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VIDEO: How to Deconstruct Mandala Yarn Cakes To Design Custom Gradients

This beginner-friendly rainbow crochet cardigan pattern is made from a simple rectangle and includes stripes made from deconstructed Lion Brand Mandala cake yarn.

Put your own spin on any crochet or knit pattern by deconstructing yarn cakes to design stunning gradients. In this video tutorial, you’ll learn how to take apart your Mandala yarn, how to choose colors and plan your gradient step-by-step and how to know if you’ll have enough yarn. (This is the same technique used in the Remix Cardigan. Get the free crochet pattern here!) 

Put your own spin on any crochet or knit pattern with stunning gradients made from deconstructed yarn cakes. In this video tutorial, you'll learn how to deconstruct your Mandala yarn, how to plan the color transitions and how to know if you'll have enough yarn.

This tutorial on how to remix yarn cakes is part of a collaboration with my friends at Lion Brand Yarn. This post contains affiliate links.

Last week I shared the Remix Cardigan pattern in which I deconstructed Lion Brand Mandala yarn to deliberately create a gradient as I crocheted. The whole colorful thing was way out of my neutral-lovin’ comfort zone, but man was it fun! Every bit of it felt like being a kid playing with a box of new oil pastels in art class.

Put your own spin on any crochet or knit pattern with stunning gradients made from deconstructed yarn cakes. In this video tutorial, you'll learn how to deconstruct your Mandala yarn, how to plan the color transitions and how to know if you'll have enough yarn.

So today in this video tutorial, I want to walk you step-by-step through how to create your own gradients with any type of deconstructed yarn cake using some of the tips I figured out with the Remix Cardigan.

The process can be used in almost any crochet or knit pattern and leaves you with surprisingly few ends to weave in. In the video below, we discuss exactly how to choose which yarn cakes to combine, how to deconstruct your Mandala (or other) yarn cake and how to use a simple, inexpensive kitchen scale to plan your gradients and color transitions.

Learn how to deconstruct cake yarn like Lion Brand Mandala or Caron Cakes to form beautiful gradients in your crochet or knit patterns. Color planning worksheet included!WOW! This beautiful draped cardigan is made by remixing cakes of Lion Brand Mandala yarn to form new gradient stripes. There are very few ends to weave in on this beginner-friendly free pattern and tutorial.

If you’re more of a reader than a watcher, scroll down a bit further for additional written notes on deconstructing yarn cakes to form gradients in your crochet or knit patterns. And if you’re altogether more of a write-it-down kind of learner, you can find the a written tutorial with worksheet for planning your Remix Cardigan in the ad-free, printable PDF. It even includes exactly how many grams of yarn you’ll need for each section of the pattern, so you can allocate your colors accordingly. Purchase the PDF here.

Learn how to deconstruct Lion Brand Mandala or Cupcake yarn to form your own gradients or ombre effects in any crochet or knit pattern.

How to Design Gradients with Deconstructed Mandala Yarn Cakes Video Tutorial

Links mentioned in the video:
• YARN: Lion Brand Mandala (original), Lion Brand Mandala Baby and  Lion Brand Cupcake

• The Remix Cardigan free crochet pattern

• The Remix Cardigan ad-free, printable PDF with color planning worksheet

• Deconstructed yarn cake inspo on Instagram: @miramarwoods and @montana.crochet

Make & Do Crew on Instagram

How To Remix Mandala Yarn Cakes Written Tutorial

Important Things to Keep in Mind:
• Let this part be fun! You’re an artist painting with yarn! Try to find joy in the process because whatever you end up will be unique and beautiful in a one-of-a-kind way. 

• You’ll need more yarn than a pattern calls for to crochet or knit a pattern this way because you won’t likely use every inch of a skein. Luckily yarns like Lion Brand Mandala have a ton of yardage for the price, so “wasting” a bit is not going to cost a lot of money. Scroll to the bottom of the post for ideas on how to use your leftover cake yarn!

