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Part 1: Remix Cardigan Using Deconstructed Yarn Cakes (Free Crochet Pattern!)

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

Learn how to remix Mandala yarn cakes to create a stunning gradient effect in this free draped crochet cardigan pattern. Get Part 1 of the free pattern below, or purchase the complete pattern in the ad-free, printable PDF with schematic and color planning worksheet here. Part 2 available here.

Rainbow heaven! Design your own beautiful stripes by remixing skeins of Lion Brand Mandala cake yarn in this free crochet cardigan pattern and tutorial. Easy and beginner friendly!
This free draped crochet cardigan pattern is part of a collaboration with my friends at Lion Brand Yarn. This post contains affiliate links.

Oh boy, I’m excited to share this draped crochet cardigan pattern with you! (You can always find all my free crochet cardigan patterns here.) The entire process of dreaming up this pattern, remixing the yarn cakes and planning the gradient evoked such a feeling of creating just for the thrill of being a maker. I truly hope this free pattern and tutorial inspires the same in you!

And let’s just settle two questions I know you’re already thinking: NO, there are barely any ends to weave in when you’re done and YES, you can totally make this pattern without deconstructing your Mandala skeins–the stripes will just look different.

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

Why Remix a Yarn Cake?

The whole concept of self-striping yarn is to simplify the process of color combining, so it may take a minute to wrap your head around the idea of cutting these gorgeous cakes up. The beauty of deconstructing yarn cakes though is that it allows you to curate the exact gradient you want your sweater to have, including some really beautiful and nuanced color transitions that to me feel a lot like hand-dyed yarn.

UPDATE: I put together a step-by-step video tutorial that covers how to choose your colors, deconstruct your yarn cakes and plan your gradient. Check it out here.

Learn how to remix your own cake yarn by deconstructing skeins of Lion Brand Mandala, Caron Cakes, Sweet Rolls or any other cake yarn! Step-by-step tutorial!

Where to Find Inspiration for Remixing Your Mandala Yarn

One of the reasons I love our crochet community so much is that it feels like swimming in a giant sea of inspiration. Recently, Ashley of MontanaCrochet.com tagged me on Instagram because she was using this deconstruction technique to make the Day Date Cardigan pattern. She had been inspired by Kristina of MiramarWoods hand carved crochet hooks who was remixing yarn cakes to make sweaters.

Seeing both these crocheter’s creativity was like jet fuel for my imagination. (Check out Montana Crochet here on Instagram and MiramarWoods here–they are both such an inspiration!) I put my kids to bed as fast as humanly possible, kissed my husband and ran out to buy some yarn!

A few days later, my family and I took a mountain biking trip to Moab, Utah and I knew the color palette for my own deconstructed Mandala experiment had been born.

A mountain biking trail in Moab, Utah served as color inspiration for the crochet Remix Cardigan.

What Types of Yarn Cakes and Colors to Remix

For this pattern, I used one of my favorite cake yarns, which is Lion Brand Mandala in the colors Pegasus and Warlock. Mandala is machine washable, soft and just the right weight to create a flowy cardigan that drapes beautifully.

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!

Perhaps the most exciting thing though–Lion Brand is now making a few other cake yarns called Mandala Baby, Mandala Sparkle and Cupcake that all have identical weight and fiber content so you can mix and match and shades from within any of these three product lines to “paint” your gradient. Seriously, how fun is that? There are SO MANY color options. Click on the following links to see what colors strike your inner artist’s fancy: Original Mandala, Mandala Baby, Mandala Sparkle, Cupcake.

Okay, So How Do I Remix Mandala Yarn To Make My Own Cardigan?

The whole time I was designing this draped cardigan, I kept thinking about the best way to share the technique I had developed to map out my gradients for the pattern. After a lot of thought and discussion with my analytical husband, I created a tutorial and worksheet for the printable PDF that walks you step-by-step through planning your gradient for your own sweater (regardless of the size you’re making or colors you’re using!)

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!Remix Crochet Cardigan free pattern and tutorial from Make and Do Crew - printable PDF

And maybe most helpful, the PDF includes a chart that shows how much yarn you’ll need for each section of the pattern, so you can really allocate your colors exactly as you wish. You can purchase the ad-free, printable PDF with color planning worksheet and chart here.

