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!

41 comments:

alyabril said...

Hello! I found your blogs very informative but I was wondering if I could possibly ask for your help interpreting a pattern? I hope you have a lovely day. Take care! ^.^

~Aly

Del said...

For my beginner classes, I tell them that they always know the right side because the tail left before the beginning chain is a marker in a way. With the tail to their left, they're always looking at the usual right side.

But really, the right side or the outside is a relative thing. Crochet done in the round or done in rows can have a different right side or outside.

I think this is one of those things that really confuses beginning and even intermediate crocheters. If the pattern writer doesn't tell the crocheter in the beginning, it might not be all that clear.

Anonymous said...

HELLO,I HAVE A 6 MTH OLD BABY PATTERN AND WANT TO TURN IT INTO A 12 MTH OLD PATTERN. HOW WOULD I DO THIS??

Marty Miller said...

Without knowing the pattern stitches, I would advise you to go to the Craft Yarn Council's web site, and look for the Standards and Guidelines page. They have the measurements for babys, children, and adults. This is the page for the baby sizes: http://www.yarnstandards.com/babysize.html
You can take the necessary measurements they give you, and with your gauge, you should be able to figure out how many stitches you need in each row, and how many rows you would need to alter your pattern to the size you want.
You could also draw a schematic with the size for the 12 month old, but in the shape of the 6 month baby pattern, and then just crochet to fit the schematic.
I hope this helps!

Get your groove on with Vintage Rarebit said...

Hi Crochet doctor

I was hoping you would be able to answer this for me. When I finish a piece of crochet, which side is the right side?

- Sarah

Marty Miller said...

Which side of your crochet is the Right SIde would depend upon a lot of things. The easiest way to tell is if one pattern row or round has the initials (RS) or words "Right Side" beside the number of the row or round. If the number is an even number, then when you are working on the even number rows or rounds, you are working on the RS. If the number is an odd number, than the odd number rows or rounds are the RS.
If there is no designation of RS in the pattern or in the pattern notes, than you should take a look at the stitches and the pattern they make. If there is a difference, then the one that looks the best is usually the right side. If the pattern is worked in Rounds, you usually work on the RS of the fabric when you make the rounds. And if the pattern seems reversible - in other words, there is no difference between sides - then it's up to you which is the RS.
Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

So, if a pattern states that the first row is a wrong side row, its just a way of "marking" which side is which? You don't have to do anything differently while working the pattern, just note it at then end?

Peg

Marty Miller said...

Correct - you don't have to do anything different. Just note that the first row you did is worked on the wrong side of the fabric. You can mark it with a pin, a bobby pin, or tie a piece of yarn to one side. Or - if you can count the rows you finished, if Row 1 is a WS row, then every odd numbered row is also WS.

Carrie said...

My pattern says to work the RS only. I do not know how to come to the end of a row, turn, and work the RS. Will I need to crochet backwards?
Thanks,
Carrie

Marty Miller said...

Hi Carrie,
Does the pattern call for you to crochet in the round, without turning? Then, you would only crochet on the RS. If the pattern is written in rows, not rounds, then perhaps in the NOTES section, it tells you what to do. You can always end off at the end of one row, and start the next row where the previous row started.
What are you making?

Carrie said...

It is a Diamond Trellis. I got it from a yarn wrapper. It says to work rows 2-9 13 more times with right side still facing. It does not give me any other info. I thought about stopping at the end of a row and starting again at the other end; however, I did not know if I could do that.

Marty Miller said...

I checked the pattern out on-line. I think you missed a punctuation mark. Or the pattern on the label was misprinted. This is what the on-line pattern says:
"Rep Rows 2-9 thirteen more times; with right side still facing, work sc edging evenly across top edge. Fasten off. Rep edging on opposite edge. Weave in ends."
You missed the ";" between "times" and "with". What the pattern wants you to do is to turn every row. Then, the last row you work will be the RS (it's an odd numbered row - and the first line of the pattern says Row 1 is the RS - so all odd numbered rows are on the RS), and don't turn. Continue with the SC edging along the top of the afghan. Then, work the same edging along the bottom.
Hope this helps.

Carrie said...

That helps alot. Thank you so much!

Island Beads said...

Crochet Doctor,

I have a question regarding a pattern that you did for MODA DEA called "Crocheted Vision Hat WM0305."
I love the pattern you did but I am having a problem when I get to Rows14-72. The pattern reads Rows 14-72: Rep Rows 2-13 4 more times. It is not adding up. If I repeat rows 2-13, when I get to row 72 that completes row 12 and not 13. This is my second time trying to make this hat, I really would like to make it. Could you post a correction or let me know what I'm doing wrong.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Question regarding a hat pattern that you did for Moda Dea. It is the
WM0305 Crocheted Vision Hat pattern. I asked another person to attempt the pattern and they had the same problem. The problem begins at rows 14-72. The pattern reads: Rows 14-72: Rep Rows 2-13 4 more times. If you repeat these rows the row 72 stops at Row 12 and not 13. I am really interested in completing the hat. PLEASE PLEASE ASSIST.