Gorgeous ombre gradient crochet made with remixed Lion Brand Mandala yarn cakes. Video tutorial from Make and Do Crew.

What Type of Patterns Can I use?
Technically, you can try this deconstructed yarn cake technique on any knit or crochet pattern. If you want to be semi-precise about your gradient or ombre-effect though, working a pattern where most of the rows/rounds have the same number of stitches will help simplify what you’ll learn below. (Essentially this means any pattern based on a rectangle or square will probably work.)

Here are a few free crochet patterns from Make & Do Crew that are perfect candidates for making with deconstructed yarn cakes.

Free crochet patterns to make with yarn cakes like Lion Brand Mandala Yarn.

Revival Scarf / Serenity Vest / Campfire Cardigan / Day Date Cardigan

Which Yarns to Use:
While you can really use this technique with any cake yarn, I’m really excited that Lion Brand has recently released some new yarns that are identical to Mandala in weight and fiber content, so you can combine any of the colors of any of these yarns into one gradient. There are SO many possibilities!

Here are some cake yarns to check out:
Lion Brand Mandala (original)
Lion Brand Mandala Baby
Lion Brand Cupcake

How to Choose Which Colorways To Combine:
This will vary a lot based on your artistic vision, so please don’t feel limited by what I tried with the Remix Cardigan. My approach with that sweater though was to use two different colorways that has similar types of tones, albeit in a wide range of colors. You can see both Pegasus Mandala and Warlock Mandala have lots of reds/oranges, blues/greens and purples that feel like they’re sort of “related” to each other. This allowed my gradient to have a lot of nuanced color transitions within about five main colors.

Learn how to deconstruct cake yarn like Lion Brand Mandala or Caron Cakes to form beautiful gradients in your crochet or knit patterns. Color planning worksheet included!

The Secret Weapon in Planning a Yarn Gradient: A basic kitchen scale can be super helpful in planning your yarn usage. (This is the $10 one I use.) If you don’t have access to a scale, you can still use these technique to plan out the relative gradient you plan to create. The scale just allows you to be more precise.

To Deconstruct Cakes: Deconstruct yarn cakes by winding off each color into its own separate ball. Take care to divide out the blended or transitional colors into their own balls so that each individual color is isolated. (See photo below.) I keep each individual color in its own small ball, so I have a ball of each color from each skein. This allows me to create small gradients within one color if the different cakes happen to vary in dye lot.

Learn how to take apart Lion Brand Mandala yarn to form gradients or ombre patterns. This video tutorial will show you step by step how to use this technique in any crochet or knit pattern.

To calculate weight of one row pattern: Work first 3 row. (Choose color you’d like to have at the beginning of the pattern so that you can  just carry on with the pattern after completing this section.) Weigh those 3 total rows in grams. Divide that number by 3. This equals the approximate amount of yarn in grams needed for each row.

How to plan your gradient: Once all colors are separated, play around with the balls until you have an order that pleases you. Consider the relative lightness or darkness of a color next to another color as well as which colors naturally blend into each other well (like blue to purple). At this point, it’s also wise to consider which colors you’d like to set aside for parts of the pattern that are less of the main focus like sleeves, pockets, straps, etc.

This rainbow gradient crochet cardigan includes pockets and a hood and is made with Lion Brand Mandala cake yarn.

How to use this information: Use the knowledge of the approximate weight of one row to assess how many rows you can create in each color. To calculate this: weigh all the yarn of one color in grams. Divide that number by the number of grams needed for one row (calculated above).

You will have more yarn than you need, so it’s okay to not include every color or use all the yarn in one color. When planning your gradient, look at individual balls of each color to determine if the dye lot varies a bit and take that variance into account in your gradient.

How to use leftover yarn:
Below I’ve included some of my favorite free crochet patterns that would be perfect to make with your leftover cake yarn.

