Magic cake shawl… or what to do with your gorgeous leftover yarn 29

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So you’ve finished your crochet project, and you have leftover yarn. It’s beautiful yarn. You think all yarn is beautiful, sure, but this is really beautiful yarn.

Repeat x every single FO in your life. That’s a LOT of leftover yarn.

What’s a crocheter to do with all this beautiful fiber? Let it go to waste? No way! This is where the Magic cake shawl comes in.

I first learned about magic cakes at the Twist Fiber retreat last year, and ever since, my leftovers have gone into a basket specifically for them.

Magic Cake, shawl recipe


300g to 400g various leftover yarns, sorted or unsorted;

  1. Sort it by texture / colour / weight – the sky is the limit.
  2. Let randomness sort it as you work through the steps.

Hook appropriate to the (biggest) yarn weight used;
Yarn winder (optional);


Let’s clear one thing up: if stripes that don’t end at the very edge of your item bother you, this is not for you. If stripes should all have the exact same number of rows, this is not for you. This is a totally meditative project, one that let’s you go back to completed projects in your head once you hit that yarn in your magic cake. BUT it does require some letting go.

So, now that you’ve let go:

Get our your yarn winder, pick a leftover (Leftover 1), and wind it. You can also do this by hand, but will probably appreciate the speed of the winder if you have one.

When you reach the last foot or so of yarn, pick another leftover (Leftover 2) and tie its end to Leftover 1 using the sturdy Fisherman’s Knot. This knot is basically impossible to unknot if done properly.

To complete a Fisherman’s Knot, you tie a knot OVER Leftover 1 with Leftover 2; and a second one UNDER Leftover 2 with Leftover 1. Pull on both tails to bring the 2 knots together. Tug at them a few times to make sure your knot is secure, and cut off excess yarn.


Fisherman’s knot via Wikipedia

Hopeful Honey also has a great video tutorial on YouTube.

Repeat these steps with approximately 300-400g of yarn – I use a lot a fingering and worsted weight yarns, and this is a good quantity to get a nice size of shawl. I like to attach yarns to each other from largest to smallest leftover quantity (if you work from the outside of the cake; the opposite if you’re more of a center pull kinda person).

Once you’ve wound all your yarn, it’s time to crochet. I like triangle shawls, but you could make a scarf, or even a lap blanket with your leftovers. It’s up to you, really. And how much you’ve got!

Here is my go to triangle pattern (pictured above):

Ch 4, sl st to 1st ch to form ring.

Row 1: Ch 1, 5 sc in ring. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in 1st sc, sc in next, 3 sc in next (mark middle sc), sc in next, 2 sc in last. Turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, 2 sc in 1st sc, sc in ea sc to marked st, 3 sc in marked st (move marker up), sc in ea sc to st before last, 2 sc in last. Turn.

Repeat row 3 forever and ever! Or until you run out of yarn 😛

Best of all, there are only 2 ends to weave in when you’re done. =)


Will you be trying this technique?

Julie xx


29 thoughts on “Magic cake shawl… or what to do with your gorgeous leftover yarn

  • Shelly

    I will *definitely* be trying this – I have never thrown away any yarn leftovers and I’m running out of space to keep them! Also, I *love* shawls!!

  • Nadine

    This is such a fantastic idea for using leftover yarn. This would be great for donating to the local shelter or nursing home! Thanks for the awesome idea and pattern!!

  • Cindi Mathieu

    I really like the idea of this. Your explanations and directions are so good and positive, I feel like starting right now! Alas, I must prioritize so will copy this for future reference. Thank you

  • EileenK

    I did something similar to make a small rug. But instead of creating the cake before hand, I just added another ball of scrap yarn as I got to each end of the working yarn. I had all the yarn in balls in a bowl, and I reached in and picked randomly–rejecting one only if it was the same as the previous one. I used that knot (which I learned as the “magic knot”) all the way through, and it has held up very well for the little throw rug in front of my kitchen sink. To make it a bit hardier because it was going to be used as a rug, not a decoration, I carried the yarn with a strand of a cotton/acrylic blend, all the same color. It’s a fun way to make something and use up leftover yarn.

  • Anita Sweet

    What a splendid idea! I have so many leftover colors from finished projects that I just can’t bring myself to throw away – they are all gorgeous, but not enough to make any one thing. Looking forward to tying the yarns together and making a “Shawl of many colors”!

  • Barb

    I make afghans for charity using 2 strands of assorted odds and ends tied like magic balls (1 strand uses all dark colors tied together and the other all light colors), half double crochet stitch and a large hook (like size P) and it really uses up the leftovers! And it works up so fast!

  • Tammy

    What a great way to use up my leftover yarn. Plus I just got a new yarn winder. I might need to make two cakes because it’s cakes are only about 4oz.

  • Sharon

    I made my first “Magic Cake” afghan 35 years ago. At that time I was making a lot of baby and adult size afghans so lots of yarn leftover. I will definitely make the shawl now as I have a good collection of leftover yarn now that I have grandchildren. Lots of blankets and sweaters.

  • Cheryl Love

    Yes, I think I want to try this…but I am not an experienced crocheter. My knowledge extends to granny squares and straight sc back and forth…. Will get out my trusty crochet guide and give it a go. In reading the directions above I did have a question. Is this crochet in the round? I think I got lost in Row 2.

    • ACCROchet Post author

      You totally don’t have to be an experienced crocheter =) The pattern is worked in rows. You are basically working 2 sc on either end of the row, and 3 sc in the middle. Everything else is just sc in each sc.

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