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THE Foolproof method : find the Right Side in garter stitch

Garter stitch is the favorite knitting for beginners. Once the cast-on is made and the kit stitches are under control, you just need to repeat them all the time ! But when it's time to find the right side of the wrong side and count the rows, things get complicated. It becomes complicated because in garter stitch, the 2 sides of your knitting look alike because of the mirror effect of knit and purl stitches. The question then arises: how to efficiently and systematically identify the right and wrong side of my knitting and therefore have a precise row count? In itself, because the 2 sides look alike, it's not too dramatic not to find the right and the wrong side. Because when counting the rows, the difference will be 1 row more or less which is quite negligible on a knitted fabric. BUT ! Because one day it will matter, because you are a beginner (or even experienced) this is the ideal time to take or find the good habits to learn to do things correctly. In this post, I offer you THE ideal method to identify the right side form the wrong side of your knitting, without error, without headache, without depending on your cast-on and the final position of your "end of skein" yarn. To help you better visualize everything I'm going to tell you about, here is the Youtube video:

Summary of the aspect of knit and purl stitches

For more details concerning this part, do not hesitate to read this post again!

The knit stitches

Once you finish to work a knit stitch, it forms a small "v" and creates a hollow on the right side of the stitch (not the fabric). This same stitch observed on the reverse side of the piece, formed a "wavelet" and created a ridge.

The Purl stitches

Once you finish to work a purl stitch, it forms a "wavelet" and creates a ridge on the right side of the stitch (not necessary the right side of the fabric). This same purl stitch observed on the back, formed a "v" and creates a hollow.

The right side of a knit stitch is the wrong side of a purl stitch, vice versa!

The look of Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is a fabric "textured", the structure of a knit or purl stitches (as seen earlier) create relief... The stitches on the right and wrong sides are mirrors and it is their own structure which will create the hollows (the "v") and the ridges ("wavelet") and which will give the garter stitch an identical appearance whatever side we look at. BUT, there is an always but, since it is possible to work the garter stitch with 2 different stitches it is then possible to distinguish them.

Don't rely on the position of the "end of skein" thread

You could rely on the position of the yarn at the cast-on to determine which side is your right side. But it is not reliable. Some says that "if your "end of skein" thread is on the right side of your sample when you are about to work a row, then you have in front of you the right side of your knitting". This sentence is true, but it is not systematic!! For now we will have to take my word for it, but for the 2 samples that we see here 👇, we see their right sides.

Sample of Garter Stitch with end of skein thread on the right and on the lieft sides.

And yet, the "end of skein" thread is on the left for the beige sample and on the right for the green...

It is due to the fact that 2 different cast-on were used ! For the beige sample, I used the knitted method while for the green I used the long-tail. When casting on stitches with the knitted methed, the "end of skein" thread is only used for the first stitch. All the others stitches are made with the "skein thread". The "end of skein" thread stays on the left side while the skein thread goes to the right side.

In the long-tail cast-on, both thread are used at the same time. So, when I get to the last stitch, I have on the right side of the sample my skein thread AND the "end of ball" thread. As you can see the position of the end of skein thread is not always working, so it's time to share how you can do!

Find the Right Side

In garter stitch made by knitting all stitches

I know I have said it a lot, over and over and still repeating it here. But trust me, it's the key of finding te right side of your piece ! On the right side, a stitch knit create a "v" and a hollow. Why am I so heavy with this story ?? If your project is always knitted, immediately after your cast-on, then the first thing you need to find is:


It is more obvious on the beige sample than on the green (on the photo above), we can clearly see the cast-on and the first hollow created by my knit stitches. On the green sample, there is indeed a depression between the cast-on is the following crest.

Comparison between right side and wrong side in a knitted garter stitch

In garter stitch made by purling the stitches

The exact same logic applieson purled garter stitch. On its right side, a purl stitch makes a wavelet - the ridge.

Therefore, the right side is where you can see

THE FIRST WAVELET MADE ON THE FIRST ROW directly above the cast-on.
Right Side of a Purl garter stitch sample

That's it.

There is no difficulty, no big secret. You just need to remember what a knit or a purl stitch looks like and which stitch you are working. With knowing what to look for YOU are able to find by yourself the right side and the wrong side.

Try it at home, cast-on a few stitches with different technics, knit and purl some garter stitch. You look for the right/wrong side !

How to count rows ?

As for counting the rows, you just need to take your knitting on its right side. And you count each of the hollows (knitted from right side) and all ridges (knitted from the wrong side). Or count 2 by 2 the crests, since between each crest, you have a hollow.

How many rows are on this sample ?

What do you think? Which side are you seeing? How many rows were worked?

Feel free to leave a response in the comment ;)

See you soon!! Sidney

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