Earlier this year I was out shopping with the Mr. and stumbled upon what, at that time, was a treasured find: eight cakes of Lion Brand Mandala yarn. These were sold out across the country. I’d seen them in the store, but had always resisted purchasing any. This was different. They had clearance labels on them. I loaded my arms with all eight of the cakes. There was no way I was going to pass this up. Yarn is my weakness to begin with. Clearance yarn… clearance yarn is my kryptonite.
Obviously, by this time, yarn cakes had been around a while. I’d only ogled them at the stores before this, but I’d heard a lot about them on social media. And what I’d heard was some pretty mixed reviews. While many were excited to use them and sing their praises, many others couldn’t wait to tell you how horrible the color changes were. It was about impossible to have any conversation about yarn cakes without hearing complaints about that abrupt color change. Still, the cakes continued to sell out. So I had to figure there must be something to them, right?
Now, when it comes to yarn, I’m an optimist. I believe it all has a place in the world of crochet (and knitting). So I maintained my optimism and decided to figure out how these cakes fit into my world.
No sooner did I get my treasures home than the ideas starting flowing. Pretty soon, Granny Golightly was born, and along with her a new idea without a name that was eventually dubbed Shadowcat.
What I found – and this is entirely my own opinion – is that the “abrupt color changes” can work exceptionally well with the right pattern and Shadowcat is my proof. The color changes don’t follow the pattern in this shawl, but with the strong lines and geometric shapes it actually adds to the design. You could always grab a few balls of solid color yarn and make this pattern with stripes that follow the lines and triangles, but – again, in my own opinion – you’d lose something, not gain. The slight hint of chaos in the color stripes balances out the very neat and orderly geometry of the shawl.
A similar thing happens in Granny Golightly:
At this point in my cake journey I’m smitten. I’m buying cakes left and right. But I’m also realizing that there is a bit of compromise to be had. While many are still uneasy with the “abrupt color change,” others have accepted it and let things be what they are. Not all patterns are going to hide it or use it to their advantage. And, that’s okay. I think there will always be a split between those who adore yarn cakes and those who would rather have control over their colors. And, that’s okay too. There is a place for every yarn in our world.
With cakes on the brain (and quite a few in my stash), I’ll be presenting patterns and blog posts featuring the yarny confections. You’ve already been introduced to Granny Golightly, the infinity scarf or cowl that was my first cake creation and is a free pattern here on my blog.
Now, let me re-introduce you to Shadowcat – an infinity shawl that is fun to make, but even more fun to style.
I’ve explained how well the Lion Brand Mandala yarn works will this pattern, and I’m pleased to say it only takes one cake to create this piece. So, here’s what else makes Shadowcat so special: it’s wide like a shawl, but it’s looped like an infinity scarf. The loop keeps the shawl on your shoulders and actually gives you more styling opportunity. Here’s just four ways I’ve styled it (pinned shawl; infinity scarf; back cowl; and mobius wrap).
Shadowcat is probably the most ‘me’ thing I’ve ever designed. I love geometric designs with a modern feel. Also, it’s light and airy – so it’s great indoors and for fall or spring – and it’s definitely a statement piece.
Next up is Rogue – a lacy scarf or shawl pattern.
Rogue was originally designed just for Caron Cakes – the O.G. cake, some might say – and as a scarf. The scarf version uses just one Caron Cake, including fringe. This yarn is warm and soft. The pattern is lacy without being overly complicated, which is on purpose to work with the self-striping yarn and blend the color changes a bit. (Colorway pictured here is Cake Pop.)
But it also works fabulously as a shawl. Here I’ve used just two Caron Cakes (in Red Velvet) to create a very snuggly shawl. I’ve been wearing this one around the house while I work. It’s light enough to drape over my shoulders, but the yarn is so snuggly that it’s like a mini blanket. Plus, this colorway is a stunner.
After I made the above version of Rogue, I thought I’d like to see one in Lion Brand Mandala cakes. So I worked out some stitch counts and measurements to adjust for the Mandala’s DK weight from the Caron’s Aran. I have to tell you – about halfway through this shawl I was panicking. It is SO bright.
I chose the colorway Wizard because I had so much of it and I couldn’t justify buying new cakes when I have so many waiting patiently in my stash. But it was so bright. And that yellow was so harsh. I thought I’d really screwed up, but I’d invested so many hours already, I went ahead and finished it and hoped for the best. I’m pretty thrilled I did.
It’s still crazy bright – but in a happy sort of way. It really does make me feel like a wizard. And now, I’m looking for every opportunity to show it off.
If you purchase on Ravelry, you can get both shawls for the price of one. Use coupon code: shawlBOGO
Fine Print: Discount is valid until 11:59pm, PST, November 19, 2017. Please make sure the discount was applied to your purchase before checking out. No returns, refunds, or exchanges due to the nature of the content. I reserve the right to change the terms of the promotion at any time without notice. Please see copyright section before buying these patterns.
Thanks for taking a peek at my latest creations. I hope you’re excited to give them a try and see what a couple cakes can do.
I’m excited to bring you more and I already have several things on my cake-covered hook.
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