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Knitting swatches with Bamboo Pop Sock and Knit Picks needles

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 mentioned the vast array of self-patterning striped and solid colors available in Bamboo Pop Sock, making the possibilities endless. Today, rather than a pool cue to manipulate my Stripes and Solids, I’m using both fixed and interchangeable Knit Picks circular needles to knit some swatches.

All circular knitting needles are not created equal and quite often, some are better than others depending upon the type of yarn you use. The tip and material of the needle, the flexibility and size of the cord, and the transition from the cord to the needle are all factors that contribute to the ease and enjoyment of your knitting.

Here’s a close-up view of the three needles I’m using this week.

Knit Picks fixed and interchangeable circular knitting needles in 3 different sizes and lengths.

L – R Knit Picks fixed US1.5 [2.5mm] Nickel Plated and US3 [3.25mm] Rainbow; US4 [3.5] Nickel Plated Interchangeable circular knitting needles

The recommended gauge for the yarn is 30sts x 36 rows = 4” [10cm] using a US1 [2.25mm] needle. I usually use a 2.5mm needle when making socks as this is my comfort needle size. I’ll go up or down a size if needed based on the gauge or fabric I’m trying to achieve, but for this project, I’ll start with the size I’m most comfortable with. Just a side note, Knit Picks refers to a 2.5mm needle as a US1, but also refers to a 2.25mm as a US1. According to an online conversion chart, 2.25mm equates to a US1.5, which is how I’ll refer to it throughout these posts.

I decided to use the same number of stitches for each of my swatches to make a good comparison between the gauge and drape of fabric – 30 stocking stitches, 2 garter edge stitches plus 1 slipped stitch edge stitch = 36 stitches cast on, however, the number of rows varied for each swatch.

3 swatches of Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock with different needle sizes.

3 Swatches of Bamboo Pop Sock using the same stitch count, but different sizes of needles

Swatch 1

US1.5 [2.5mm] 32” Nickel-plated needle, Wildflowers

Measured gauge over stocking stitch: 30sts x 45 rows = 3⅝” [9.25cm]

Bamboo Pop Sock in Wildflowers for my 1st swatch.

Swatch 1 – US1.5 [2.5mm] needle yield = 30sts x 45 rows = 3 5/8” [9.25cm]

I wouldn’t have achieved the recommended gauge with a US1 [2.25mm] needle since 30sts measured less than 4” with a slightly larger needle. I intend to knit a pair of socks with this needle size, and quite frankly, I’m happy with the tight gauge as I have a very small foot … more about that tomorrow.

I wanted to see how the stripe pattern looked over 30sts. This gives me the idea that the stripes on my sock should be about half the size of the swatch.

Swatch 2

US3 [3.25mm] 24” Rainbow needle, Equator (Solid)

Measured gauge over stocking stitch: 29sts x 40 rows = 4” [10cm]

Bamboo Pop Sock Solids in Equator for my 2nd swatch.

Swatch 2 – US3 [3.25mm] needle yield = 29sts x 40 rows = 4” [10cm]

This is the closest to gauge I was able to achieve. Even though the row count is off, it shouldn’t be a factor for my projects as row gauge is not that important. As someone who normally prefers metal needles, I was quite impressed with the Rainbow needle. The stitches moved easily on the wood and I really liked the point. Even though Equator is a solid color, the squiggles in the yarn give it a textured effect, even in stocking stitch.

Swatch 3

US4 [3.5 mm] 32” Interchangeable Nickel-plated needle, Morning Glory

Measured gauge over stocking stitch: 27sts x 36 rows = 4” [10cm]

Bamboo Pop Sock in Morning Glory for my 3rd swatch.

Swatch 3 – US4 [3.5mm] needle yield = 27sts x 36 rows = 4” [10cm]

This needle size created a lightweight fabric which I think is appropriate for two of my planned projects. Even though the tip of my interchangeable needles is not as pointed as the newer fixed circulars, they still worked very well in picking the stitch. Once again, the 30sts swatch gave me an indication of what I can expect when I double up the number of stitches for my project.

Now that my swatches are complete, I’m ready to begin my projects for the week. As mentioned at the beginning, Bamboo Pop Sock is great for knitting socks, accessories, baby knits, and more. I hope you’ll join me tomorrow as I begin by knitting a pair of socks for myself with Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock and my Knit Picks circular needles.

Bowl of Bamboo Pop Sock in 2 self-patterning and 2 solid colors, along with Knit Picks fixed circular knitting needles and a new fragrance of Soak in Wild Mint

Bamboo Pop Sock in colors Morning Glory, Wildflowers, Equator and Jam

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Colorful yarns, pleasurable knitting needles and gentle laundry products

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


1 comment

Pamela March 27, 2023 - 12:38 am

Hi, thanks for the information! Does the Bamboo Pop Sock yarn shrink when washed?


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