How to Find Right and Wrong Side in Crochet

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 27 Comments

Have you ever seen a crocheted item displayed wrong side out? The worst case I ever came across ironically was inside a craft store. I came across a crocheted doily, and it was displayed wrong side up! I cannot believe my eyes; the doily even had Irish crochet roses on the border. It should have been too easy to tell the front from the back, with a three-dimensional design element.

So how do we tell the two sides apart? It can be difficult, specially when the item is made in the round–the two sides could look identical at first glance. Let’s take a look:

Sc in the round - Front

Sc in the round - Back


The photos above show the front and back side of crochet made in the round, all in single crochet stitches. The sides look very similar, save for the tail end of the work (which usually shows up in the back). But this distinguishing feature disappears when the ends are woven in–what then? We take a closer look:

Sc front - closeup

Sc back - closeup

There are a number of differences we can see now–the front really does look neater than the back of the work. The front of the work shows the neat v’s of the sc stitches; the back shows not only the v of the stitches, but also the uneven dashes above the v’s.

Dc in the round - Front

Dc in the round - Back

The photos above show all double crochet stitches worked in the round. Again, not much difference from the front and the back of the work save for the tail end.

Dc front - closeup

Dc back – closeup

Upon closer inspection, though, we see that the front again looks neater than the back. There appear to be visibly raised ridges on the back of the work; the front looks more even.

So what can we do to stop people from showcasing crocheted items inside out? For clothing or accessories, crocheters can put labels on the wrong side–this makes the item look more professionally done, too.

Then again, not all people care about this issue. Specially if the crocheted item is more functional than ornamental–if it works, why bother it?

What do you think? Have you had a similar experience, or are even guilty of the crime? Let me know what you think!

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27 Comments

  1. Jen says:

    I don’t like the back side of something sc’d. But I do like the look of the dc from either side. So, I just pick which one I like best. :)

  2. Sophie says:

    So, here’s the thing. I’ve been crocheting for over 5 years and I ALWAYS flip my work inside out or display the “back”. I just like the “wrong side” of my work better. I am left handed, could this have something to do with it?

  3. Jennifer says:

    I actually am working on a granny square afghan and halfway through I realized I had one of the squares backwards when I pieced part of it together. It’s my first afghan though, so I’m cutting myself some slack ;)

  4. Grace says:

    I, too, sometimes display the wrong side out on purpose. Occasionally it is an accident, but sometimes I just like the way the texture looks on the back so I’ll use it as the “front”.

    I can’t tell what is the wrong side and right side when you have to flip the work working in rows. They look the same to me, so I choose whichever side has the fewest amount of mistakes showing.

  5. Cheryl says:

    It depends on which side best suits the look of the finished product of what ever I am making. I check both sides. Usually the “correct” side wins but sometimes the back side gets the nod.

  6. wendy says:

    Confession? I didn’t even realise there was a front and a back! I’ve been making grannies for a blanket and I don’t even know if I have stuck to front and back with each round, I could have turned it. And… oh no, what about the baby blanket I’ve almost finished?? Does it show up on US sc / UK dc as well?

  7. Paula says:

    I made a very colorful blanket for my birthday once and used a stitch called “the hump granny” to do the border with. At the time it was a pain to get it done but the finished product looked great. Everytime someone uses that blanket they have it wrong side up and I have to tell them that they have it wrong and I make them turn it over the right way…LOL…I didn’t use that stitch to have it not seen properly. My husband thinks I’m nuts and that it shouldn’t matter. But, when you put time and effort into a project it should be displayed correctly (even if it’s just being used as a cover!)

  8. Diana says:

    For the most part, I think it’s a matter of preference. Also, when crocheting many pieces, i.e., granny squares, doesn’t the turn negate a right and wrong side? For example, crochet one round, slip stitch, chain two and TURN. Now you are crocheting opposite of the row you just stitched. So, my feeling in this case is that there is no wrong or right side. It’s just a matter of preference.

  9. Valarie says:

    I think some people cannot tell the difference between the right side and the wrong side. Myself, I like the look of any stitch on the right side much better. So much so, that many times I will opt for a type of pattern that allows me to put all the “right sides” of the stitches on the same side of the piece. Some patterns, like a granny square for example, do not require that the work be “turned” to continue. In which case, all the stitches will be the right side on one side. Another example would be a scarf pattern that can be turned into a cowl and worked around instead of back and forth.

  10. Beth says:

    I try and make my things reversible. On granny squares, I turn every row. ( though the center may dictate right side)

    Showing the wrong side or having a corner turned up may showcase how well the tails are hidden or the even workmanship in the piece…However seeing knitting & crochet mixed up is frustrating…for example displaying granny squares with a pair of knitting needles stuck in them!

  11. Heidi says:

    The worst case I ever saw was on the Lion Brand website. Under their stitch library they have a pattern for a flower centered motif… it has been photographed with the wrong side up… And they don’t care!

