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Bamboo Pop Sock knits up an adorable striped T-shirt [free pattern]

by Cindy O'Malley

This week, I’m knitting with Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock, which is a stretchy, vibrant, and colorful, self-patterning yarn that’s 100% wool free. This is a great yarn for making cheerful warm weather socks, accessories, baby knits, and more.

Yesterday, I made a pair of toe-up socks with Bamboo Pop Sock in Wildflowers using the Magic Loop method and Knit Picks 32” circular needles. Today I’m knitting an adorable T-Shirt for a friend’s, soon to arrive, baby using both a self-patterning and solid color of Bamboo Pop Sock.

Two balls of Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock in Morning Glory and Equator

Bamboo Pop Sock in self-patterning Morning Glory and solid Equator

I found a free pattern for an adorable little T-shirt (Spot the Tee) designed for Bamboo Pop, which is a different weight of yarn than Bamboo Pop Sock. It calls for a gauge of 21sts = 4” [10cm] using a US4 [3.5mm] needle, and I know from swatching on Day 2, that my gauge is 27sts = 4” [10cm]. I was happy with the resulting fabric at that gauge, but don’t want to go any higher in my needle size. This means, I need to do some math to adjust the stitch count to fit my gauge.

A small white speckled knitted t-shirt with green trims spread out on a wooden background; Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock

Adorable little T-shirt made with Bamboo Pop Sock yarn

Fortunately, this pattern includes the schematics and measurements for all sizes. I’m making the smallest size (3 – 6 mo), so all I need to do is take each of the measurements and multiply it by the number of stitches per inch of my gauge; in this case, I used 7sts / inch. I don’t have to be concerned with the row gauge as the instructions are written to work until x”, and not by number of rows.

After doing all the math, I realized that if I make the second largest size (4-6 yr) by stitch count, I’ll get the smallest size (3 – 6 mo). Perfect, however, I need to follow the length instructions for the smallest size.

The front and back of the T-shirt are knit separately and seamed together at the sides and shoulders. I’ll knit a project like this often in the round, with a 3-needle bind-off at the shoulders, making it completely seamless. Not this time.

I’m using Morning Glory, which is a self-patterning stripe along with the solid color Equator. The Day 2 swatch was over a total of 36sts. If I were to knit the T-shirt in the round, it would be over 126sts; more than 3 times the number of stitches. Imagine how narrow the stripes would be and may not get a complete stripe of the purple colorway.

Another consideration when using self-patterning yarn is the neckline. When working the front, you need to knit the left and right sides separately, which means fewer stitches and wider stripes, and without adjusting the yarn feed from the ball, they may not match. That would bother me as it wouldn’t look right.

And yet another consideration is when you seam the back and front. The stripes may not line up at the seam unless you start each piece at the same point in the yarn. Again, this is important to me as it does affect the overall finished look.

My solution is to use the solid color from the neckline row on the front, and from the same corresponding point on the back. I’ll also ensure I start each piece from the same color point of the yarn.

Garter stitch produces a slightly wider stitch than stocking stitch. I learned from my swatching exercise on Day 2 that the US3 [3.25mm] needle in garter stitch worked out to be the same width as a US4 [3.5mm] needle in stocking stitch. As such, I chose to use two different needle sizes; the smaller size for the garter stitch sections and the larger size for the stocking stitch sections.

I’m not going to rewrite the entire pattern, but the following instructions are where I deviated from the basic pattern to suit my needs and the knitting needles used for each section.



  • 1 3.5oz [100g] ball each of Bamboo Pop Sock in Morning Glory and Bamboo Pop Sock Solid in Equator.


  • 1 US3 [3.25mm] Knit Picks circular needle for garter stitch sections and 1 US4 [3.5mm] Knit Picks Interchangeable needle for stocking stitch sections.

gauge 27sts = 4” [10cm] in stocking stitch


Work the Front first:

Using US3 [3.25mm] needle and Equator (solid), cast on 64sts.

Work 18 rows in garter stitch (knit every row).

Change to US4 [3.5mm] needles and Morning Glory (stripe) and work in stocking stitch (knit on right side, purl on wrong side) until the Shape Neck instructions.

Change to US3 [3.25mm] needle and with solid color (Equator), follow the instructions for the Left and Right fronts but do not cast off the stitches. Leave the stitches on a stitch holder.

Work the Back by locating the same place of the yarn as you started within the front. In my case, I got really lucky. Here is a picture of the side seam showing how the front and back stripes line up.

Side seam view of the T-shirt showing how the stripes of Morning Glory line up between the front and back.

Side seam of Spot the Tee. The Morning Glory stripes line up between the front and back.

Change to the smaller needle and solid color at the same place you did on the Front. Continue to follow the instructions to the last row, but instead of casting off, use a 3-needle bind off to join the front and back shoulder seams. If you prefer, you can cast off the shoulder stitches on both the front and back and seam them together. Using a 3-needle bind off is not a requirement; just a preference of mine.

I used the smaller needle size for the neck and sleeve edging in Magic Loop, however, my US3 [3.25mm] needle was only 24” which was fine for the sleeves, but a little awkward for the neck. Since I have a 16” circular in my needle stash, I did revert to using it for the neck edge as it was easier. I recommend using a minimum 32” needle for the Magic Loop method.

And now for the finished T-shirt.

A striped knitted t-shirt in blue and green colors; Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock in Morning Glory and Equator

Completed Spot the Tee in Bamboo Pop Sock Morning Glory and Equator

It looks great and my stripes worked out perfectly. If you notice how the front stripes start and end, you’ll see how lucky I was with the yarn for lining up the front to the back. I didn’t have to wind off any yarn to make it work. I chose not to do the pocket as the self-patterning yarn is the highlight. See how the solid sections make the stripes really special – dare I say, too cute for words? I love it.

I took the photograph for my projects at the studio where my Guild resides, and it was spotted by a visitor to the center. She is expecting a great-grandchild any day now and wanted to buy the set, which you will see in my post tomorrow. That made me confident that the couple we intend to gift this to will be just as pleased.

Socks and baby knits down, one more to go – accessories. I hope you’ll join me tomorrow as I knit an adorable summery hat to accompany the T-shirt using Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: Knit custom fitted Toe Up socks with a Magic Loop and Stretchy Bind Off

Go to part 5: Knitting a bucket hat to accessorize the T-shirt [baby pattern]


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