Let’s Try: Self Striping Yarn Cakes + 2 BONUS Crochet Patterns

Yarn Cake review - Caron Cakes & Sweet Roll + 2 free crochet patterns for poncho and blanket - mypoppet.com.au

Brought to you by American Yarns

It’s a sad reality that us Aussie crafters have limited access to some of the popular yarns that US knitters and crocheters can easily buy at craft stores like Michaels. We see lots of cool yarns on Instagram and Ravelry, but tracking them down locally can be really difficult. Until now!

I’m really excited to partner with a new Australian online retailer called American Yarns that specialises in just that – American Yarns. I’ll be reviewing a range of yarns from their online store over the next few month, giving you my honest thoughts and creating some patterns that show off each yarn to it’s fullest potential. I hope you enjoy the series.

First up I’m looking at self-striping yarn cakes. I’ve never encountered this style of yarn before and I was excited to give it a go. American Yarns sells two brands of striped yarn cakes – Sweet Roll and Caron Cakes. Caron Cakes is a brand new product to Australia and is available for pre-order with a late April (2017) delivery.

Sweet roll yarn vs Caron Cakes yarn cakes - review

I thought it would be interesting to compare the two products to each other and then give you my overall final impressions after using them in a project.

Sweet Roll vs Caron Cakes

Sweet roll yarn vs Caron Cakes yarn - review

The most noticeable difference from yarn that I’m accustomed to using is that both yarn brands are pre-wound into a ‘cake’ rather than a ball, this makes them really easy to use as a center pull. I like using center pull balls as they don’t roll around everywhere.

They both come in a large range of colours, the main difference is that the Sweet Roll has 3 colours per ball, repeating twice, and the Caron Cakes have 5 colours per ball, not repeating. The colour changes are quite abrupt so you get a fairly clean changeover rather than a gradient effect, perfect for a project where you want a striped effect without having to buy multiple colours of yarn.

Sweet Roll colour change

Size wise you get more per ball in a Caron Cake, 200g/350m as opposed to 140g/224m for the Sweet Roll. They are both 10 ply yarns.

Sweet roll yarn vs Caron Cakes yarn - review

I was a initially a little apprehensive when I found out that they both are predominately acrylic based yarns, Sweet roll (100%) and Caron Cakes (80% + 20% wool). I usually avoid using acrylic yarn as I don’t really enjoy the feel of it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how soft and springy both the yarns were. To be honest, I’d be hard pressed to pick them as acrylic, they really feel like soft wool.

I’d recommend the Sweet roll for projects that you want to gentle machine wash, like kids garments; the wool in the Caron Cakes means it’s best to hand wash to prevent felting.

The Caron Cake feels a little softer and has a looser twist than the Sweet Roll, which makes it drape a little more once made up.

So with all that in mind I wanted to create a couple of crochet projects to really show off both yarns to their full effect. The beauty of the self stripe effect is that you don’t need to change yarns throughout the project. It really saves time weaving in ends and it helps add interest to the simplest of patterns.

Read to the end to get my verdict on both the yarns.

Crochet Pattern #1 – 70’s Style Super Groovy Crochet Poncho

70s style Girls Crochet Poncho Pattern mypoppet.com.au

When I was a little girl (in the 70’s) I had a green crocheted poncho that I loved. Now that autumn has arrived and the evenings are getting cooler, I thought that Emma needed a poncho too. She hates wearing jackets or bulky jumpers, so a poncho is the perfect way to add a warm layer without restricting her movement.

I’ve used Sweet Roll in three different colour ways to give a multi-coloured stripe effect, and used a granny stitch to keep it simple. The 10 ply yarn worked up quickly and I finished this poncho in just a couple of days. Emma really loves it and I think you’ll agree it looks great. I was planning on adding fringe but I ran out of yarn (3 balls were spot on), but I did have enough for a tie cord with little tassels. I think the tassels give it a real vintage 70’s vibe.

As you work down the poncho and the stitches per round increase, the width of the stripes get thinner.

Finished length: 67cm

You will need:

  • 3 x Sweet Roll yarn cakes – colour ways in order from top to bottom, Wasabi Pop, Pink Swirl, Punch Pop
  • 6mm crochet hook
  • 2 x crochet stitch markers
  • 2 x wooden beads
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

Stitches used:

  • Chain Stitch (ch)
  • Double Crochet (dc) UK = Single crochet (US)
  • Treble stitch (tr) UK = Double crochet (US)
  • Slip stitch (sl)

Pattern instructions:

  • Make a chain (in multiples of 8 ch stitches), large enough to go around child’s head. Mine was 72 stitches. Sl into first stitch to form a loop. Work in the round.
  • Row 1 – ch 1, dc in 2nd ch from hook and then in each ch stitch, sl the last stitch of row into first stitch.
  • Row 2 – ch 3, 2 tr , ch 1, skip 1 stitch *3 tr, ch 1, skip 1 stitch*, repeat * group to end, place stitch marker, slip last ch stitch into top of 1st tr equivalent.

crochet poncho instructions

  • Place a 2nd stitch market in the gap directly opposite the 1st stitch marker. Make sure you have equal groups of stitches on each side of the 2 markers.

