Sunday, July 22, 2012

Knitting Q&A: Right Side, Wrong Side

An unexpected by-product of Homespun Living’s shiny new site is the increased traffic, and a few lovely questions and enquiries from some lovely people. I thought this one may be useful to have online to keep any semi-newbie knitters on the rights and wrongs of the craft!

I am using a Tiny Tots DK knitting pattern No.1560. The pattern is formed in 4 rows. The front is the same as the back until the required length to start shaping the neck. My problem is, the instructions say: cont until front measures 35cm, 'ending with a ws row'........ if the pattern's 4th row is knitted on the ws, what does this mean? Please help. Sheilagh

Image courtesy of Helenpurls via

Hello there Sheilagh
Thanks for getting in touch and what a lovely pattern you have chosen!

RS and WS are abbreviations for 'Right Side' and 'Wrong Side'. The 'right side' is the side that will be facing outwards and be the 'shown' side of the work. The wrong side is the inside of the work. The side that is facing you as you work is the side that is being named - so that when you finish working a side while the wrong side has been facing you, you have finished a 'wrong side' row. When you are working normal stocking stitch, that means you'll be knitting with the right side facing you and purling with the wrong side facing you.

So… it doesn't matter how many rows into a pattern you are when you are told to finish on a 'wrong side row'. As long as you finish on the wrong side, your next row will be a 'right side' row and you will most likely begin shaping then, as shaping is invariably designed to take place on a 'right side' row.

So, in your case, you keep on working the piece in pattern until the work measures just shy of 35cm. When you finish your next 'wrong side row', whether that is row 2 or row 4 of the pattern, taking you up to 35cm, you will then follow the instructions given for the neck shaping. It will most likely say 'continue in pattern, while decreasing blah blah blah....' which means that you follow the instructions for decreasing, while continuing to follow the surface stitch pattern as you have done for the rest of the garment.

Good luck!

I am now offering 1-to-1 tuition and pattern assistance for £8 per half hour in and around the St Albans area. If you’re stuck on a pattern, frustrated with seaming or needing to clear that small hurdle to finish the project, please contact me at to enquire further.

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