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!