To cut the cake?… or not to cut the cake? That is the question. I’ll be getting into that soon in this article all about yarn cakes, along with some other tips for working with these colorful yarn gems. I enjoy getting more creative with some of my crochet and knit pieces so I appreciate the convenience of having the color transitions in these self striping yarns and the color palettes they bring to my projects. So… let’s talk yarn cakes!
What Is A Yarn Cake?
What is a yarn cake? Well, as the name suggests, yarn cakes are wound in a certain way that resembles the shape of a cake. I am sure you have seen them all over the shelves, among the other skeins of yarn, at your local yarn shops and craft stores. While yarn cakes can be made up of a single color yarn, they are most often, made up of multiple colors that transition throughout the cake. When you work with these yarns, they let your project flow, organically, from one color to another in a striping effect, hence the term “self striping yarn.”
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Cut The Cake Or Not To Cut The Cake?
This is the question that inspired this post, besides my general love for working with yarn cakes of course. In some of the groups I belong to online, facebook groups mostly, this has become a never ending debate. Surprisingly, I have even seen heated debates over this, which I think is a bit crazy because it all really just boils down to personal preference. For me, it depends on the project I am working on and where I want the color transitions to be. I have done plenty of projects where I “let it flow,” meaning I let the colors change wherever they happen to change as I am working from the cake. I have also done many projects where I cut up the cakes and separate colors so that I have more control over where my colors change and the order of the colors themselves.
Some would argue that cutting up the cakes defeats the purpose of the
Even if you cut your yarn cakes and separate the colors, it is still cheaper to have all the colors in that cakes’s color palette, than buying skeins of all those colors individually. I love working with DK weight yarns so the Lion Brand Mandala yarn cakes are some of my favorites. The colorways, which is the term for the color palette, come in fun color schemes from bright and bold to more neutral and earthy. I also love the texture of the yarn and the way the DK yarns work better for more intricate patterns, because they are less bulky than most types.
Cutting my yarn cakes allows me to mix up the colors from several cakes and even to make custom gradients, with varying shades of a color. Cutting them also leaves me with lots of leftover yarn balls of various colors which I then have in the stash for later projects where I can create my own color schemes.
Working With The Yarn Cakes
Some people prefer to pull from the center of the cake when working. I like to pull the yarn from the outside, because even though pulling from the center can help you have a more steady tension, it seems to tangle more from the center, as you get further into the cake. Again, this is all a matter of personal preference.
If you need to skip over certain
If you want to pull from the outside instead of from the center, prevent tangling and help yourself keep a more steady tension, try cutting the top half off of a milk jug, punching a hole just big enough for the yarn, and threading the yarn through it. Because of the way the cakes are shaped, when you pull to unravel yarn from them, they can spin around and roll or fall off whatever surface you have them resting on. Placing them in this makeshift yarn holder, keeps them contained as they spin about. If you want, you could always purchase a yarn bowl, but would need to make sure to get one large enough to hold yarn cakes. I love this yarn bowl for the size, the design, and the wood used.
If you aren’t ready to invest in a fancy yarn bowl, and simple and cheap is more “up your alley” try the jug trick I use for the yarn cakes because it’s easy, quick…. and free to make!
Making Your Own Yarn Cakes
Making your own yarn cakes is always an option. It is a neat and efficient way to wind your yarn to lessen your chances of tangling and to help keep a good tension when working. To do this, you will need to purchase a wool winder, sometimes also called a yarn winder or ball winder. Most of them are simple devices that you thread the yarn through and use a crank to wind the yarn in the typical yarn cake manner. Pretty simple if you choose to go that route. The one I own and recommend is….
Some Brands Of Yarn Cakes To Try…
I have put together a list of some of the brands and their lines of yarn cakes that I have tried. These range in yarn weight/type from very fine to chunky yarns so I will note for you which type each of them is. Some of them, have only three colors in the colorway, some of them have more than three.
The Caron Cakes are exclusive to Michaels Art Stores (unless buying online of course), Lion Brand Mandala, besides online, can be purchased at your local Wal-mart stores.
This is not an all-inclusive list of yarn cakes available, but some of the more
- Lion Brand
Mandala :#3 weight yarn / DK
- Lion Brand Cupcakes
Yarn :#3 Light Weight yarn / DK
- Lion Brand
Wool Ease Cakes :#3 Light Weight yarn / DK
- Lion Brand Shawl In A
Cake :#4 Medium weight yarn / Worsted
- Caron Cakes
Yarn :#4 Medium Weight yarn / Worsted
- Caron Big
Cakes :#4 Medium weight yarn/ Worsted
- Caron Chunky
Cakes :#6 Super Bulky Weight yarn
- Bernat Pop! : #4 Medium Weight yarn / Worsted
- Sweet Roll by Premier
Yarns :#4 Medium Weight yarn / Worsted
- Premier DK Colors
Yarn :#3 Light Weight yarn / DK Sheepjes Whirl :Fingering weight.
If you are curious about working with yarn cakes, I hope you found this post helpful. You can really make some amazing things with cake yarn and there is certainly no shortage of colorways and types of yarn that come in cake form available both online and in stores. Writing this post is getting the creative juices flowing and has me brainstorming some new colorful projects to try for me and my little girls, speaking of whom, are just waking up from naptime. So I am going to wrap up this post, and my yarn daydreams and move on to lunch making and cartoons, and my daily workout chasing babies around. Hope you drop through and visit me here on the blog again soon. If you are new to the world of crochet, check out my post 11 Crochet Tips For Beginners. And don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter to keep up with all the goings on here at The Stitch Vixen.