A Stupid Question about RS and WS

teejtc's picture

OK, I can't quite seem to figure this out. I get this there is a RS (Right Side) and a WS (Wrong Side) of knitting. I also get that the go back and forth (i.e. all odd rows are RS or WS and that doesn't change, etc.) What I don't quite get is whether it's referring to the side that's toward me or away from me.

Would one of you answer that for me?

If I'm knitting a RS row... is the Right Side the side facing me or the side facing away from me?

I know it's a stupid question but I don't quite get it.


Grace and Peace,


gardenguy42's picture

Everything about knitting

Everything about knitting patterns can be confusing at some point, LOL.

The "right side" is the "public" side, or the side that shows when you are wearing a garment or that displays the pattern to its best effect, of whatever piece you are knitting.

In stockinette stitch the right side would be the knitted side. The wrong side would be the purl side.

In reverse stockinette stitch the right side would be the purl side. The wrong side would the knitted side.

Plain garter stitch doesn't have an obvious "right" or "wrong" side so that would be determined by the piece your are making; some pieces can be reversible and wouldn't have a right and wrong side, like a simple scarf, and others, like say the front left and right pieces of a jacket, would have the right side determined by the shaping and placement. The wrong side would be whatever side is against the wearer's body.

In color knitting and lace knitting, the right side is the side that displays the pattern to best advantage, traditionally the knit side, since both usually are some variation of stockinette stitch, which is knitted on the right side and purled on the wrong side. The purl (or wrong) side of color and lace knitting is still beautiful but does not look the same as the knit (or right) side.

Most knitting patterns will indicate which side of a stitch pattern should be considered the right side and which the wrong side and many also suggest you mark the right side if it isn't so obvious at first.

Right and wrong side are determined by what you are doing in the stitch pattern and not by which one faces you. While knitting one row, the right side will face you and the wrong side will face away from you. On the next row the right side will face away from you while the wrong side faces you.

In circular knitting (almost always -- there is a variation in traditional South American knitting in which some very complex color patterns are knit wrong-side out) the right side always faces you, which is why you can knit every round and get a stockinette effect.

Hope this helps and doesn't fuddle you more!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

If knitting in stockinette,

If knitting in stockinette, the RS is the knit row - which will be facing you. It's not a stupid question - we all have to learn.