5 Little Monsters: Self Striping Yarn Cakes: A Comparison of Caron Cakes, Premier Sweet Rolls, Lion Brand Mandala, and Bernat Pop

Self Striping Yarn Cakes: A Comparison of Caron Cakes, Premier Sweet Rolls, Lion Brand Mandala, and Bernat Pop

self striping yarn cakes, what's the difference

Several months ago Caron Cakes came out and they were the new big thing in yarn crafts. Every crochet group I am in on facebook was going crazy over them. They were only available at Michaels and they couldn't seem to keep them in stock. I'll be honest, I thought it was a little crazy how excited everyone was about them and wasn't really interested in joining in on the hype. I wasn't crazy about a lot of the color combinations and I didn't really like the idea of such abrupt color changes. I didn't really have much of a desire to try them out and thought they would just be a fad that would last for a little while before disappearing. Boy was I wrong. Pretty soon Premier came out with Sweet Rolls and Caron came out with a new batch of colors. It looked like the cakes were here to stay and after a while I decided that if I wanted to be taken seriously as a crochet blogger I better make something using Caron Cakes, or one of the other similar yarns. I picked up a couple of Caron Cakes and started a project, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked the yarn quite a bit and didn't mind the abrupt changes nearly as much as I thought I would. Not long after that I was trying to come up with a project to do for Fairfield World and decided to pick up a couple of Sweet Rolls. At that point I thought since I was trying both I would do some sort of comparison post about what I liked and/or didn't like about each yarn. Just days later I started seeing stuff on Facebook about Lion Brand Mandala and Bernat Pop coming out at Walmart. As far as I have been able to find it seems like the Walmarts around me are currently only carrying the Lion Brand Mandala, I have not seen Bernat Pop but I picked up some Mandala to compare to the other. I have information about each of the different yarns and have tried all but Bernat Pop. I made a little chart to compare all of them and will share my opinions on each. I purchased all of the yarns I tried myself so this is not sponsored by any of the companies, all of the opinions I share here are my completely unbiased thoughts on each type of yarn.

comparison chart for caron cakes premier sweet rolls lion brand mandala and bernat pop

I added a bunch of information, everything I could think of that you might want to be able to see at quick glance when comparing the different yarns, to this chart in hopes that it could be kind of a quick reference guide to the yarn. Each of the yarns that I tried had things that I liked and didn't like so I thought I would share my thoughts on each.

Caron Cakes

Caron Cakes

These were the ones that started the trend and the first type that I tried. I think at the beginning I wasn't super impressed with the color combinations that were available but they have added more (and taken some away which I know made some people pretty upset, especially if they were in the middle of a project and the color they were using was discontinued). The colorway I purchased, I believe, was one of the original ones, Blueberry Cheesecake. My daughter picked it out because blue is her favorite color and it is definitely very blue. I liked the colors. For the most part I liked the yarn. I felt like the color changes were not as noticeable as I worried that they would be and the yarn was pretty soft.

crocheting with Caron Cakes

My complaints, first of all I would probably prefer that it be 100% acrylic. Obviously this is totally personal preference but I feel like it adds just a little bit of scratchiness to the yarn and there is more of a possibility that someone may have a sensitivity to the wool. Also, I think mostly because of the addition of the wool this yarn is not machine washable. This is a big deal for me and one of the reasons I put off trying it for so long. I like using yarn that is machine washable, especially with a bigger project like a blanket or something. A hat isn't as big of a deal to me because it is small. The problem with that is that I feel like the long color changes lend themselves to bigger projects so being hand wash only is a pretty big issue for me. My other issue with this yarn is that it is the most expensive of the four. That being said it is also the biggest weight wise and the second biggest in yardage so you are getting a decent amout for your money. In the end it is very comparable to the price of Sweet Rolls if you are going by price per yard. It doesn't seem to me like it is on sale very often but you can use 40% off coupons.

Sweet Rolls

Premier Sweet RollsThis was the second type that came out and the second one that I tried. The projects that I made with this yarn were smaller so it is actually the only yarn that I have actually completed a project with. The others I am working on bigger projects that are still in progress. I feel like there were more colors that I liked in this yarn than the Caron Cakes but that might be because I tend to lean more toward the gradient type combos rather than totally different colors and there seemed to be quite a few of those in the sweet rolls. The biggest difference colorwise between this and the other yarns is that there are only 3 colors in each cake. The first color I got was Wasabi Pop which funny enough is not one of the gradient colorways. It is not a color I probably would have normally chosen but I was looking for something that had some green in it. Even though it wasn't my typical color choice I really liked it. I used it before taking pictures so I had to go buy another one for that and that time I chose one that was more of a gradient colorway.  I liked the fact that it was machine washable and I thought it was soft and nice to work with. 

crocheting with Premier Sweet Rolls

My biggest issue with the Sweet Rolls is the size. They are the the smallest of the options, so kind of the opposite of the Caron Cakes. The price is lower but you definitely get a lot less yarn as well. It does seem like they are frequently on sale which is nice. Because of their size and only three color changes I felt like this type lent itself to smaller projects more than the others. Another thing I noticed about this yarn is that I had heard complaints about the colors bleeding and I noticed it a little in both these and the Caron Cakes but I felt like in the sweet rolls it seemed more intentional, like it was supposed to be there, and I actually really liked it. It gave it more of a heathered type look, I didn't think it looked like bleeding colors. It didn't bother me at all and was actually probably more of a positive to me than a negative. 

