Are You Having Right/Left Confusion When Knitting A Garment?

When providing knitters help with garment pattern instructions, there is often a misunderstanding of the terms and knitting abbreviations RS (right side) and WS (wrong side), right, left, with RS facing, and with WS facing. I hope the following definitions will put an end to the confusion.

  • RS (right side): In most abbreviation lists, this refers to the surface of the garment that will face the outside when worn (or the visible side of the fabric). Pattern instructions will often describe the first row as the right side. As a reminder, I sometimes place a safety pin on the RS.
  • WS (wrong side): Usually refers to the surface of the garment that will face the inside when worn. As a beginner knitter, I suggest either marking the RS or WS, as a reminder.
  • Right: Right refers to the right-hand side of a garment as you are wearing it. The right front of a cardigan, right armhole, etc.
  • Left: Left refers to the left-hand side of a garment as you are wearing it. The left front of a cardigan, left shoulder, etc.
  • With RS facing: This means the right side of your knitting is facing you, and the wrong side facing away from you. This term is often used when picking up stitches, as you generally pick up stitches with the RS facing you, so there is no obvious ridge on the RS. Also, pattern instructions often begin shaping (such as decreasing for the armhole) with the right side facing.
  • With WS facing: This is the opposite of above; the wrong side of the knitting is facing you, and the right side facing away from you.

No more right/left confusion?

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