What Does RS and WS Mean In Crochet?

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Wondering which side of your crochet is the right side? We’ve all been there. Sometimes it matters, and sometimes your fabric is almost the same on both sides.

In crochet patterns the some common abbreviations are “rs” and “ws” which mean “right side” and “wrong side.”

The right side of your work, written as rs in patterns is the side you will show to the world. This is the nice side of your crochet.

The ws of your crochet, or wrong side, is the back side of your crochet project. This is the side that is not presented as the front to everyone.

A swatch of hdc stitches in white Wander Acrylic yarn with peach odyssey hook.
This swatch of hdc stitches is on the ws “wrong side” because row 2 is facing us.

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The wrong side of crochet can be really obvious is some patterns, and hard to spot in others. The look of the stitches may seem too similar to distinguish!

The beginning of the pattern you are making will include important information. The pattern designer will include a lot of information.

  • crochet stitch abbreviations
  • gauge information
  • pattern notes
  • materials
  • pattern instructions

I suggest that beginners use stitch markers for many things. Once you know which side is the front, it is a good idea to place a stitch marker on the right side of your work. This is the easy way to make sure you’re not on the wrong side of the fabric.

Crochet Right Side vs Wrong Side in Different Stitches

Depending on your crochet pattern, the right side and wrong side may look very different. Some stitch patterns are almost reversible. This means they look similar whether you are looking at the right side or the wrong side of your work.

Usually the basic crochet stitches look reversible over many rows.

However, the front of each stitch looks different than the back in crochet, even in the basic stitches. This “reversible” fabric is only made with pairs of rows.

Blo crochet and flo crochet swatch.
Textured crochet fabric by going in only one top loop (flo and blo dc).

The swatch above is made with alternating the back loop double crochet and front loop dc. This is just one way to create different textures on the right side of the fabric you’re making.

Special stitches, like this mini puff stitch, can also have the appearance of matching. When the stitch is in all over pattern both sides look similar.

Crochet washcloth with texture in beige cotton yarn on blue background.
The Grana Washcloth uses the grit stitch, which looks the same on the front and back.

In this example, the Grana Washcloth crochet pattern uses the grit stitch. The grit stitch is an all over textured stitch that pairs double crochet and single crochets. It’s a one row repeat so it looks the “same” on the right and wrong sides.

Whether your crochet project is a basic stitch, or a stitch pattern, the rs and ws are not actually the same. Both sides will only look similar.

Two panels in the same stitch will only line up when the right side is facing up on both.

Hook inserted from back.
Crochet hook inserted from the back to the front.

In the picture above I’m showing how to crochet a back post half double crochet. In this case, insert the hook from the back, or ws of the work. These stitches really pop when contrasted with front post stitches.

One thing to note about half double crochet stitches is that the horizontal bars run across the back of the stitch.

What Does RS Facing Mean In Crochet?

RS facing means to place your crochet with the right side facing you. So in other words, put the front of your work up. You should be looking at the “right side” or the pretty side of what you are making.

This type of crochet terminology is particularly important in crochet garment construction. It is important for the panels of a crochet sweater to line up correctly. So the crochet pattern will say, “place your panels with the “rs facing up”.

Then you will seam or join, or whatever is the next step in your pattern. Using these terms helps to make sure your panels match up.

Below is a picture of the Bryce Canyon Cardigan crochet pattern. This kid’s cardigan is crocheted in the half double crochet stitch.

Crochet sweater with blue, coral, yellow and grey stripes pieced together.
The Bryce Canyon Cardigan crochet pattern in children’s sizes.

Half double crochet stitches are known for their distinctive look. This is the horizontal bar that runs across the back of a hdc. This feature makes lining up rows very important.

Using the terms rs and ws allow the designer to effectively communicate with the maker.

Row 3 of double crochets in pink yarn with turquoise hook.
Three rows of double crochet, learn this stitch in this easy tutorial.

This swatch is showing the rs “right side” because rows 1 and 3 are facing us with the front of the stitches. With this information you will know that if it’s an odd numbered row, then it’s the rs.

If we continue this swatch, you turn your work and the next row will number 4, which is a wrong side row.

What Is A Right Side Row In Crochet?

In crochet a right side row is considered the front of your crochet project. If it’s a crochet blanket, it’s the top, the side of the blanket that you will see when it’s draped on a bed.

If you are talking about a crochet sweater, then it’s the outside of the garment. It’s the side that faces out, and everyone sees.

When the right side is important, the pattern will specify which row with the rs abbreviation. For instance, if your pattern reads “Row 2. (RS)” this means that the right side is when row 2 is facing you.

First complete row single crochet.
This is row 1 in single crochet.

In the picture above the right side of the sc stitches are facing us. The position of the chain tail is on the left. When you turn, the back of your work will be facing you.

In this picture you can see the top of the stitch easily. This is also an indicator that you are on the right side.

How Do You Find RS In Crochet?

But what if your crochet pattern does not designate a rs or ws row? How do you know which side is the right side?

When your pattern does not say otherwise then the first row is the right side row. This row will have the right side or front of the stitches facing up towards you.

Most of us start our crochet with traditional chain stitches and work back into them. When you start your foundation chain your slip knot and tail will be on the left after you finish crocheting row 1.

If you are an experienced crocheter you might start your crochet with a foundation row. This technique is also known as chainless crochet. In this case, your slip knot will be on the right when you finish row 1.

If you are a beginner crocheter then learning to crochet is like learning a foreign language. The common crochet abbreviations can really help you read your crochet pattern.

Right Side When Crocheting in the Round

When we crochet hats and other projects in the round the front side is facing you. As your work bowls in you will need to flip it so that the front is right side out.

One technique that is helpful when working in the round, especially for amigurumi, are invisible decreases. These single crochet decreases look the same as regular single crochet stitches.

This is great since crocheting amigurumi in the round gives you a smooth single crochet textured front.

Find your next new pattern to crochet from these free crochet patterns. I enjoy creating free patterns for easy making.

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