 13 x 14 (best, 78" x 84" plus edging) [182 squares] Using 9" squares: 9 x 9 (best, 81" x 81" plus edging) [81 squares] Using 12" squares: 7 x 7 (84" x 84" plus edging) [49 squares]
California King: 72" x 84" Using 6" squares: 12 x 14 (best, 72" x 84" plus edging) [168 squares] Using 9" squares: 8 x 10 (best, 72" x 90" plus edging) [80 squares] Using 12" squares: 6 x 7 (72" x 84" plus edging) [42 squares]
Most of the information above regarding sizes comes from the JC Penney bedding standards (in their Fall/Winter 2000 book), although I did use other sources as well. I also took measurements of our beds. Please use this as a guide only. Everything is approximate and also depends on if I did my math correctly. If you find any errors, do give me a holler but be gentle. :) (Update: I found this neat information on bedding sizes at Bed Bath and Beyond. I thought it might be useful, too.) There are several other sites that have sizes. I think About.com has this information and I have seen it on other sites as well.
COMFORTERS
Twin: 66" x 86" Using 6" squares: 11 x 15 makes it 66" x 90" plus edging [165 squares], a pretty good size. If you have a really neat child who will make his/her bed perfectly (ha!) it will go over the sides of the bed about 13" on each side. This is good because it will allow the person to be fully covered while lying in bed, whereas if you just cover the top of the bed, when someone gets into into the bed, it will no longer fully cover the top and thus the person. However, if this is a bed that is low to the ground, it may be too much. You’ll have to measure to be sure. Note: Bunk bed said it could be used with mattresses up to 9" thick, so adding the space between floor and mattress, you should be okay with this size. Using 9" squares: 8 x 10 makes it 72" x 90" plus edging [80 squares]. Should hang over about 16" on each side
Full: 80" x 90" Using 6" squares: 14 x 15 makes it 84" x 90" plus edging [210 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side. Using 9" squares: 9 x 10 makes it 81" x 90" plus edging [90 squares]. Hangs over about 13" each side.
Queen: 92" x 96" Using 6" squares: 16 x 16 makes it 96" x 96" plus edging [256 squares]. Hangs over about 16" each side. Using 9" squares: 10 x 11 makes it 90" x 99" plus edging [121 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side.
King: 110" x 96" Using 6" squares: 8 x 16 makes it 108" x 96" plus edging [288 squares]. Hangs over about 16" each side. Using 9" squares: 12 x 11 makes it 108" x 99" plus edging [132 squares]. Hangs over about 16" each side.
BEDSPREADS
This is tricky because if you are making a bedspread, you will want it to come close to the floor without touching it. You also might like to consider using cotton for this rather than worsted weight yarn. You may even want to combine a bed skirt with the crocheted piece. A solid colored bedskirt behind a white crocheted cotton bedspread with an openwork design would be very pretty.
My full and king size beds were 21" from floor to top of mattress but I do not have a real thick mattress. The daybed was 23" from floor to top of mattress.
Twin: 80" x 110" Using 6" squares: 13 x 18 makes it 78" x 108" plus edging [234 squares]. Hangs over about 20" each side. Using 9" squares: 9 x 12 makes it 81" x 108" plus edging [108 squares]. Hangs over about 21" each side.
Full: 96" x 110" Using 6" squares: 16 x 18 makes it 96" x 108" plus edging [288 squares]. Hangs over about 21" each side. Using 9" squares: 11 x 12 makes it 99" x 108" plus edging [132 squares]. Hangs over about 23" each side. Caution: Check the height from floor to top of mattress as this might touch the floor.
Queen: 102" x 118" Using 6" squares: 17 x 20 makes it 102" x 120" plus edging [340 squares]. Hangs over about 21" each side Using 9" squares: 11 x 13 makes it 99" x 117" plus edging [143 squares]. Hangs over about 20" each side.
King: 120" x 118" Using 6" squares: 20 x 20 makes it 120" x 120" plus edging [400 squares]. Hangs over about 21" each side. Using 9" squares: 13 x 13 makes it 117" x 117" plus edging [169 squares]. Hangs over about 20" each side.