TIP: With or without the worksheet, you’ll find remixing your Mandala cakes much easier if you have an inexpensive kitchen scale to weigh your yarn. This is the $10 version I use (and it’s super handy to have around for other crochet projects too.) 

This Draped Crochet Cardigan Pattern is Easy!

Alright, let’s talk about the pattern for a sec, shall we? This flowy, draped crochet cardigan is a piece of cake (cake yarn, that is!) Truly, it is made from a big rectangle, with some creative construction sneekery to avoid any increasing or decreasing for the armholes. The only stitch you’ll need to know is double crochet.

While the sleeves do include some increases, they are mapped out in a very simple visual chart in the printable PDF that’ll walk you through exactly which rows to increase on. (Def worth the small investment for less experienced pattern readers!)

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

With very little seaming, this pattern is quite appropriate for a confident beginner. And if you’re intimidated by the whole deconstructing yarn thing, just opt to crochet with Mandala straight as it comes and you’ll end up with a beautiful cardigan with repeating stripes.

Would you like to know more about deconstructing yarn cakes? Or how to make this cardigan step-by-step? I’ve been thinking of putting together some video tutorials, so let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see.

You can find Part 2 of the free pattern here or purchase the ad-free, printable PDF with the complete pattern and color planning worksheet right now here!

WOW! This beautiful draped cardigan is made by remixing cakes of Lion Brand Mandala yarn. The free crochet cardigan pattern with pockets and hood includes plus sizes too!

Part 1: The Remix Crochet Cardigan
Free Pattern Using Deconstructed Mandala Cakes

Purchase Parts 1 & 2 of the pattern with color planning weight chart and worksheet here.

Add this to your Ravelry favorites or queue here.

Pin this pattern for later here.

Watch the detailed video tutorial on planning your gradient here.

Explanation:
Inspired by the landscape of the American southwest, the Remix Cardigan is a simple pattern you can make uniquely yours. Opt to indulge your inner artist by deconstructing cakes of Lion Brand Mandala yarn to curate your color gradient, or skip this step and take the colors as they come straight out of the cake. Either way, you’ll be left with a modern, flowy cardigan that drapes beautifully and flatters many figures. (And you’ll be shocked at how few tails are left to weave in at the end!)

Skills required included double crochet and working in the round.

Supplies:
This pattern contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
• Lion Brand Mandala (Weight: 3/light – 590 yds, 5.3 oz)
– 4 (5, 5, 6, 6, 7) minimum skeins [(approx. 570 (646, 729, 773, 872, 916) g)]
Pictured:
– Pegasus & Warlock (IMPORTANT: Extra yarn is necessary to achieve gradient pictured in sample. See more in “Notes” below)
• Tapestry needle
• Size I (5.5 mm) crochet hook
• Stitch markers or safety pins
• Inexpensive kitchen scale (optional, but extremely helpful if planning a gradient)

Sizes:
S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X

Fits Bust:
S: 32-36”
M: 36-40”
L: 40-44”
1X: 44-48”
2X: 48-52”
3X: 52-56”

See schematic in printable PDF for additional measurements. When choosing size, consider armhole size as determining factor as main body of sweater is quite forgiving in its sizing. If in doubt, size up. Sample is a size small shown on a 5’9” model with a 36” bust.

Gauge:
15 dc = 4”
9 rows = 4”

Abbreviations and Glossary (US Terms):
ch – chain
dc – double crochet
fdc – foundation double crochet
inc – increase(s)
rep – repeat
PM – place marker
RS – right side
sk – skip
sl st – slip stitch
st(s) – stitch(es)
tch – turning chain
WS – wrong side
yo – yarn over

Overall Pattern + Sizing Notes:
• Sample pictured was made by deconstructing skeins of Mandala yarn cakes and reorganizing the colors to create a gradient. Use the tutorial and color planning worksheet at the end of the printable PDF to roughly map out your gradient if desired.

Working this way requires some planning and extra yarn. Here’s what you’ll need to replicate a look similar to the gradient pictured. (Don’t be afraid to try different colorways too. You may even choose to combine shades of Lion Brand Cupcake yarn and Mandala Baby, which both have an identical weight and fiber content to Mandala.)