How to crochet a poncho - free pattern - mypoppet.com.au

  • Row 3 – ch 3, into the gap with the stitch marker  2 tr, ch 1, into each gap* 3 tr, 1 ch*, repeat * group to gap with 2nd stitch marker. In gap with 2nd stitch marker, 3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch (this will be a front corner). Continue repeat * group to end finishing with 3 tr, 1 ch in gap with 1st stitch marker (this will be a back corner). slip last ch stitch into top of 1st tr equivalent.
  • Row 4-32 – ch 3, into the gap,  2 tr, ch 1, into each gap* 3 tr, 1 ch*, repeat * group all the way around, and in front corner 3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch. Finishing with 3 tr, 1 ch in gap in back corner. slip last ch stitch into top of 1st tr equivalent. Continue until desired length or end of 3 rolls of yarn. Reserve some yarn for cord tie.
  • Change yarn colours when required.

Free Crochet poncho pattern - mypoppet.com.au

To finish:

  • Weave in ends and block lightly.
  • With chain stitch make a 80cm cord and weave in and out through gaps in row 2.
  • Add wooden bead and tassel on each end of cord – View tassel making instructions.

How to make a yarn tassel - mypoppet.com.au

Girls Vintage style crochet poncho pattern - Free - mypoppet.com.au

Girls Vintage style crochet poncho pattern - Free - mypoppet.com.au

Emma normally doesn’t enjoy modeling my finished projects, but she really had a great time on this shoot. She even styled the outfit herself, including the floral crown. Groovy Baby!

Crochet Pattern #2 – Ombre Hexagon Crochet Blanket

Ombre Hexagon Blanket Pattern - Free crochet Pattern - mypoppet.com.au

I’m a bit in love with crocheting hexagons at the moment. After making a Crochet Hexagon Rug, I thought I’d take the same motif and size it up to a blanket. The ombre stripe effect really emphasizes the hexagon shape, but the beauty of this pattern is that you only need to know a couple of simple stitches to create a stunning effect. This whole blanket only required 2 rolls of Caron Cake making it a really cost effective project. It makes a perfect gift for a new baby.

The pattern is similar to the motif from the hexagon rug except that I’ve added the 3ch at the start of the first hexagon straight side instead of in the middle of the row. It looks neater that way. All the rows work up the same, so you can really get into a good flow making this blanket. It took me a whole weekend to make.

Finished diameter: 106cm

You will need:

  • 2 x Caron Cakes yarn cakes – colour ways in order from center out, Cherry Chip, Bumbleberry
  • 6mm crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

Stitches used:

  • Chain Stitch (ch)
  • Treble stitch (tr) UK = Double crochet (US)
  • Slip stitch (sl)

Pattern instructions:

Chain 6, sl last chain into first to make a ring. Work in the round.

Round 1: ch 3, working all center ring, 2 tr, ch 2 (chain 2 will form a corner), *2 tr, ch 2* 5 more times. sl st to join last ch to the top of the first series of 3 ch.

Hexagon crochet blanket pattern

Round 2-32: ch 3, tr into corner gap, tr into every tr on row below, tr into next corner gap ch 2, repeat all the way around, with a tr into every stitch below and {tr, ch2, tr} into every corner gap.  sl st to join last ch to the top of the first series of 3 ch.

Hexagon crochet blanket pattern

You can continue like this to make your hexagon blanket  as large as you’d like. As you see in this pattern, the hexagon increases by 2 stitches per side on each round.

Weave ends in and block lightly.

Ombre hexagon blanket crochet pattern - mypoppet.com.au

Ombre hexagon blanket free crochet pattern - mypoppet.com.au

Ombre hexagon blanket crochet pattern using Caron Cake- mypoppet.com.au

Caron Cake Ombre hexagon blanket crochet pattern - mypoppet.com.au

I really enjoyed not having to worry about changing colours of yarns, although I did notice the colour changes on the Caron were not as clean as the sweet roll. Also both rolls had at least one knot in each of them which was a little annoying.

Knot in Caron Cake

Self Striping Yarn Cakes – The Verdict

Overall I enjoyed crocheting with both these yarns, they both worked up quickly and felt nice to use. I liked the excitement of the colours changing, it added some interest to otherwise basic patterns that may have gotten boring if they were all one colour.

If you are a control freak you may struggle with the colour changes in the middle of rows, it didn’t bother me, but I’ve seen (on ravelry) that some knitters/crocheters are breaking the yarn to control the striping. It sort of defeats the purpose of the self stripe, but each to their own.