BLANKETS
These could be tucked in so it doesn’t so much matter how much it hangs over the sides. However, if you definitely want it to tuck in and not just hang over, you need to be sure you have enough to tuck  thus you must make it hang over at least as much as your mattress is deep plus a few inches. Mattresses vary in size from 6" to 14" deep.
Twin: 66" x 90" Using 6" squares: 11 x 15 makes it 66" x 90" plus edging [165 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side. Using 9" squares: 7 x 10 makes it 63" x 90" x plus edging [70 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side.
XL Twin: 66" x 96" Using 6" squares: 11 x 16 makes it 66 x 96" plus edging [176 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side. Using 9" squares: 7 x 11 makes it 63" x 99" plus edging [77 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side.
Full: 80" x 90" Using 6" squares: 13 x 15 makes it 78" x 90" plus edging [195 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side. using 9" squares  9 x 10 makes it 81" x 90" plus edging [90 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side.
Queen: 90" x 90" Using 6" squares: 15 x 15 makes it 90" x 90" plus edging [225 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side. Using 9" squares: 10 x 10 makes it 90" x 90" plus edging [100 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side.
King: 108" x 90" Using 6" squares: 18 x 15 makes it 108" x 90" plus edging [270 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side. using 9" squares  12 x 10 makes it 108" x 90" plus edging [120 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side.
SHEETS (flat)
These could be tucked in so it doesn’t so much matter how much it hangs over the sides. However, if you definitely want it to tuck in and not just hang over, you need to be sure you have enough to tuck  thus you must make it hang over at least as much as your mattress is deep plus a few inches. Mattresses vary in size from 6" to 14" deep.
Twin: 66" x 96" Using 6" squares: 11 x 16 makes it 66" x 96" plus edging [176 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side. Using 9" squares: 7 x 11 makes it 63" x 99" plus edging [77 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side.
XL Twin: 68" x 102" Using 6" squares: 11 x 17 makes it 66" x 102" plus edging [187 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side. Using 9" squares: 7 x 11 makes it 63" x 99" plus edging [77 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side.
Full: 81" x 96" Using 6" squares: 14 x 16 makes it 84" x 96" plus edging [224 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side. Using 9" squares: 9 x 11 makes it 81" x 99" plus edging [99 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side.
Queen: 90" x 102" Using 6" squares: 15 x 17 makes it 90" x 102" plus edging [255 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side. Using 9" squares: 10 x 12 makes it 90" x 108" plus edging. [120 squares] Hangs over about 15" each side.
King: 108" x 102" Using 6" squares: 18 x 18 makes it 108" x 108" plus edging [324 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side. Using 9" squares: 12 x 12 makes it 108" x 108" plus edging [144 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side.
QUILTS
Twin: 66" x 86" Using 6" squares: 11 x 15 makes it 66" x 90" plus edging [165 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side. Using 9" squares: 7 x 10 makes it 63" x 90" plus edging [70 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side.
Full: 76" x 86" Using 6" squares: 13 x 14 makes it 78" x 84" plus edging [182 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side. Using 9" squares: 9 x 10 makes it 81" x 90" plus edging [90 squares]. Hangs over about 14" each side.
Queen: 88" x 90" Using 6" squares: 14 x 15 makes it 84" x 90" plus edging [210 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side. Using 9" squares: 9 x 10 makes it 81" x 90" plus edging [90 squares]. Hangs over about 11" each side.
King: 104" x 90" Using 6" squares: 17 x 15 makes it 102" x 90" plus edging [255 squares]. Hangs over about 12" each side. Using 9" squares: 12 x 10 makes it 108" x 90" plus edging [120 squares]. Hangs over about 15" each side.
Note that for the twin size, a larger afghan width is preferred so it can comfortably and fully cover a person lying in the bed. For the other sizes, it is not as critical if one person is in the bed as the afghan is larger anyway. If two people are in the bed...well, we won’t go there. LOL One will likely end up with most of it. Or you can make two twin size afghans, so each will have their own. Two twins equal a king size bed in size. If it is the same pattern and colors, they can just overlap and the bed will look fine. If you don’t care about decor, make each person’s afghan in their preferred colors. A king size afghan, while gorgeous, is cumbersome to handle while working and difficult to wash.
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