Thanks Tawana

Marty Miller said...

I just returned from Chain Link and the Knit and Crochet Show in Buffalo, NY. I will look at my copy of the pattern, and see if there is a typo in the pattern - or if something is left out, or just what is wrong. I'll get back to you just as soon as I can with the correction.
Marty

Marty Miller said...

It seems that there is something missing from the pattern you have. This is what I wrote:
"Rows 14 – 72: Repeat Rows 2 through 13 four more times. Then repeat Rows 2 through 12 one time. Ch 1, turn at the end."
So - after you repeat rows 2 - 13 four times, then repeat rows 2 - 12 one more time. That will get you to Row 72.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more problems.
Marty

Island Beads said...

Thank you sooooooooooooo much for responding. I will let you know how my hat turns out. I can't wait to finish it. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am trying to do a crochet Name Doily for my daughter and would like to ask you if there is a book that you can recommend that can help me out with this. There is nothing on the net that helps Hass Designs, Smart Crochet, and Crochetdoilys have been no help. No one seems to have a book or anything that would help those of us who have not done Name Doilys before. Any help you could give me would be great.

Thanks
Brenda

Marty Miller said...

I know there were books published about Filet Name Doilies so I googled it, and these are the sites I came up with that I think would have some good books about name doilies:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1115059/how_to_graph_a_pattern_for_a_filet.html?cat=24

http://www.countryyarns.com/hc001.htm

http://www.anniesattic.com/crochet/list.html?cat_id=401

http://www.hassdesign.com/FiletCrochetDesigns/IP/FiletDoily/OvalDoilies/

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I am making your spiderweb cardigan and am confused about how to begin the back. There is no fasten off, so I do not know where to continue from>
It says divide for right armhole.What rows do I count to begin the back. Are the FDC across the bottom and the webs worked vertically?

thanks,
ellen in Huston

Marty Miller said...

The body of the sweater is made in one piece. It's worked vertically, from one front edge to the other. So you don't end off when you start the back. You continue, and when you get to the armhole, you do foundation double crochet stitches, to make the armhole. Then you continue on with the back, until the other armhole. Work foundation dc where the directions tell you to, and continue on to make the other part of the front. Then you end off. And then add the sleeves.
Hope this helps.

Cheryl said...

I'm currently working on a pattern that states to "sc into side of last sc of prev rnd'...I've been crocheting for years and have never seen a pattern or heard of stitching into the side of a stitch. What is meant by this? Are they talking about the front 'bars' that make up a sc, that's where I'm suppose to create this new sc stitch? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Marty Miller said...

I'm not sure what they mean, either. Are you working the pattern in the round? Is this supposed to be a joining stitch? Or is this going to be an edging? If it's an edging, then work into the side of the stitch, underneath the "leg" on the side and the strand that's almost behind it. If it's a joining stitch, then usually they are worked into the top of the stitch. The nice thing about crochet is that it is user-friendly and easy to undo - so you can try what you think is best, and see if it works. If it does - great. If it doesn't, try something else!

Rebecca from ChemKnits said...

Thank you so much! I just started crocheting and I've been having issues telling RS from WS when the designer does not specify.

Marty Miller said...

Glad I can help!

Gabby Morin said...

I can see it's been some time since anyone commented on this entry but I am in dire need of guidance and this was really the only result from my Google search that gave me any information at all and you seem to be so knowledgeable. I am working a pattern that uses motifs which you join after they are each completed and in the notes after each one it says "Hold the First and Second motifs together with WS of Motifs together, sts matching, and RS of Second Motif facing you." I am so confused by this statement - it seems contradictory and I can't be sure if "WS" refers to turning the piece over or not, especially since it says "RS" of 2nd motif facing me. Wha? Could you help me? I just need to know if I should be turning the pieces over to join them? My only guess is that they could be instructing this to hide the slip stitches?

Marty Miller said...

When the directions say to hold the motifs together with WS together, they mean WS facing each other. So the RS of each motif is on the outside. The WS of each in inside. When you crochet the motifs together, you will be working through the front motif, RS facing you, through to the back motif, whose RS is facing away from you. Think what would happen if you would fold a motif with the WS inside. You would have the RS on the outside, and the WS on the inside. That's what you want with 2 motifs.
Language like this can get a little complicated sometimes - but I hope this helped!
Marty

Gabby Morin said...

Wow what a quick response! I dont think I've ever gotten such a timely answer to a pattern question! So just to confirm, what they're basically asking me to do is place the motifs back to back and join them. So if you displayed the joined pieces, neither side would be "wrong".

Marty Miller said...

You're right. Back to back (that's a good way to say WS to WS), so when the motifs are placed flat after they are joined, you can see the RS (or the front) of both motifs!

Anonymous said...

Could you please show a picture of a square crocheted peice showing a rt side and another square showing the wrong side..or a circle( Rounds) with the same.please. My name is Jacklyn I am so confused Thank-you.

Marty Miller said...

