Wednesday, August 20, 2008

wrong side, right side, which side is which?

One question that I frequently get asked is "How do you determine the wrong side from the right side of a crochet piece?" Well, remember how the designer determines the gauge? It's the designer's choice, essentially. So is the wrong side and right side of a crocheted fabric. Some fabrics look "better" on one side, some stitches have "right sides" and "wrong sides", but generally speaking, it's a design decision!

So the RS and WS of fabric is determined by the designer. That's not the case, though, with stitches.
Let's look at what I just wrote about stitches having a wrong side and a right side. Most stitches, when you make them, you will be working them on their "right" side. You may be on the "wrong" side of the fabric, or you might be on the "right" or "public" side of the fabric. But the stitches have a slightly different look if you turn the fabric around and look at the other side. Certain stitches, however, like the loop stitch, or a popcorn or bullion stitch, have a definite difference between the front and the back of the stitch. Usually, when you work a loop stitch, you work it on the wrong side of the fabric, because you want the loops to be on the front side of the fabric. So you can say you are really working the loop stitch on it's "wrong" side. The "right" side would be the side with the loops.

Are you confused yet? That's probably because "right" side and "wrong" side have many different meanings. You have "right" and "wrong" side of the fabric (abbreviated RS and WS in directions), "right" and "wrong" side of stitches, "right" and "left" side of the piece as you are working it, and "right" and "left" side of the garment as you are wearing it.

When the directions say: Row 1 (RS) ............ , that means that the row you are working on (Row 1), as you are working it, will be the "right" side, or public side of the fabric.

How do you tell the "right" and "wrong" side of stitches? If you look at the fabric as you are making it, you can see the top of the stitches. They look like they form a chain. That's usually the "right" side of the stitches. Turn the fabric over, and you can't see the tops anymore. That's usually the "wrong" side of the stitches.

Right side of the piece as you are working on it will be the side by your right hand. Left side is the side by your left hand.

But right side of the garment as you are wearing it means just that - the side that's on the right when you wear it. Ditto for left!

How do you know which row to end with, if the directions say "End on a RS row."? If Row 1 is a RS row, then all the odd numbered rows are RS rows. So if the directions say "end on a RS row", you'll finish with an odd numbered row. If the directions say "end with a WS row", you'll finish with an even numbered row.

I know pictures will help with this discussion. So, I'll be working on some samples today, and post them asap! If you have any questions about all of this, please ask me - post a comment.

And, know that you're not alone in this - this is a confusing part of crochet patterns!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Else Affects Gauge?

I recently got back from The Knit and Crochet Show and CGOA/TKGA Conference, where I taught 7 classes in 4 days, went to a CGOA board meeting, attended the CGOA members' meeting, went to the Fashion Show and dinner on Saturday night, visited with lots of friends, and had an all around wonderful time! Read more about it on my blog: notyourgrannyscrochet. I'm back now, and trying to get my act together for the next conference, in less than 3 weeks! This one is in Portland, Oregon - I've never been there, and I'm excited about going. I'll be teaching 7 classes again - one of them though, Crocheting on the Edge - may not have enough students before pre-registration is over (August 21). So if you're planning to go to the TKGA/CGOA conference don't wait to sign up for classes. Sign up now, by Thursday afternoon at 4:30 Eastern time!

I did promise you that I would tell you more about what affects gauge. I had an interesting discussion about that this morning in the class I teach at a lys. One of my students made a very pretty vest - that was humongous on her. She checked her gauge with one yarn, then decided she didn't like that yarn, changed to another yarn, and thought that it was the same weight, so she didn't check her gauge again. She learned! If you're going to change yarns, even if it is the same weight, or same yarn but a different color, check your gauge! Repeat - check your gauge!

Another student, who came back for her second lesson, said she was really nervous and tense for her first class. And her crocheting was really tight. Today, I showed her how to relax, how to make her stitches higher, and her crocheting loosened up a bit. (To make your stitches a little higher, lift the hook above the top of the row you worked into. Just a little, maybe 1/8 of an inch. But that will help if your row gauge is off - if you have too many rows to the inch. I do this at the end of the stitch - just pull up on the hook.)

The first baby afghan I made for my son was a nice ripple pattern. I started out really tense, but loosened up as I figured out the stitch pattern. I had never worked a ripple stitch, nor had I ever made an afghan. (This was MANY years ago.) The sides of the afghan slope out. The bottom is narrow, the top is wide. Because I got more relaxed as I went on.

So gauge is affected a lot by your tension. If you're mad at someone, your gauge might be off - too tight. If you're really relaxed, your gauge might be off - too loose. And if the designer crochets tight (she or he might have been tense, trying to meet the deadline!), and you're relaxing out by the pool, your tension might be loose and your gauge may not match the designer's gauge!

That's the story about gauge. And that's one reason I started designing my own fashions. I could never meet the designer's gauge! :-)