RS & WS in Crochet – Right Side and Wrong Side Meaning

Wondering what RS & WS mean in crochet? Learn about the right and wrong side of crochet, why they matter, and how to tell the difference between the two.

Wondering how to differentiate between the right side and wrong side of your crochet project? This is a common question asked by both beginners and intermediate crocheters. Sometimes knowing the difference can make or break your project. Other times, RS crochet vs. WS crochet doesn’t really matter. 

Today, you’ll learn which side of your work is the right side (RS) in crochet and which side is the wrong side (WS). There will be examples and opportunities to test your new knowledge.

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two images of light blue crocheted swatches with green crochet hooks, depicting the right side and wrong side of the alpine stitch. purple box with white text reads "crochet tips: rs & ws"

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What does RS mean in crochet terms?

In crochet, the RS abbreviation stands for right side. This is the front of your crochet project, or the pretty side you want to show off.

What does WS mean in crochet?

WS stands for wrong side in crochet. It’s the back of your crochet project for flat projects like the Bobble Stripe Baby Blanket, and the inside for amigurumi or wearables like the Alpine Twist Headband or Alpine Cowl

What is the right side of crochet?

The right side (RS) of a crochet project is the front, or the side you want facing out to the world. Typically, this is the attractive side, or the side with visible texture. 

Sometimes it doesn’t matter which side is which. In the Color-Block Infinity Scarf pattern, the right side and wrong side are pretty much the same.

Look at the photo below — can you tell which is the RS and which is the WS?

woman's hand holding a folded piece of crocheted fabric in teal and charcoal. text overlay reads, "which is the right-side (rs) this or that?"

Ya, I can’t either. 

You see, when crocheted in rows, the front and back of standard crochet stitches (sc, hdc, dc, etc.) will look nearly identical. Over many rows, the stitches will be reversible. This means that you can show off the front or back of your crochet project without having to worry about the right side or the wrong side.

Textured stitches are another story.

It’s usually easier to tell the difference between the RS and WS of crochet, but it’s also more important. For example, the 3D bobbles are on the right side of the Bobble Heart Potholder pattern. If you showed off the wrong side, you would just see flat single crochet stitches. Check out the photo below to see what I mean.

The same goes for the alpine stitch. The right side is textured with alternating post stitches (fpdc) and the wrong side is basically rows of flat sc and dc.

two images depicting the right side and wrong side of a crochet potholder. text overlay labels right side (rs) and wrong side (ws)

How do you find RS in crochet?

When crocheting in back-and-forth rows, there are three main ways to differentiate between the right and wrong sides of a crochet pattern.

  1. Follow the pattern instructions
  2. Count the rows
  3. Check the tail

RS/WS in the Crochet Pattern Instructions

Oftentimes, a pattern will specify which side is the right side and which is the wrong side. You can find the RS/WS information either in the pattern notes or in the written instructions.

If it’s in the notes, you might see a line that reads, “Odd numbered rows are on the RS.” If it’s in the written instructions, you might see something like, “Row 1 (WS)” or “Round 1 (RS)” before the stitch instructions.

Count Rows to Find the RS and WS of Crochet

If the pattern doesn’t specify, then row 1 is automatically the right side (RS) of your crochet project.

This means that all odd numbered rows/rounds will be on the RS. If row 1 is automatically the RS of crochet, then row 2 (and other even numbered rows) is the WS or wrong side. 

Check the Starting Tail

When row 1 is the RS of crochet, then right-handed crocheters will find their starting tail on the left-hand side for all RS rows. If your starting tail is on the right-hand side, then you’re on the wrong side of your crochet project.

When you’re left-handed, it’s the opposite. For left-handed crocheters, the starting tail will be on the right-side for all RS rows.

two images of a woman's hand over a swatch of linked double crochet with text overlay "right side (rs) for righties - right side (rs) for lefties)

The photos above show swatches of linked double crochet (ldc). We can count the rows to see that they’re on row five, so the right side is facing up.

Or, we can check out the starting tail. For the right-handed picture, the tail is on the left side. This means the right side is facing up. In the left-handed picture, the starting tail is on the right-hand side. We know that the right side is facing up.

Knowledge Check

Take a look at the swatch of hdc blo ribbing below. Are we looking at the RS or WS of the crochet swatch?

white wood background with a woman's hand holding a red crochet hook over a small swatch of bright blue yarn, connected to a skein of Brava worsted weight yarn

If you said the wrong side, you’re right! They’re right-handed and the tail is on the right-hand side, so we know they’re on a WS row. If you count the rows, this tracks as they’re midway through row 8 (an even numbered row). 

NOTE: When you start a project with a row of foundation stitches (rather than a chain), the tail will swap sides. For RS rows started with foundation stitches, the starting tail will be on the right-hand side (if you’re right-handed). The opposite is true if you’re a lefty.

RS vs WS of crochet – does it matter?

Sometimes! For textured stitches, the RS absolutely matters. There can be a huge difference between the front and the back of your crochet project.

Take a look at the Misty Infinity Cowl shown below. The right side of crochet has knit-look ribbing (shown on the left), but the inside or “wrong side” looks completely different (shown on the far right). 

close up of a light grey swatch of crocheted fabric. purple boxes with white text reads: RS & WS of Crochet - Everything you need to know -

For standard stitches (like single crochet or double crochet) and some pattern repeats (like the linen/moss stitch or corner-to-corner crochet), the RS and WS won’t always matter.

However, if you want to start joining pieces together, like for a blanket or sweater, you’ll need to know which side is which. Two panels of a stitch will only line up properly if the right sides are facing the same direction. Don’t worry though, the pattern will typically specify which side is which and how to face the pieces when you join them. 

How do you keep track of the RS and WS in a crochet project?

If the right side and wrong side matter for your project but you can’t remember the starting tail rules, mark the RS of crochet with a stitch marker. Just clip the marker through any stitch on the right side. Then you’ll always know which side is which, even if it’s tricky to tell. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

How do you crochet RS?

Follow the pattern – if the RS matters, they’ll tell you. If they don’t say anything, you can assume that row 1 is the right side. 

What does ending on a wrong side row mean in crochet?

Ending on a WS row is a note that’s typically used when repeating a row (or rows) several times. You’ll end your repeat on a wrong-side row (usually an even-numbered row). If this isn’t the case, the pattern will tell you which rows are WS and which rows are RS crochet. 

What does ending on a right side row mean in crochet?

When crocheting, you might see a note about ending on a RS row. It’s usually used when repeating a row (or rows) multiple times. It means to end your repeat on a right-side row (usually an odd-numbered row). If the RS isn’t an odd-numbered row, the pattern will specify that either in the pattern notes or row instructions. 

What’s the RS of crochet in the round?

For right-handed crocheters crocheting in the round, the RS is the side that’s facing you. For flat projects in the round that aren’t turned (like the Falling Leaves Square) or for garments like the Misty Infinity Cowl, it’s pretty easy to find the side that’s facing you. 

However, for 3D projects like amigurumi, the head/ball will start to curl or curve inward. This means that the RS will end up on the inside if you don’t flip your work the other direction. Here’s a super quick video tutorial from The Woobles

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