Small:
Mandala “Pegasus” x 2 balls
Mandala “Warlock” x 3 balls

Medium:
Mandala “Pegasus” x 2 balls
Mandala “Warlock” x 4 balls

Large:
Mandala “Pegasus” x 2-3 balls
Mandala “Warlock” x 4 balls

1X:
Mandala “Pegasus” x 3 balls
Mandala “Warlock” x 4 balls

2X:
Mandala “Pegasus” x 3 balls
Mandala “Warlock” x 4-5 balls

3X:
Mandala “Pegasus” x 4 balls
Mandala “Warlock” x 4-5 balls

• For more details on planning your gradient, watch this video tutorial.

• If you choose to remix colors by deconstructing yarn cakes, a simple kitchen scale is a very helpful tool in allocating your stripes per color. Here is the inexpensive option I like.

• Main sweater body and hood is worked in one piece. Sleeves are worked in the round separately and joined to body at end.

• If working a gradient, complete all color changes at the end of a row as follows: work the final yo of the last dc of the row with the new color.

• Crocheting over all yarn tails as you go will greatly reduce the number of ends left to weave in. By doing so, you should have only about 15 mins of weaving in when your project is complete.

• Ch 3 at beginning of each row/round always counts as a dc.

MAIN SWEATER BODY

Notes:
• If remixing colors, work 3 rows in the first color you’d like to appear at the bottom of the sweater. Then use a kitchen scale to weigh the 3-row piece in grams. Divide the total weight by 3. This number is how much each of the rows of your main sweater body will “weigh” (and therefore how much yarn they will consume). This is very helpful in planning how many rows to work of each color. See tutorial at end of printable PDF for more step-by-step details on how to calculate and plan gradient.

• Because of the long length of the foundation, using the foundation double crochet stitch is recommended. Only work one foundation from the options below.

Foundation Option #1:

Foundation Row: 190 (205, 220, 235, 250, 265) Fdc. [190 (205, 220, 235, 250, 265) dc]

Move on to sweater body.

Foundation Option #2:

Foundation Row: Ch 192 (207, 222, 237, 252, 267).

Foundation Row 2: Sk 3 ch, dc in each ch to end; turn. [190 (205, 220, 235, 250, 265) dc]

Move on to sweater body.

SWEATER BODY

Row 2: Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to end; turn. [190 (205, 220, 235, 250, 265) dc]

Rows 3-38 (42, 46, 46, 52, 52): Rep Row 2.

Do not fasten off.

Learn how to deconstruct skeins of cake yarn like Lion Brand Mandala to create beautiful gradients like this one in this free crochet cardigan pattern and tutorial. Pictured: Pegasus and Warlock.

DIVIDING FOR ARMHOLES

Notes:
• Fronts and back will now be worked in three separate columns. (See photo above.)

• When placing markers, ch 3 at beginning of row counts as a dc.

• If working a gradient, you may choose to work each section of a given color in each of the three columns before moving onto the next color. This will ensure that you have enough yarn of any given color to complete all three columns identically and prevent needing to frog something because you ran out of a color on the third column.

Divide stitches as follows by placing a marker between stitches at appropriate points to mark Front, Armhole, Back, Armhole, and Front.

Small: 57 sts, PM, 12 sts, PM, 52 sts, PM, 12 sts, PM, 57 sts

Medium: 61 sts, PM, 14 sts, PM, 55 sts, PM, 14 sts, PM, 61 sts

Large: 65 sts, PM, 15 sts, PM, 60 sts, PM, 15 sts, PM, 65 sts

1X: 69 sts, PM, 17 sts, PM, 63 sts, PM, 17 sts, PM, 69 sts

2X: 72 sts, PM, 21 sts, PM, 64 sts, PM, 21 sts, PM, 72 sts

3X: 72 sts, PM, 28 sts, PM, 65 sts, PM, 28 sts, PM, 72 sts

Continuing with working yarn, work first front between outside edge and first marker as follows:

Front #1:

Row 1: Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to marker; turn. [57 (61, 65, 69, 72, 72 ) dc]

Rows 2-15 (17, 19, 19, 21, 21): Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to end; turn. [57 (61, 65, 69, 72, 72 ) dc]

Cut yarn leaving an 8” tail and pull through last st to fasten off.

Back:

Continue working in same direction as first row of Front #1. Sk the 12 (14, 15, 17, 21, 28) sts between armhole markers. Join yarn in first st of back.