    Heidi

  12. Rachel,
    I love your blogs newsletter’s are what ever they are. Would like to give you my veiw point.
    some of the back sides are prettier than the front or just as . But that is just an old lady’s point of view that has crocheted for over fifty years and still love it.
    Carol

  13. Jana says:

    Hi. I never much worried about right and wrong sides before. I was crocheting ami’s with the wrong side out for over two years. UNTIL I learned how to do the invisible decrease stitch! I complained to June, the person I learned from, that it was NOT invisible at all, that I had these ugly BARS showing! LOL! Turned out that if you are using the InvDec, than you MUST be on the right side of your work for it to be so! Now, if I am going to be doing something where I will be decreasing, I just pay attention to that “tail”. So far so good with amis, hats, baby sweater, etc. Other than this issue, I agree with others that it’s a matter of preference.

  14. Kat says:

    I have worked some patterns where I couldn’t tell after weaving in the ends which was front and which was back. Some patterns or combination of stitches give away the details of which side is “right” or front better than others. Whether or not it matters all depends on the finished product. If it’s something delicate like a doily or something with flowers or hearts in it then I think it matters. If it’s a hot pad that’s going to end up underneath a casserole, who cares. I gave a friend a hot pad once. It was wrapped in a nice little box for her. Somehow in pulling it out it ended up upside down (wrong side up). She thought it was just lovely. I haven’t had the heart to tell her she’s using it “wrong”. She likes it that way and that’s all that matters. :-)

  15. Freya says:

    Hi I’m a little confused as to where the V of the stitches appears. Perhaps drawing a line on the photo to indicate the V, and the dash above the V, would be useful?

  16. Sharon says:

    “right side, wrong side” your side, my side……. being creative allows us to appreciate our work whatever side we like : )

  17. Mary Housel says:

    I guess I’m still new to crochet, because I’m still having trouble seeing the wrong and right side…and the fact that I’m left-handed and things always look different to me also confuses me…I have to be honest- I can’t tell the difference! Even looking at my grandmother’s crocheted blankets (she was right-handed) I can’t see the right or wrong side…

    Anyone else who can give some help, I’d greatly appreciate it!

    One more thing- when you’re crocheting, and it’s left-handed, is the tail on the left considered right-side (the side you started with??) or is it when the tail is on the right?

    And how can there be a “right” side if you’re crocheting in the round (never done a granny square, but I’m assuming based on the comments that it’s in the round)…so confusing!!

    • Claire says:

      Hello Mary, I think for the most part you were talking about pieces that are worked back in forth in rows. For those projects, there is no clear right or wrong side–unless a decorative border is done (and even then it’s easy to mistake the WS for the RS). For granny squares, you can be working in the round, but still turn your work after every row–that makes it not have a right or wrong side either! In some cases though, we work stitches completely in the round, with all stitches made facing you as you work.

  18. packrat1 says:

    Most things I’ve read say to just be consistent of which side you want as the right side. Obviously if you piece together even plain pieces it will be noticeable if you are not.

    And patterned, raised, color changes woven in…. it can make a big difference.

    But if the back side looks better, go for it. On my hats with brims, the edge shows right-side-out and looks better, so I don’t care if the crown is really inside-out as long as it looks nice.

    I tend to weave in my ends so you can’t tell anyway on most of my pieces, so it doesn’t bother me.

    -packrat 1 on Ravelry

  19. Nancy says:

    i am very guilty of this crime,but I am getting better (it’s a work in progress) it does depend on which side looks better to me.When i make my dolls or bears i have to turn the work inside out to get the right side as i crochet left-handed(i’m not saying this goes for all lefties whom crochet)
    I agree with Sharon and packrat1 my friends and family love my works of art either way.

  20. Diana says:

    So, Claire, to clarify for me a little further, and for others, too, I presume, when you work completely in the round without turns the side facing you as you stitch is the right side?

    Also, further back a few comments, mention was made of Invisible Decrease stitches. Is there further explanation/instruction/diagrams-photos on how that is done? I’m not that progressed in my crocheting. She also mentioned AMIs… not familiar with that term, either. Help?

  21. Jackie says:

    After reading all the comments above, I now feel “so not alone”. I’ve been crocheting for about 3 years, learning by watching videos and following stitch diagrams in magazines. I’ve been avoiding trying new patterns that seem to strictly say “right” side versus “wrong” side never really understanding what the fuss was. Well, now I’m just going to go for it and try new things and I will not worry about being wrong. If it looks good and I like it, then it’s right. I really enjoyed reading every comment and will continue to follow “Crochet Spot”. Thank you everyone.

  22. Heidi says:

    DC looks way better on the back. The front is really bold in its hilighting of the rows. If you just want it to look like a solid fabric, the back is way better for that, as the stitches are sorta starburst-y and fill out the space in a more smooth way.

  23. Richard says:

    I am surprised there is so little on this subject. As a knitter there is no dispute which is the RS and WS , not accounting for taste, that is.
    I am looking at a crochet pattern for a granny square/chevron/ripple afghan. Basically it starts with a 7 ROUND granny square (in 3 colors) and then you start to crochet off the opposite corners 7 ROWS of double crochet chevrons. You finish by double crocheting ripples in the valleys of the chevrons. In knitting one would never design a piece that mix the RS and the WS on the same side of the piece. In knitting we convert the rows to rounds by working stitches opposite. Why is this not a principal in crochet–not even discussed. It is true that RS and WS of double crochet are not that different, but still. I think that if I am going to make this afghan I will crochet the center granny square by turning the work so that it matches the rest of the piece.

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