August has been unusually cool here in Kansas which has been wonderful! In fact, we have only had a few weeks this entire summer of really hot weather and have been blessed with cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Since I am a Michigan native I have never really adjusted to the hot and humid summer temperatures in Kansas. This morning on my way out the door I actually thought I could have used a sweater! That is really unbelievable for this time of year in Kansas!
The cooler temps are already making me think of all things pumpkin (is it too early to make pumpkin bread???) so I couldn’t resist making this super cute and easy one cake project. I am really looking forward to wearing this cowl this fall and winter. This project is so easy you will almost be embarrassed by how many compliments you will get. I am currently working on matching fingerless gloves so be sure to check back for that pattern soon!
I found the Mandala cakes by Lion Brand in Walmart a few months ago and have made several different projects with them. The cake yarn craze hit the yarn world in a big way and this is the Lion Brand version. The cakes are self-striping so you don’t have to change yarn colors in a project and you don’t end up with all of those pesky ends to weave in. For any one that feels “color challenged” and find it difficult to choose coordinating yarn this makes that problem disappear.
If you are familiar with the Caron cakes in Michael’s, the Mandala is a thinner 3 fingering weight and the Caron is a 4 yarn weight. The Mandala is 100% acrylic and the original Caron Cakes were 80% acrylic and 20% wool. The newly released Big Caron Cakes are now 100% acrylic due to consumer demand. Many people felt that the yarn was too scratchy with the addition of the wool. Having purchased the new Caron cakes I do believe they are much softer than the original. The fibers seem a little denser to me than the 80/20 blend. However, I believe the stitch definition with the new cakes will be excellent.
The mandala may seem a little stiff at first and not as soft but as you are working with it and certainly once it is washed it feels very soft to me. I feel that the smaller weight of the Mandala lends itself well to certain projects and I have been very happy with it overall. I believe what I enjoy about them the most is that they are a gradient color change making the color transitions smoother rather than the more abrupt color changes of the other cakes on the market. I haven’t found another self-striping cake in the big craft stores that changes colors as gradually as the Mandala and certainly not at this price point! Walmart is selling them in store and on-line for $4.97! If they don’t have them in your Walmart you can order them online and have them delivered to your local store for free pickup. And in the interest of honesty, I think one of the things I love about the Mandala is the wonderful names they have chosen — Thunderbird, Spirit, Genie, Sphinx, Gnome — so imaginative and fun!
I have included video tutorials below for the ribbed stitch pattern used for the cowl as well as a tutorial to show you how to fold and finish the cowl.
If you would like to use another yarn in a larger size weight than the Mandala you will need to adjust the beginning chains and completed number of rows. My cowl prior to folding was approximately 34″ long by 10″ tall.
You can find an ad free pdf version of this pattern on Ravelry for a small fee.
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Pattern written in US crochet terminology
1 Lion Brand Mandala Cake in color Sphinx (5.3 oz/150g)
RS right side
WS wrong side
dc double crochet
fpdc front post double crochet
bpdc back post double crochet
sl st slip stitch
Notes about pattern:
You could certainly leave the button off as it is strictly decorative. If you wish to, add a vintage brooch or funky piece of jewelry. Make it your own!
Approximate size of cowl prior to folding is 34″ long by 10″ tall.
Ch 2 or ch 3 at beg of row counts as first stitch.
Row 1 Ch 154, dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each ch across to end. Ch 2 counts as first st. Turn (153)
Row 2 Ch 2, *fpdc around next dc, bpdc around next dc* repeat between * * to end, hdc in last st. Turn (153)
Row 3 Ch 2, *bpdc around next dc, fpdc around next dc* repeat between * * to end, hdc in last st. Turn (153)
Row 4 – 33 Repeat Row 2-3 until very little yarn is left. I had enough yarn to have another row plus have enough left to sl st together, however it is very important that it doesn’t bunch when you fold it over and prepare to stitch together.
DO NOT FASTEN OFF!
Choose which side you want as RS. Lay scarf flat with WS facing.
Fold ends of scarf tog towards the center to make a V in front. When folded correctly it will look like a mini poncho. Sl st ends of the V together from back side. Shape neck of cowl in order to decide placement of button. Sew button where desired with embroidery floss.