Row 1: Ch 3, dc in next st after join, dc in each dc to marker; turn. [52 (55, 60, 63, 64, 65) dc]

Rows 2-15 (17, 19, 19, 21, 21): Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to end; turn. [52 (55, 60, 63, 64, 65) dc]

Cut yarn leaving an 8” tail and pull through last st to fasten off.

Front #2:

Continue working in same direction as first row of Front #1 and Back. Sk the 12 (14, 15, 17, 21, 28) sts between second armhole markers. Join yarn in first st of second front.

Row 1: Ch 3, dc in next st after join, dc in each dc to end; turn. [57 (61, 65, 69, 72, 72 ) dc]

Rows 2-15 (17, 19, 19, 21, 21): Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to end; turn. [57 (61, 65, 69, 72, 72) dc]

Do not cut yarn.

Use tail from Front #1 to sl st to side of ch-3 of last row of Back. (See photo below.)

Use tail from Back to sl st to side of ch-3 of last row of Front #2.

The Front, Back and Front should now be joined again.

COLLAR

Continue with working yarn from Front #2.

Row 1: Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc, ch-3, and sl st to end; turn (inc of 2 sts). [168 (179, 192, 203, 210, 211) dc]

TIP: Row 1 in layman’s terms means that you’ll double crochet across the row, placing a double crochet in each double crochet as well as the top of the ch-3 turning chains at the sides of the columns. (These have always counted as dcs anyhow.) Also place a double crochet under the two slip stitches that join the columns. (See photo below.)

Rows 2-3: Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to end; turn. [168 (179, 192, 203, 210, 211) dc]

Main sweater body should now have a total of 56 (62, 68, 68, 76, 76) rows.

Learn how to crochet a beginner friendly cardigan from a simple rectangle in this easy free pattern and tutorial.

HOOD

Notes:
• Hood is worked back and forth in rows and seamed at top. Think of it as similar to the middle column of “Diving for Armholes.” (See photo of main sweater piece in blog post above.)

• When placing markers, ch 3 at beginning of row counts as a dc.

• To eliminate hood, skip this section and work one extra collar row instead. Then also eliminate the finishing border.

Divide stitches as follows by placing a marker between stitches at appropriate points.

Small: 50 sts, PM, 68 sts, PM, 50 sts

Medium: 54 sts, PM, 71 sts, PM, 54 sts

Large: 59 sts, PM, 74 sts, PM, 59 sts

1X: 64 sts, PM, 75 sts, PM, 64 sts

2X: 67 sts, PM, 76 sts, PM, 67 sts

3X: 67 sts, PM, 77 sts, PM, 67 sts

With WS of last collar row facing you, join yarn in first stitch of middle section between markers.

Row 1: Ch 3, dc in next st after join, dc in each dc to marker; turn. [68 (71, 74, 75, 76, 77) dc]

Row 2: Ch 3, sk first dc, 2 dc in next dc, dc in each dc until tch remains, 2 dc in tch; turn.  [70 (73, 76, 77, 78, 79) dc]

Rows 3-32: Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each dc to end; turn.  [70 (73, 76, 77, 78, 79) dc]

Fasten off leaving 24” tail for seaming.

You’re so close to finishing up this simple, flowy cardigan! Now, head to Part 2 where we’ll crochet the sleeves, seam the hood and add pockets. If you like all your crochet info in one easily printable place, purchase the complete ad-free PDF here

And while you’re at it, here are more easy, free crochet cardigan patterns you might enjoy. (And they all include plus sizes!)

Free crochet sweater patterns for beginners from Make and Do Crew using Lion Brand Yarns

1. Staycation Cardigan – free, oversized women’s cardigan pattern

2. Habitat Cardigan – free crochet cardigan pattern made from a simple rectangle (+ video tutorial)

3. Dwell Sweater – super easy, chunky free crochet cardigan pattern + video tutorial

4. Stonewash Shrug – simple, lightweight free crochet sweater pattern

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20 Comments

  • Erin
    June 4, 2018 at 6:47 am

    This is beautiful!! I love it! Next on my list to make! A video would be super helpful as well…thank you so much for putting out awesome patterns like this! I just finished my Day Date Cardigan and I love LOVE it!

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 6, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear you like your Day Date Cardigan. It’s one of my faves to wear.