The Sweet Roll had no knots, but I did find a few in the Caron which was a bit annoying. I crocheted them right in, but they may be harder to disguise in knitted garments.

The Sweet Roll had a slightly stronger twist which I preferred for crochet, the Caron has a more relaxed twist which initially split a little until I got used to it. I think they’d both be great for knitting.

The one odd thing I noticed with the Sweet Roll was that the purple colourway (Punch Pop) had a slightly coarser texture than the other colours, which were really soft. Just something really minor that isn’t noticeable in the finished garment.

I’m certainly keen to use these yarns in future projects, I have so many ideas!

You can purchase these yarns from www.americanyarns.com.au

Caron Cakes ($16.99) are available for pre-order (delivery Late April 2017), Sweet Rolls ($9.50) are in stock now.

Have you used self-striping Yarn Cakes before? What did you think?

If you have any questions about my thoughts on these yarns or about the patterns, just leave a comment and I’ll get to it as soon as I can.


  • Sam says:

    Great article! Thank you. With the knots that you found in the Caron Cakes, where they joining the colours or where they intermittent manufacturing joins?
    Thanks for an informative run-down :o)

    • I think they were intermittent manufacturing joins as there were only one or two per ball. One I found in the same colour and and another joining a colour. But I did find knots in both the balls I used, the sweet roll had no knots.

      • Sam says:

        Thank goodness for that! I was thinking I might as well buy individual balls & splice them together myself…
        Again, thanks for the info :o)

  • Cindy says:

    I think Emma makes a very groovy 70’s girl! Both patterns are nice. I used to only use natural fibers but I’ve found there are a lot of soft, nice, washable acrylics available now for a fraction of the cost.

    • Yes, I prefer natural fibres too, and agree with you that the quality of acrylic yarn is improving. Until now my experience with synthetics haven’t been great, but I was honestly pleasantly surprised with how nicely these yarns worked up.

  • Linda says:

    I was wondering if you might have instructions for making the Super Groovy Poncho in an adult size?

    • Adult size is just the same as child, you just need to make the starting chain row large enough to fit over your head, and as long as it’s multiples of 8 it will turn out great. You’ll need an extra ball of yarn for added length.
      I have a small head so Emma’s poncho actually fits me too.

  • Sandi Cowan says:

    Thank you. At long last I have found some crochet instructions on Pinterest that I don’t have to alter the pattern from American to UK/Australian. It takes so long to go through and change all the stitch alterations on the pattern page.

    • I am sure that you have thought of this, but if you ” copy and and paste” the instructions onto a document, you can utilize the “Find and replace” function to quickly make the changes to the instructions. At least this is what I did to change the instructions on this pattern to Americanize them. gayla

  • Heather koester says:

    have you tried the Lincraft Cakes? I have crocheted up on cake and quite like it. It is an 80/20 blend as well and no knots. I thought about Caron Cakes but read many reviews which talked about the knots. No knots in the lincraft Cakes yet 🙂

    • I haven’t used them but did have a feel when I was last in store. I found they had much more of an ‘acrylic’ feel than the yarns I reviewed, but I did like the colour ranges that were available. The caron felt a bit softer to me compared to the lincraft cakes. My overall preference was the sweet rolls, but it really depends on the project.

  • angela moore says:

    i used it to make a circle sweater for a friend. it turned out beautiful and she was thrilled 🙂

  • janette cosier says:

    what did you mean when you said ‘I’ve used Sweet Roll in three different colour ways’

    When you start using your second ball do you just keep going -regardless of what colour you have ended with, and what colour you are now starting on the second ball. Do you always start from the centre of the ball.

    Are the lengths of each colour the same. It seems that the beginning colour and ending colour of each cake are shorter? but different colours??

    • Each ball has 3 colour combinations per ball, I’ve used 3 balls in different colour combinations. Yes I just kept going and added whatever colour came out of the next ball. I did start from the center of the ball as it’s convenient to work with that way.
      The lengths of each colour are the same, it just looks shorter as the poncho is getting wider as you increase the width in the bottom.

  • I have just done a poncho for a six year old in the Cakes yarn and it has turned out great

  • Eve Milton says:

    I just made your poncho pattern for my granddaughter! I loved the way it worked up. I used the Mandala Cake in Phoenix by Lion Brand. It took exactly one cake for your pattern, including a finishing row of single crochet!
    I really liked this yarn! There were no knots, the weave doesn’t separate, and the color change was gradual, for the most part.
    Thanks for your pattern!

  • Moira Norton says:

    Thanks for the pattern for the hexagonal blanket. I made two for a friends sisters twin girls. One with Caron Cakes and one with Lincraft Cakes yarn. Both turned out beautifully soft and draped well. I would have posted pictures but don’t know how to . Good at crochet rubbish at technology.

