In crochet, the “Right Side” and “Wrong Side” refer to the two sides of a piece of crochet fabric. The right side is the side of the fabric that is typically seen or displayed, while the wrong side is the side that is usually hidden or not seen.
The right and wrong sides are determined by the stitch pattern used and the way the stitches are worked. In some cases, the right and wrong sides may be difficult to distinguish, especially in patterns that use a lot of texture or patterns that produce a reversible fabric.
In general, the right side of a crochet fabric is considered to be the side with the more pronounced or prominent stitches, while the wrong side is the side with the less pronounced or visible stitches.
Below, I explain the differences between both sides, why it matters in crochet, and some common questions around the subject.
What is Right Side in Crochet?
The right side (abbreviated as RS) of the stitch and fabric is the side that is facing you when you’re crocheting. Alternatively, you can consider the Right Side to be the Front of your work.
What is Wrong Side in Crochet?
The wrong side (abbreviated as WS) of a stitch or fabric is the side that is facing away from you while you are crocheting. Similarly, you can think of the wrong side as the Back of your work.
How to Tell the Right Side from the Wrong Side
Every crochet stitch and crocheted fabric has a front (right), and back (wrong) side. Most of the time, it is obvious which side you are looking at, based solely on the way the stitch and/or fabric looks. However, there are a few insider tips that can help you quickly identify whether you are looking at the right or wrong side of crochet:
1. The Position of the Chain Tail
This is by far the easiest way to see if you are looking at the right or wrong side of your crochet project.
There are two ways to start a crochet project that is worked flat (back and forth in rows). First, you can work a series of traditional chains, then work your first row into those chains. Or, alternatively, you can create a row of foundation stitches and skip the starting chains altogether.
For example: If you are a right-handed crocheter, and you used a chainless foundation row, and the tail is sticking out at the bottom left, then you are looking at the right side of your work. The tail will be on the bottom right when you are looking at the wrong side. The positions would be swapped if you happen to crochet with your left hand.
With traditional chain, the tail position is the same.
2. The First Rows
If you started your work with a traditional chain, the first row of your project will be the right side (not including the starting chain).
The right side of your work will also always have an odd number of rows. In addition, the top row of stitches are sideways V’s when looking at the right side.
3. The “Right” Look
Crochet stitches will look more uniform and less bumpy from the right side. The fabric will also look tighter and more defined from the right side. While this way of determining WS vs. RS is subjective, it may be your only way if the others aren’t possible.
For example, single crochet stitches will form a “V” shape on the right side, and a bar
Why Does RS vs WS Matter?
It is important for a few different reasons:
First, the texture of most crochet stitches is different depending on the side you are looking at. If your project requires a specific texture to get the pattern correct, then WS vs RS matters.
Second, typically the right side of the stitch and fabric looks tighter and more defined. This is expected since most crochet stitches were designed with the front of the fabric in mind. The front usually looks better than the back side.
Finally, the fact that the right side looks better is also very important with certain types of crochet. For instance, in amigurumi crochet, the wrong side is intended to be inside the stuffed animal where the less desirable texture can be hidden.
The back side of the project is also where any yarn strands are cut off and eventually woven in. The front side of your work should not have any loose ends.
Which side you are working on is also critical to know when doing tapestry crochet. This is because color changes are done in such a way that they are less visible on the front of the project. The way the colors in the project change or get carried throughout the pattern can sometimes distort the motif on the wrong side of the work.
Right vs. Wrong Side for Left Handers
About 13% of Americans are left-handed.
As you can imagine, certain aspects of crochet are different depending on which hand you crochet with.
A right-handed crocheter will work in rows from right to left and in the round anticlockwise. Someone left handed works a row from left to right and clockwise in the round.
Because of this, crochet project from a left handed person would be a mirror image of the same crochet project made by a right handed person. This mirroring would leave the loose chain tail on the opposite side of the front side.