Total newbie question! WS/RS?

So, I’ve already knit my first garter stitch scarf, but I really need someone to explain the Right Side/Wrong Side concept. If RS or WS appears in a pattern, do you do anything about it? How can you tell RS or WS on a garter stitch piece, or stockingette piece? Do they matter at all? When you cast on (using long-tail or “knitting on”), do you always automatically start with a WS row? What if a pattern says “start with a RS row”? Do you just naturally do that when you knit, or do you actually have to be conscious of making yourself knit on the Right or Wrong side?

I’m just completely lost. :slight_smile: Thank you!


The right side is the outside of a garment, or the part of a scarf that has the pattern. A garter stitch scarf has no right side or wrong side, and a garter stitch sweater only has a right side/wrong side when you start shaping for where the arms and neck are.

In stockinette, the flat side with the v’s is the right side and the purl side is the wrong side. In reverse stockinette, the reverse is true, naturally.

After you cast on, the first row you knit is the first row of the pattern, whether it’s the right side or the wrong side. Usually a pattern tells you rs/ws more as a way of orienting you to where you are. As your pattern develops it becomes obvious which is the rs/ws.