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Sarah E. White

The Right and Wrong of Your Knitting

By January 22, 2012

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One thing that I hear consistently from new knitters that is confusing to them is figuring out what the right side is versus the wrong side when it comes to knitting. The "right" side means the side that faces out on a garment or other project: the outside of a sweater or bag, or the pretty side of a scarf or afghan, assuming the stitch you used isn't reversible.

stockinette stitchThe flat side is the right side on Stockinette Stitch. Sarah E. White.

If you're working in Stockinette Stitch, the flat side with all the Vs on it is the "right" side, while the bumpy purl side is the "wrong" side. If your pattern calls for Reverse Stockinette, it's the opposite.

It's pretty easy to tell right from wrong with a stitch that doesn't look the same on both sides, but what about Garter Stitch, ribbing or something else that looks the same on either side? In that case, if you have instructions that call for shaping, say, on every other right side row, you'll need to decide which side is right and which side is wrong and stick with that consistently.

You can stick a locking stitch marker on one side of the work when you get started and declare that side the right side, or you can wait until you need to decide which side is the right side and pick the side that looks prettier to you. It really doesn't matter which side you choose, as long as you're consistent about it.


January 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm
(1) N J Gill says:

You can also use the orientation of your cast-on tail to keep track of which side you are working on. Just remember, if the tail is on the left, you’re working the xx-side; and vice-versa.

January 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm
(2) merirose says:

Keep track of where the tail is: left/ right—right/wrong. If the tail is to the left, you are knitting the right side. If the tail is to the right, you are knitting the wrong side.

January 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm
(3) Julie says:

Thanks for doing this! It is exactly what I need! What did NJ mean by

January 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm
(4) Julia says:

The orientation of the cast on tail all depends on what kind of cast on method you use. If you are using one of the long-tail cast on methods then the tail will be on the right hand side. If you use a cast on method like the knitted on cast on or the ‘backwards E’ the tail will be on the left hand side when looking at the right side.

February 1, 2012 at 9:54 am
(5) Margaret says:

after I determine which is right side, I place a safety pin somewhere on that side, moving it towards the top as I add rows, that always indicates right side and is always visable

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