      Thanks for your feedback on a video for this one too. I hope I can make that happen!

      Jess

      Reply
  • Wei
    June 6, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Video tutorial will be much appreciated. This is a beautiful pattern I would love to make, definitely on my wishlist.
    Thank you so much. Just to let you know, I joined the ALchemy cardigan CAL and almost finished making it.

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Hey Wei,

      So happy to hear you took part in the CAL. I think some videos would be great for this one too. Hoping I can make that happen. 🙂

      Jess

      Reply
  • Elizabeth
    June 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I love this so very much!! How did you decide which cakes to use? I’m looking at all of the options and my eyes are crossing 🙂

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 11, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      I know! I’ll be sharing a tutorial with more info on choosing yarn this week, but essentially, I looked for two colorways that had similar types of colors, but in different tones and levels of saturation. I hope that’s helpful. I’ll have more details soon!

      Jess

      Reply
  • Rachel
    June 10, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Jessica,
    This pattern is just stunning! Thank you so much for sharing! I just used a yarn similar to mandala—Lion Brand’s new cupcake—to make a bag, and I had to do the same thing as you, cutting off each color in a good spot. It’s kind of funny how that works…but the finished result sure is great! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      Hey Rachel,

      I love Cupcake too! It’s totally swapable in this pattern as it has the same weight and fiber content as Mandala. Isn’t that cool? I bet a bag it it is lovely!

      Jess

      Reply
  • Tamara
    June 10, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Hi
    Is the Remix Jacket made with one strand of mandala or is it two?

    Reply
  • Jessica
    June 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Do I still need the same number of cakes if I’m not separating the colors, just using it straight from the cake?

    Reply
  • Mollie Hollar
    June 16, 2018 at 7:40 am

    There is not a straight-on front view of the Remix Cardigan. Just wondering if there is some way included to close the front. I have a few ideas floating around but wanted to check with you first. I absolutely LOVE this cardigan for several reasons. First is your choice of colors, from my all-time favorite location for the colors. The reds with all the gradients right on into the purples; the gradients of all the greens in the foliage/flora; and of course the basic tans and browns of the ground leading into the red stones and mountains. I have gone by train through the southern desert and have hundreds of photos to prove it. Anyway, I’m going to buy the pattern right now to make during cool Michigan mornings. Thanks for all your creativity and hard work!

    Reply
  • Linda Deal
    June 16, 2018 at 8:01 am

    I enjoyed making the Habitat Cardigan so much I made four of them! One for myself and three for relatives. This Awesome Gradient Cardigan looks like it will be another Favorite for me. Looking forward to trying it…as soon as I finish at least one of the afghans I’m working on. 😉 Thank you for being you.

    Reply
    • Jamie Shank
      July 6, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Wow, you’ve been busy! What lucky relatives. 🙂 Thank you for the sweet words!

      Reply
  • Carie
    June 16, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Super cute and I love the colors! I’m still finishing up on the Alchemy cardigan, but this on my list! Thanks for your beautiful patterns💕

    Reply
    • Jamie Shank
      July 6, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Great to hear, Carie! Thank you so much!

      Reply
  • Ellen
    June 17, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    I did a bunting from a mandala cake that I hated, and deconstructed the other cakes i had into a granny square baby blanket. I love the freedom of mixing the deconstucted cakes.

    Reply
    • Jess @ Make and Do Crew
      June 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Me too! That sounds lovely. You can really create an original look by remixing the cakes. 🙂

      Reply
  • Phyllis
    June 18, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Jess, I am getting behind on my crocheting because of the heat for a few days now and I don’t have air. Anyway I was reading over this pattern and it confuses me on the foundation rows, Why so many versions, is it by sizes or colors. It doesn’t say which to use for which size. How do I know.. I mean option 1 has one foundation row, option 2 has two different foundation rows. and then you have a actual row 2. ????

    Reply
  • Sharon
    August 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Hello. I have a question. Under the supplies section you have indicated that additional yarn is needed to achieve the look of the cardigan. You refer us to “Notes”. I cannot find any reference to the additional yarn requirement. Would you please tell me how much more yarn is needed? Do I need to purchase an extra cake of both colors?
    This is a beautiful cardigan and I am excited to make it. I am purchasing the paid pdf pattern as I think your chart will be very helpful.
    Thank you.

    Reply

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