  • Julie Guy says:

    The pattern is gorgeous for the girls poncho and I am using Caron cakes in Rainbow Sprinkles. I have started it twice now and am on row 5 but it’s not lying completely flat. I have no idea why. Should it be like in the first few rows ?

  • Karla says:

    Hey… I’m new at crochet and am super-excited to make this. I’m horrible at visualizing the finished product if I add “x” number of stitches and so forth, so I’m having a hard time with some of the instructions. Perhaps you can clarify for me?

    In the subsequent rounds (2 and onward), I assumed it read CH3, DC (US) into the FIRST corner gap, DC into each lower DC stitch, DC + CH 2 into SECOND gap, DC into each lower DC stitch, DC + CH2 + DC into THIRD and REST of the gaps. Is this correct? Or is it DC + CH2 + DC into EVERY gap? Or perhaps something else entirely?? Thanks!

    • Hi Karla, You will always DC into a gap, (never into a DC stitch below). In to the straight sections its basically 3 DC into every gap then a CH (the chain creates the gap for the next row up). When you come to the increases which creates the V shape on the front and back you will do 2 lots of 3DC separated by 1 CH.

  • S D McDaniel says:

    At the end of your article, you asked if any of us have used self striping yarn before. As a matter of fact, I’m currently finishing a very simple baby blanket pattern I designed (my first), and I’m using SweetRoll Kiwi Pop. I usually try to stay away from yarns with dye lots, because the colors can be off from one dye lot to the other, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with the sweetroll. I think the dye lots here, refer to segment lengths, or perhaps color starting and ending points.

    What I noticed about the sweetroll yarn, is that the colors have what I would call a linen quality to them… meaning the color deepens or fades just slightly as you work through it. And sometimes you will have just a hint of a different color in the line. For example, the Kiwi Pop I chose, is pale blue, light, almost neon yellow green, and white…and sometimes there is a spot of bluegreen mixed in the blue segment, and spots of blue in the white segment. Also the colors fade in and out just slightly. Now for me, this was fine; it’s going in a woodland themed room, and I wanted something with an outdoorsy feel to it. The fact that the colors aren’t completely true through out the yarn gives it a soft, breezy feel to it that works for me on this project, but others might not like it.

    I haven’t had a chance to work with the CarronCakes, although Caron simply soft is my preferred yarn. The one thing I do know about Carron yarn, is there is no dye lot, and as far as I can tell, in all of Carron’s color yarns, the color stays true through out the yarn. I would imagine it’s the same for the cake yarn.

    I don’t know if this added information will help anyone, but I thought I would add it, just in case. 🙂

  • Jennifer Edwards says:

    This was helpful, I too don’t generally use acrylic yarn. I grabbed Premier’s Everyday DK Colors and started a blanket with it the other day. I live the softness of this yarn. If you liked the two you reviewed, you might want to try this one, too! I’m glad I stumbled upon your review – and I love the patterns you shared, too!!

  • michelle says:

    helpful article but just thought you’d like to know i would DEARLY love for it to be easier to be able to access foreign or overseas yarn here in the U.S.!

  • Julie says:

    I’ve used the Caron cakes and I love it. I kept petting my project as I worked it. I made a corner to corner double crochet ridged blanket. However, in a blanket, it disn’t hold up as well as I would have liked. It looked messy really quickly.

    • Yes blankets get a lot of wear. I found the Sweet Roll yarn really robust and prefer it to Caron Cakes for items that will get heavy use. Thanks for sharing, it’s always hard to know how yarns will hold up after use and washing. I’m sure other readers will find your feedback helpful.

  • angela says:

    I am so happy i found this on pinterest. i am wondering if the poncho would work for an adult size, but just making it larger. I have to admit, i am fairly new at crochet, been working a lot of granny squares to start. I have a teenage daughter that would like to have a poncho, and the pattern on here seems wonderful. I would just like your advice on enlarging the pattern. Thank you, beautiful work

    • Yes, to make it longer just add more rows. As long as her head fits through the opening (starting row) you don’t need to make any other adjustments other than the length. If you need a wider head opening I’ve suggested how to add extra stiches (in multiples of 8 ch stitches).

      I’m sure she’ll love it.

  • Nicky says:

    I was wondering how much of the Caron did you use for the hexagon blanket? Like, did you use all of both wool or only one and a half?

  • Peggy Collins says:

    Thanks for sharing this pattern. For the hex blanket are you counting the ch3 as a dc or does it not count as a stitch?

  • Pat Barnett says:

    Can I crochet any size blanket?
    I am using caron latte cakes yarn and want to start a large blanket.
    The size I am looking at is size j hook, shell stitch starting with around 200 sc.
    Will it still strip?
    Thank you

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