Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy New Year!

We had a blast at Disney World with all of the homemade ears!

Happy New Year, Everyone!  I promise that I will get back to business with new posts as soon as things settle down.  I am nearing the end of fullfilling all of my Kickstarter obligations.  In the meantime, make sure you check out what is going on with the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel.  I've been releasing multiple new dyeing videos every week! 

I have a back log of posts to write up.  Remember how I was sharing ears for our Disney World trip?  I have so many I haven't even shared with you yet!  Plus there are the Dyepot Weekly episodes, and some new fun hats that I knit for the kids.  I look forward to sharing many of my crafting adventures with you this year. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas! ChemKnits Stocking Knitting Patterns Summary

When I was taking a picture of my hand knit stockings on the fireplace, I realized that I have never made a summary post of the designs I created for my family.

These designs are very special to me.  I created our first stockings after Keith and I got engaged.  My stocking has two sides, my maiden initials (RFR) on one side and my married initials on the other (RFB).  I only ever used my stocking for one Christmas as RFR, but it was nice to have the stocking transition to my new name along with me.  

Coordinating Stocking Patterns:

I will be back with many more posts for the ChemKnits blog in 2018.  I have SO MANY PROJECTS that I still need to write up.  Not to mention all of the awesome Dyepot Weekly videos.  Thank you for all of your support for the last (almost!) 9 years.  I cannot wait to see where the next year will bring us.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope everyone has a winter season filled with warmth, light, and lots of squishy yarn.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sov, Sov, Sov!

Happy Chanukah, everyone!

I had a lot of intent to make new Chanukkah outfits for the boys this year, but unfortunately I ran out of time.  I decided (on the morning of the second day of Chanukkah) to draw some cute little dreidle shirts with puffy paint.

I freehanded these shirts.  I'm finding that I'm a lot more confident in my drawing abilities.  To be fair, these had a bunch of straight lines, but I've been doing more details on things lately (We made handprint turkey shirts for Thanksgiving, I should be sharing those soon!) so I thought it was fun to create these.

I have a blended family, so we celebrate both Chanukkah and Christmas in this house.  I was able to find some fun Chrismukkah decorations at the store this year, and it meant a lot to find something that represented my family.  I hope to design some decorations of my own that celebrate our togetherness after New Years that I can hang up next year. 

Happy Holidays!  I hope that you spend the rest of 2017 filled with warmth and light.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thank You Kickstarter Backers!

We did it!  The Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Campaign was a smashing success.  Thanks to you the Dyepot Weekly video series has enough funding for at LEAST the first 35 episodes.  I have used the funds raised for new equpitment (including a new dyepot), new dyes (food coloring, natural dyes, Rit liquid dyes, Jacquard acid dyes), and a lot of bare yarn from KnitPicks (Affiliate Link).

I would like to thank all of the Kickstarter backers for supporting my dream.  Not only did you fund the physical materials and supplies for the dyeing videos, but you have motivated me to create videos on a regular schedule.  This support, knowing that so many strangers (who aren't really strangers to me anymore) want me to succeed gives me so much more confidence in my own abilitlies.  I'm not sure where the future will take ChemKnits, but I am excited to find out. I do know that we will be dyeing a lot of beautiful colors together!

Sponsors Level Backers - When I set out to start this Kickstarter, I wasn't sure if anyone would want to back it.  I am so honored that 18 people decided to sponsor individual episodes of Dyepot Weekly.  The sponsored epsiodes just started coming out, and I sure hope that you all enjoy your videos (and your yarn!)
  • Marjorie
  • Elisa
  • Little Bird Stitchery
  • Rachel Wielgopolski
  • Carly Lanners
  • Kelly Kiehnhoff
  • Marek
  • Melanee Mortensen
  • Deborah
  • Diane at Singing Wolf Dyeworks
  • Tanya
  • CLFN
  • Victims for recent earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires
  • Elizabeth Theresa
  • Marilyn New
  • Sarah Birki
  • c4stuido
  • Madeline Turnipseed

