A lot of people seemed to have trouble accessing the PDF on Google Docs. So here is the information which you can copy and paste into a word processing program of your choice. Please consult me if you wish to use this document for a class. I am happy to send you the free PDF for that purpose. These directions are included in my pattern Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl.
How to Make a Magic Cake of Yarn
by Paula Emons-Fuessle
A Magic Cake is a ball of yarn made of an assortment of yarns and colors. You can buy magic balls of yarn from independent dyers. If you have scraps of yarn then you can easily make your own. It is fun and simple. This is how I did it.
The three steps are: (1) gather, (2) weigh, and (3) join and wind.
1. Gather 100 g or more assorted fingering weight/sock yarn. Any weight yarn will do, but numbers given are for fingering weight. You will also need a kitchen scale.
I used 170 g because the ruffle used a lot of yarn. If you don't want a ruffle, then you don't need as much. My ruffle used about 40 g. A garter stitch border would use about half that.
I put the yarn out for a week or so and played with the colors. Some colors worked better than others, but I wanted some variation, too. Part of the fun is not being too safe in the choices. There are a lot of greens, blues, and reds with a bit of surprise thrown in. The surprise colors are sometimes called poison. Just about any colors work if you like them. Use whatever remnants you have. They don't even have to be the same weight. Mix weights and textures for an artsy look. Dig out that eyelash or ribbon yarn that has been in your stash for 15 years. Anything goes.
2. Weigh each color, and write down the weight in grams on a slip of paper. For random color order, I weighed each ball on a kitchen scale and sorted them by weight from lightest to heaviest. With a top-down triangular shawl each row uses more yarn, so the weight order made the stripes somewhat similar in size. Most of the colors on my Magic Cake Shawl (except for the ruffle) were fairly close in weight with only 1-2 g difference between any color and the next color. I had 207 g and weeded out a few colors to make a smaller shawl. The weight of the finished product is 170g.
If you are not into randomness, just choose colors that work for you and go with that. The striping will have a different look to it. Each shawl is unique.
3. Join and wind all the yarn balls into one big Magic Cake using the Double Knot. Start with the lightest, working up to the heaviest, joining and winding as you go. With this method you will only have two ends to weave in--one at the beginning and one at the end. Magic! If you do the Double Knot correctly it will hold up just fine. Rock climbers use this knot. If they can trust their lives with it, then we can trust it with our knitting. I am a huge fan of the Double Knot which I learned from the tutorial by Jane Richmond (How to join your yarn by making a double knot I came up with a way to remember it: ; however, each time I made the knot, I had to go back to the video.How to Remember the Double Knot.
I wound my cake with a ball winder and made the joins with the Double Knot as I went along, but the same thing can be done by hand .
If you like a center pull ball then start with your smallest weight and the ruffle yarn will be on the outside. If you prefer the yarn coming from the outside of the ball, then start winding with the largest weight and your smallest weight will be the last color and consequently on the outside.
Knitting the Shawl:
There are many shawl patterns that will work for the Magic Cake. If you want to make a shawl like mine, the pattern is available on Ravelry and Craftsy as Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl.
by Paula Emons-Fuessle
The Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl is a top down, triangular shawl with a center spine and long tails. It is finished off with a ruffle that drapes gracefully on the ends. Exact stitch counts are not necessary. Gauge is not critical. If you run out of yarn and the shawl is not big enough to suit you, simply join in another random color. The shawl will stretch considerably after washing and blocking. It's fun! It's fast! It uses up stash!
The Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl pattern gives weights for each color and instructions for knitting one similar to mine. Keep in mind that yours will be unique in color.
You could knit items other than shawls with your Magic Cake. Worsted or bulky weight is great for cowls, legwarmers, mittens, wristers, and hats. Avoid using the knot in socks, baby hats, or anything where smoothness is essential.
You will look at your leftover yarn in a new way after making your first Magic Cake. Enjoy!