The best thing you can do is to reread the blog post. Especially where I say that Right Side and Wrong Side of the fabric is really determined by the designer. And you can talk about RS and WS of the fabric, but you can also talk about RS and WS of a stitch. Most stitches you work on the RS of that stitch. You can tell the RS if you look at the top of the stitch as you crochet it. When you yarn over, and pull through all loops, the final step of the stitch, those loops form a structure that looks like a chain on the top of the stitch. So- look at the top of the stitch from the viewpoint of where you were when you made the stitch. You can see the "chain", , so you're looking at the RS of the stitch (for most stitches). Now, turn your work so you're looking at the other side of the fabric. You can't see the chain, so you're looking at the WS of the stitch. BUT, that doesn't mean it's the WS of the fabric. That is up to the designer. She (or he) will determine which side will be the RS and which will be the WS.
When you are working in the round, and not turning after each round, most of the time you'll be working on the RS of the fabric as you make each stitch.
It helps if you learn to "read" your stitches. Look at them carefully as you crochet them. Look to see where the strands of yarn go when they leave your hook. Which ones form the top of the stitch, which ones form the post of the stitch. That should help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Crochet doctor, I have crocheted a kimono duster coat but after finishing it I realized that it is too long. What shall I do to shorten it. I can not just undo the ends as I had crocheted the panels horizontally. Please help me.

Marty Miller said...

Because there are many ways to take care of this problem, I really recommend the Craftsy Class by Linda Permann -
http://www.craftsy.com/ext/MartyMiller_471
Professional Finishing for Perfect Crochet – Linda Permann

She explains how to cut your crochet, and how to make sure it doesn't unravel. And you can watch Craftsy classes at home, whenever you want. And slow the video down, replay the parts you want to see over again, ask questions of the teacher, and the class is yours, forever. It's much easier to learn this way.

Linda Lewter said...

I'm crocheting Redhead Baby Girl Sweater LW225 . The instructions read "..end with wrong side row ch1,sl st in next 4sts,ch2 hdc to end turn". My question, do I turn the work at ch1 or do I work 4sl sts on wrong side (working backwards?) This is my 1st attempt at making a garment.

Marty Miller said...

Do the directions for the WS rows end with "turn"? Because I think that's what is meant here. Turn, and then do the ch-1 and slip stitches and the rest of that row.
Note - while you can do sc, and other stitches backwards, it's possible, but very difficult to work a slip stitch backwards. And if the pattern wanted you to do that, they should have explained how to do it. So, I think you're correct to turn, and then work the slip stitches.

Terri Fricker said...

I am wondering how to start a new row if I'm supposed to be working row by row, right to left, on the right side of the fabric.

I am working on http://littlewoollie.blogspot.com.au/p/mixed-stitch-stripey-blanket-crochet.html . The notes from many of those who said they worked on it said that they should have done each row from right to left (all on the front side.) If this is the case, I don't know how to join a new color to the piece to start the next row.

I actually did the first five rows of hdc by turning the piece (right, then wrong, side), but if I want to start the first stitches of the granny stitch row, how do I join in to the top of the turning chain from the last hdc row?

I hope I explained correctly. (The first time the words "on wrong side" is found in the first row of the chevron-type pattern.)

Marty Miller said...

If you're supposed to be working on the RS only, then you end off each row when you finish it. If you crochet right-handed, that will be on the left edge of the piece. Then you start the next row on the right edge. How to join the yarn? There are many ways to join at the beginning of the row. You can do a slip stitch with the new yarn, and then chain however many the directions tell you to, and go on from there. Or you can do what is called a "standing" start - make a slip knot on your hook, and start the first stitch in the beginning of the row. Remember, that's on the right edge of the piece if you're right-handed.
The main thing to remember is that you join to the first stitch of the row below, not the last stitch (that's on the wrong edge), and not the first stitch of two rows below.
I hope this helps!

Terri Fricker said...

Thank you. Perfect. I had never had to just slip stitch into a new row and for some reason it was very difficult for me to picture it being so easy.

Your description of the right side of the stitch showing the V's helped me a lot, too. The pictures in my book show them along the top, so I was even having a hard time knowing exactly where to slip in my hook. I've been using Lion Brand Homespun to make a couple of prayer shawls so I just felt lucky to grab hold of two yarns. It is so difficult to actually see the stitches. Now after really checking out the stitch I'm in, back and down a little, hitting the V every time, crocheting with abandon.

Marty Miller said...

You're welcome!
Homespun is a great yarn to use, but in order to see your stitches, you need to use a large hook when you crochet with it. I usually use an N/15, 10mm hook with it. Also, if you can't see the chains to work into them at the beginning, you may be interested in my class on Mastering Foundation Crochet Stitches on Craftsy. Foundation stitches are the stitches where you make just one chain, then the stitch that goes into it, then you make the next chain, and the stitch that goes into it, etc. So you never have to crochet a whole lot of chains at once, and then try to see each one separately! If you're interested, here's a 50% off link for the class: www.craftsy.com/ext/MartyMiller_4809_H

Terri Fricker said...

Hey, Awesome! Thanks.