The fascinating characteristics of Lion Brand Mandala Baby DK

Back in June, I created a series of posts here on KNITmuch.com introducing 5 yarns from Lion Brand. The first post in the series was a “thumbnail sketch” of Mandala Baby DK. This week I’m going to take a more in-depth look at this versatile yarn.

Mandala Baby DK is “put up” in “cakes.”

Mandala Baby DK is a vivid, fun yarn with loooong color stretches. As the name says, it is a double knitting (DK) weight yarn with a recommended tension of 22 stitches to 4″ [10cm]. DK is a great weight for baby knits: it’s thin enough that it doesn’t bunch up around the little ones, and it’s thick enough that knitters can make up projects – large and small – quickly.

In my world, 22 sts to 4” [10cm] is a sport weight yarn, technically speaking. DK yarns, to me, have a slightly tighter gauge of 24 sts to 4” [10cm]. Now, I always say that the tension given on a ball band is a recommended gauge, and that your mileage may vary. In the case of Mandala Baby DK, when I read the “fine print”, I see that the manufacturer recommends size 5 US [3.75mm] needles to get 22 sts to 4″. I’m definitely going to check the tension on this yarn to see if it’s a “true” DK, or if, indeed, it works up to what I consider to be sport tension.

Mandala Baby DK has incredible yardage, with 590yds [540m] per 5.3oz [150g] “cake.” The “cake” way of winding the yarn makes it easy for the knitter to see all the colors in the “ball” while offering a center pull with minimal tangling. The fiber content is 100% acrylic, which means it makes rough-and-tumble knits that moms and dads don’t have to worry about on laundry day. Mandala Baby DK also has a very soft feel, which is great to put against children’s tender skin.

I have to say, I had a lot of fun with this yarn: the colors are great, it’s soft to work with, and it offers lots of potential to try some really interesting techniques.

I sampled three colorways: Arendelle, Unicorn Cloud, and Rainbow Falls. There are some other amazing colorways: Magic Moon is a deep rendition of a night sky, with purples, navy and greys; Wishing Well has washed denim blues with off-white and beige tones; Honeydukes has bold, juicy, fruity colours, while Narnia has more pastel tones that also are reminiscent of juicy candies. Diagon Alley and Acre Woods each contain classic, even vintage, pastel baby shades.

The long stretches of color can easily be seen in this photo.

As you can see from the photos, every colorway has very long stretches of colors, which means there are some things to consider when planning a project. That will be the topic of my next post. After that, I’ll offer a post about knitting a sweater from a schematic, and then, I’ll wrap up the series with a post about knitting Faux Fair Isle and other techniques to capitalize on this yarn, along with a pattern for a double-sided scarf and an adaptation for a baby blanket.

This promises to be a fun, informative week! I hope you’ll play along as I explore Mandala Baby DK.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: How to plan a knitting project with a long-span, variegated yarn

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