Lion Brand Mandala

Lion Brand MandalaThis yarn is available at some Walmarts as well as online through Lion Brand's website. Only problem, at Walmart it is half the price, $4.97, whereas through Lion Brand it is $9.99. I really liked this yarn a lot. My biggest complaint is that I prefer working with medium weight (4) yarn and this is the only one of the 3 that is a light weight (3) yarn. As a result it is a little thinner than I like to work with. Other than that I love the feel and I feel like the color changes in this yarn were much less abrupt that the other. This could have been due to the color I chose, Unicorn, because it is shades of bluish gray and pink and white. The shades of gray and pink blended together so you couldn't really tell where it changed. Also, this yarn does not have a set number of colors, I put 6 on the chart but looking on the website I noticed that most of the colorways have 6 or 7 colors in them but some have as few as 5 or as many as 9. 

Crocheting with Lion Brand Mandala

This yarn is the bigest of the 4 yardage wise, althought weight wise it is smaller than the Caron Cakes. This is because the yarn is thinner. I thought it was really nice and soft to work with, I think it was probably the softest of the 3 that I have tried. The downside to the yarn only being at Walmart is that it will never go on sale, nor can you use coupons but it is one of the cheapest at full price and you get quite a bit of yarn for the price. Price per yard it is by far the least expensive. 

Bernat Pop

This is the one that I don't have much of an opinion on because it does not seem to be available yet in my area. It looks like size and price wise it will be similar to the Sweet Rolls. Looking at the weight and yardage it looks like it is be slightly thinner than the Sweet Roll (based on the fact that it has more a few more yards but weighs slightly less). A major downside of this one in my opinion is the fact that so far it is only available at Walmart and like with the Mandala, Walmart doesn't really put things on sale or have coupons whereas the similar sized Sweet Rolls do go on sale frequently and have coupons that can be used so you will rarely have to pay full price. As far as quality and softness I will have to wait until I can try it out before I can share my thoughts on that. 

Self striping yarn cakes from various brands

Have you tried any (or all) of these yarns? Do you have a favorite? I feel like I like different things about each one but all in all they are all pretty nice to work with. 

comparison and review of caron cakes, sweet rolls, lion brand mandala and bernat pop


  1. Ice yarn has cakes, too. Worsted acrylic, Baby Cakes (DK wt.), & Cotton Fine (sport wt).

    1. My favorite use for this yarn is to do a simple double knitting (K1, yarn forward as if to purl, slip1) starting with one color in skein 1, work 2 rows, then change to skein 2 (starting at a different color) and work 2 more rows. repeat--you bet a pretty stripe pattern that is easy as pie.

  2. I like the Caron cakes. It was a little itchy, it worked up beautifully. I made a whole beautiful project before I realized it had wool. I am allergic to wool (asthma), so I could crochet it but can't wear it. So I thought I would try the Bernat Pop brand. I hate hate hate it. Yarn is super itchy, some of it is fatter and some of it is thinner, the colors are awful. Very low quality. I haven't used the Sweet Roll, but I felt it at the store today, and it is super soft. It seems like there is a more gradual color change, which I like. Maybe I have to give this type of yarn one more chance.

  3. How nice of you to do this for us!! Thank you very much! I have not tried any of them yet, but now that you've gone to all this trouble to explain them so well, I will..I have been thinking of a baby blanket.

  4. I used Caron Cakes to make an afghan. I loved the color (purple). Thanks for comparing all the others. Looking for the blue now. I loved the feel of the yarn.

  5. What a great comparison and I love the chart. Thank you. I also have only tried the Caron Cakes and didn't realize it was a wool blend until half way through my waffle stitch blanket. I have sensory issues with wool, it makes me itch, and asthma. Surprisingly, I have had no issues with this yarn. The blanket is so soft and drapes nicely. Feels like a nice warm snuggly hug. After seeing and feeling my blanket, I now have orders for them. People don't seem to mind that it's hand wash only. I'll definitely be trying the others to see if they work up as nice with the same stich. Thanks again. ��

  6. I have not tried any of these yet but I'm leaning towards the Mandela for all the reasons you mention. I prefer working in DK for its better drape.

  7. I've tried the Caron Cakes, the Sweet Roll, and the Bernat Pop (I haven't found the Mosaic yet :( ). Of those 3, my favorite is the Pop - for the washability, the color schemes and cost. I like the others, but the Pop is my favorite

  8. Yarn Bee has one now. It's called Sugarwheel. It is available at Hobby Lobby. It is 100% acrylic, 7 oz. The colors seem to be stripy, normally with 5 colors. I've just gotten one but haven't started a project yet.