Yarn Level Backers - From picking their own to just getting a little taste from a mini-skein, these backers supported my new endever.  I hope that you love your yarn!
  • Laura Mendez
  • Tabitha Carroll
  • Julie E.
  • Naomi
  • Jill Gower
  • Meaghan
  • JayCee
  • Sharon aka Bronx Knitter
  • Khristy Male
  • Jackie Kostick
  • Orla
  • Miranda from Anchored Soul Studio
  • Rosamunda Carter
  • Tracy
  • Keli Hansen - Owner of On a Quest for Fiber
  • Anonymous
  • Christy in AK
  • Jackalgirl
  • Maureen Bramberger
  • Heidi
  • Angela Fry
  • Nancy Brandt
  • Jami Moyer
  • Barbara Wade
  • April Hoy
  • Liz
  • Marci in Indiana
  • Leslie W.
  • ChemChica
  • Eve Underwood
  • Molly
  • Marie Hahn
  • Lindsey M. 
  • Teresa Leonard
  • Erin Hall from I Can Craft That
  • Amanda Cluxton
  • Recycled Rainbow
  • Lisa
  • Sarah Peterson
  • Elspeth Craggs
  • Veronica R. from Maryland
  • Martin Van Horn-Hickerson
  • Ladynthread
  • June from Alton, IL
  • Sarah from Massachusetts
  • Lacey Smith
  • Amanda W.
  • Seneca
  • Barbara Lowell
  • Michelle Stone
  • WB
  • Tanya Seaman
  • Rachel C.
  • @SeekingSunshine_knits (Instagram)
  • KT
  • Sewnut Barb
  • Beth Roberts
  • Shannon
  • Sarah
  • Liz Clothier
  • Steph Karpe
  • Sandy
  • Mary Margaret
  • Alé "Aeyt" Santos
  • Maggie
  • Catherine McClarey
  • Frisky
  • Tiffany G.
  • June Kryk
  • Marilyn Bunzo
  • Jess DuMond
  • Mary Ellen Meggs
  • Roselyne Caron
  • Nomad
Shout Outs - Thank you for believing in this project enough to support it for the digital rewards!
  • Rianne
  • Barbara
  • Phoebe A.
  • Hanna from Virginia
  • Stitchpunk
Thank you, also, to everyone who wished to remain anonymous or who declined a shout out.  Thank you also to those of you who selected the Cheer Squad or no reward, your vote of support means so much to me.  

Here is the official Kickstarter Thank You Video. I decided to add a dyeing project to the background of the shout outs.  In this video, you will watch me space dye 200 g of yarn, 100 g of 100% superwash wool and 100 g of untreated 100% wool with some Easter Egg dye tablets.  I sped up the dye spreading out 587% so you have something to watch while I read out the names. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! I really hope that I pronounced everyone's name correctly! 

At the publication of this Thank You blog post, 10 Dyepot Weekly episodes have been published.  Is there a dyeing experiment you would love to see?  Let me know in the comments and I can add it to the list!  I look forward to the next year of dyeing adventures.

This post contains some KnitPicks Affiliate Links.  I have been using their yarns for years before becoming an affiliate in October 2017.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Beginning of Dyepot Weekly

Thanks to all of your support, the first episode of Dyepot Weekly was released on the day the Kickstarter Campaign ended.  Dyepot Weekly #1 - Dyeing Speckled Yarn with Dry Kool-Aid is a fun project that I had been saving up just for Dyepot Weekly.  I was blown away by all of the support I received to launch this new series of dyeing videos.  We hit our goal within the first 24 hours of the campaign and then ended at over 350%!  On day 2 of the campaign, I started planning and filming the episodes so I could launch the series as soon as possible.

Before I speckled the yarn, I wanted to create an all over base color.  I used some Kool-Aid Bursts squeeze bottles to dye two 100 g skeins of yarn, Bare Stroll Fingering and Bare Wool of the Andes Worsted (KnitPicks Affiliate Links), a pale mint/blue color.  I was surprised that the superwash merino /nylon blend took up the color from the cool beverage almost immediately to create a really cool splotchy color.  I knew as soon as this happened that I needed to design some superwash versus untreated wool dyeing experiments.

I used a tea strainer to speckle the dry Kool-Aid on top of the damp yarns.  I was more heavy handed with the cherry KoolAid on the 100% wool skein, and I feel like I really got my rhythm on the superwash/nylon fingering weight yarn.  The specks on the sock yarn are so tiny, it is incredible!  I have a suspicion that it is the superwash treatment that is allowing the colors to bind to the yarn so quickly, but this is something that I still need to explore further.  

