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 put the Knit Picks needles to the test with both the Striped and Solid colors of Bamboo Pop Sock to knit some swatches. Today I’m knitting a pair of socks using the self-patterning color Wildflowers.
I love making socks. I usually have a pair on the needles in my purse so they travel with me everywhere. You never know when you have to wait for an appointment or sit in the passenger seat of a plane, train, or automobile with nothing to do. I just pull out my sock and start knitting. It almost always attracts attention from someone and starts up a conversation. It’s a great way to pass the time.
I first learned how to make socks over 20 years ago from a group knit-a-long. The pattern we used was more of a formula for sock construction. Whenever I teach someone to make socks, I share this same formula with them to get them started. I still have my first pair of socks even though the toes are getting rather thin. I have some of the yarn left so one of these days, I’ll reknit the toes. That’s the advantage of making top-down socks; you can reknit the toes if needed.
The other way to knit socks is toe up, which is the method I prefer for myself as I can try them on as I go and determine when it’s time to turn the heel. There are also different methods for turning the heel – short rows, with a gusset, afterthought heel, and Aladdin heel to name a few. I usually use a short row heel for myself because it fits my foot better. You also need to ensure that you use a stretchy cast off technique when doing toe up socks. A traditional cast off can be restrictive on your leg so I use Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off that utilizes Yarn Overs and Reverse Yarn Overs depending upon whether the next stitch is a knit or a purl.
Bamboo Pop Sock is ideal for warm weather, but I only wear socks in the warmer months when I’m out for a walk or golfing. The following pattern is a toe-up, short row heel version designed to fit my foot. You can easily take this pattern and make it larger by adding more stitches and rows to fit your foot. I’m using the Magic Loop method with the Knit Picks US1.5 [2.5mm] 32” circular needle and Wildflowers, which is a self-patterning striped version of Bamboo Pop Sock. As such, I want to keep any knit patterning to a minimum as the yarn is doing all the talking, so to speak. I’ve opted for a 2×2 rib as my knit pattern.
If you recall from yesterday, the gauge I achieved with my chosen needle size was 30sts = 3 5/8”, which is perfect for my foot. Socks should have a negative ease; meaning the socks should be approximately ½” – 1” smaller than your foot in length and width. Many patterns call for 60sts to fit an average ladies’ foot, but my foot is smaller than average. I usually have to cast on fewer stitches, but not this time. The following instructions are how I made my socks.
- 1 3.5oz [100g] ball of Bamboo Pop Sock in Wildflowers
- 32” US1.5 [2.5mm] circular needle for magic loop or double pointed needles or 2 circulars
33sts = 4” in stocking stitch (approximately)
K = Knit
P = Purl
St(s) = Stitch(es)
K2tog – Knit 2 stitches together
Inc = Increase
Rep = Repeat
Rnd = Round
Sl = Slip the stitch purl-wise
M1 = Make 1 stitch by picking up the bar between the two stitches and knitting it through the back loop
W&T = Wrap & Turn by wrapping the yarn around the next stitch without working it.
YO = Yarn Over, also referred to as a regular YO.
RYO = Reverse Yarn Over – With yarn in back, bring it over the top of the right needle and then take it to the back.
Judy’s Magic Cast On – YouTube link to detailed tutorial by Judy Becker
Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off – YouTube link to detailed tutorial by Cat Bordhi
Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, cast on 6sts on each needle leaving a lengthy tail.
Rnd 1: Knit each stitch.
Rnd 2: Using both the working yarn and the tail, knit each stitch (12sts increased).
Rnd 3: Knit each stitch, separating the double stitches created on the previous round (24 sts).
Rnd 4: *K4, M1; repeat from * to end of round (6sts inc = 30 sts).
Rnd 5 and 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: *K5, M1; repeat from * to end of round (6sts inc = 36sts).
Rnd 8 and 9: Knit.
Rnd 10: *K6, M1; repeat from * to end of round (6sts inc = 42sts).
Rnd 11 and 12: Knit.
Rnd 13: *K7, M1; repeat from * to end of round (6sts inc = 48sts).
Rnd 14 and 15: Knit.
Rnd 16: *K8, M1; repeat from * to end of round (6sts inc = 54sts).
Rnd 17 and 18: Knit.
Rnd 19: *K9, M1; repeat from * to end of round (6sts inc = 60sts).
Rnd 17 and 18: Knit.
Continue increasing in this fashion to the desired number of stitches.
Start the foot
1st needle (top of foot): *P2, K2, repeat from * ending with P2
2nd needle (bottom of foot): Knit
Continue working the foot until when slightly stretched, it just about reaches the start of your heel. Remember, you want the foot of the sock to be shorter than your actual foot.
Start the heel
Work across the top of foot sts.
Knit to 1 st before last stitch of bottom foot sts; W&T.
Sl wrapped st & Purl across to 1 st before last st; W&T.
Sl wrapped st & Knit to 1 st before last wrapped st; W&T.
Sl wrapped st & Purl to 1 st before last wrapped st; W&T.
Continue working heel sts in this fashion until 10 (1/3 of total heel sts) remain.
Sl wrapped st & Knit to 1st wrap, pick up wrap with the st and knit together; W&T.
Sl wrapped st & Purl to 1st wrap, pick up wrap with the st & purl together; W&T.
Sl wrapped st & Knit to next wrap, pick up both wraps with the st & knit together; W&T.
Sl wrapped st & Purl to next wrap, pick up both wraps with the st & purl together; W&T.
Continue in this fashion until all wraps have been worked on the Knit side; there will still be a wrapped stitch at the start of the row.
Pattern across the top of the foot.
Pick up both wraps with the 1st stitch of the heel and knit them together. Knit across the row, then work 1 more round of pattern on the top of the foot and knit across the heel.
Knit the leg
Work in pattern across all stitches (P2, K2 to end of round) until desired length.
Note: The traditional cast off can be restrictive on the leg. Using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off with Yarn Overs adds stretch to the cast off to ensure it remains comfortable on your leg.
YO, P1, Pass YO over; YO, P1, pass YO and st over; [RYO, K1, pass YO and st over] twice; [YO, P1, pass YO and st over] twice; continue casting off in this fashion until all stitches have been cast off.
Weave in all ends and repeat the entire pattern for the 2nd sock.
The yarn is very stretchy, so the fit of these socks to my foot is perfect. Notice how the 2×2 rib pattern doesn’t interfere with the self-patterning stripes. Also, I don’t worry about the socks matching perfectly. I just start the next sock right after the 1st one is completed. Another point to note is that the striping effect is different when you turn the heel. One method for keeping the stripes consistent is to use a Bamboo Pop Solid on the toes and heel, however, this requires a few changes to the last 2 rounds of the heel instructions as you don’t want to carry the solid across the front of the sock. The Knit Picks fixed 32” circular needles performed very well for the Magic Loop with its flexible cord, pointed tips, and smooth transition of the yarn from the cord to the needle.
Now that my socks are complete, it’s time to move on to baby knits. Please join me tomorrow as I knit an adorable T-shirt using Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock in a self-patterning stripe and a solid.