Free crochet patterns to make with yarn cakes like Lion Brand Mandala Yarn.

1. The Campfire Cardigan – free crochet sweater pattern

2. Tributary Blanket – free crochet baby blanket pattern

3. Dawn Till Dusk Triangle Scarf – free one skein crochet pattern made with Lion Brand Mandala (+ video tutorial!)

4. At First Blush Triangle Scarf – easy, tasseled crochet shawl (+ video tutorial!)

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13 Comments

  • Jessica Dunkley
    June 16, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Do you have any suggestions about which mandala yarns go together color-wise? I have 3 cakes in centaur and am stumped as to what other colorway to get

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 18, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Hey Jessica,

      If you check out the video, I discuss why I combined the cakes I used and what suggestions I have for choosing other cakes. If you watch that and still have questions, let me know! Honestly, I think so many can look good together. 🙂

      Jess

      Reply
  • Erin Mozingo
    June 16, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t see the link for the video…is it out yet? Just wondering, thanks!

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 18, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Hey Erin,

      It’s about half way down the page under the header that says video tutorial. If you have more trouble finding it, just let me know. 🙂

      Jess

      Reply
      • Wendi-Lou
        June 19, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        I can’t find the video link either. I have gone over the page a pile of times.

        Reply
        • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
          June 20, 2018 at 8:44 am

          Hey Wendi-Lou,

          I’m sorry you’re having trouble! It’s directly blow the pink title that says “How to Design Gradients with Deconstructed Mandala Yarn Cakes Video Tutorial.” It’s about half way down the page. If you still don’t see a video player right below that title, please let me know what internet browser you’re using and I’ll try to troubleshoot.

          Thanks!

          Jess

          Reply
  • Erin Mozingo
    June 21, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I’m sorry, but I still can’t find the link. Is the video on YouTube? Is so, maybe I could find it on there! Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  • Fatima
    June 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Please tell how many cakes have u used for making ur cardigan?

    Reply
    • Jamie Shank
      July 6, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      I used 4 skeins, however, it is important to have extra yarn if you would like to achieve the same gradient as the example.

      Reply
  • Karen Gruber
    July 11, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Ok. I’ll try again. Please help me get to the deconstructing video. If it helps to know, I’m using Safari. Everything I click on takes me to this page but then nothing happens when I click on the title of the video.
    https://makeanddocrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/video-tutorial-gradients-deconstructed-cake-yarn.jpg
    This is about the third or fourth time I’ve posted here in the comments and none of them are showing up. I’m really confused. I also posted today on your FB page asking for help with that.

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      July 13, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Hey Karen,

      I’m sorry you’re having trouble. When it’s the first time you’ve had a comment approved, it needs to get manually approved by me to show up on the blog. You can find the video here. If you’re ever having trouble finding something, you can also use the search bar at the top of the site. Hope that helps!

      Jess

      Reply
  • Donna Murphy
    July 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Jess,
    This is a bit frustrating. I too, like others, am having difficulty finding the video. I’ve looked in the places you’ve recommended to others with no luck. On my web page, when I scroll down about half (as recommended by you) I find the pink title that says “How to Design Gradients with Deconstructed Mandala Yarn Cakes Video Tutorial.” but there is no video, only pictures. The link you provided another commenter only takes me back to this page and no video.
    Could you please provide a direct link to the video, or check the web page to assure the video is there.
    Thank you so much for your help! Your designs are a real inspiration.

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      August 4, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Hey Donna,

      I’m sorry you’re having trouble. I’ve checked with my ad company on this (that hosts the videos) and the only thing we can come up with is that it may not show up for those people who use an ad blocker. Do you? If so, you’ll have to turn it off to view the video. If that’s not the case, I’d try opening the link in a different internet browser and see if that works. I’ll also be adding this video to Youtube later today, so you can watch it there soon. Just search “Make and Do Crew” and you’ll find my channel. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      Jess

      Reply

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