Check out the first episode of Dyepot Weekly to see exactly how I created these stunning yarns!  

Thank you for all of the support you have shown me here on the blog over these years.  I can't believe that I started this site 9 years ago.  I get so much inspiration from all of your comments, questions, and suggestions.  Thank you for fanning the flame of creativity that is inside of me.  I can't wait to see what we create together next! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

The KnitPicks BIG Sale is here!

Are you ready?  I LOVE the biggest KnitPicks Sale of the year!  Thousands of yarns are up to 60% off and they released a few new yarn lines this morning.

Since I'm on the East Coast, I didn't have to wake up super early to check out the sale.  I did, however, start refreshing the KnitPicks website a bit before 9 AM EST.  I placed an order this morning and I'm really happy with what I added into my cart:

I am super excited by the new "Simply Wool" and "Simply Alpaca" lines of yarn.  The natural colors of wool are stunning, and I think that it would be really fun to overdye them.   I ordred a medium gray "Winkle" that I think would be REALLY FUN to overdye. I plan to overdye the WOTA pink roving, too.  KnitPicks also released lace weight Chroma yarn and new colors of Felici Sock Yarn

In addition to the yarns that will be on sale all week, there are going to be limited sales most days (or at least Wednesday and Friday according to the BIG Sale dashboard.)  Today (Monday 11/13), all pattern project kits are 40% off.  In the past I've used discounted kits like this to build up my stash.  I know that it is always useful to have more Wool of the Andes colors around since I use those all the time. 

I have a feeling that I might end up placing a second order sometime this week, especially if some something else goes on sale to tempt me.  I need to sort my stash and see what things I need to add to my personal collection.  What do you think I should buy?  I am tempted by a knitting unicorn pin and some of the tote bags.  I wonder what the special deals will be on Wednesday... 

Disclaimer:  I am a KnitPicks Affiliate and all of the links in this post are affiliate links.  I have been knitting with KnitPicks yarns for YEARS before becoming an affiliate and absolutely love their yarns.  Feel free to ask me about my favorites!  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mini-skeins from Memory Lane

The variety of hand dyed mini skeins mailed to Kickstarter Backers

The Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Campaign smashed my expecations, and smashed all of the stretch goals I came up with out of the park.  One of these stretch goals was that every backer who selected a shipped reward would receive a mini skein of hand dyed yarn.  Depending on the selected reward, the bonus mini-skein would be handspun or dyed on a commercial yarn.  

I did not label the individual mini skeins of yarn.  Instead, I thought it would be fun to write up a summary of all of these yarns, and to see if I could figure out exactly what video or blog post they came from. Are you ready for this trip down memory lane?

Hand Dyed and Handspun Mini-skeins

With one exception, all of the hand dyed and handspun miniskeins were spun recently.  So recently that I haven't even been able to write up a blog post about them!  However, all of the fiber dyeing takes place in different videos. Some of the spinning took place in livestreams, too!  Let's take a closer look at these 5 yard + miniskeins of handpusn yarn starting from the left:
  1. I dyed the fiber for the first two skeins on the left in a livestream this past September.  I handpainted 200 g of 100% wool roving with Kool-Aid.  This was the first time I did a dyeing livestream, and it was so much fun to interact with everyone while I was dyeing the fiber.  I also got a great tip, put the fiber though a salad spinner to help it dry.  This tip was LIFE CHANGING.  I think I might buy a salad spinner to use with non-food safe dyes.  In the first yarn, I N-plyed (chain plyed) the yarn in another livestream.  I don't think I wrote down the WPI (wraps per inch) for this yarn, but I got a minimum of 57 yards out of this yarn.
  2. The fiber in the second mini skein of handspun yarn was dyed in the same video as the previous one.  I spun Z singles, wound the singles into a center pull ball and then made an S 2-ply yarn with both ends of the yarn cake.  I didn't film any of the plying for this yarn. 
  3. The fiber from the middle two skeins is some unknown 100% wool fiber that I dyed in the original breaking black food coloring video.  I've come a long way since some of these early dyeing videos!  I spun the fiber recently with mini-skeins in mind.  I spun uneven Z singles, wound them into a center pull ball, and then plyed both ends in the S direction.  Skein #3 came from breaking Wilton's Black (the old formulation). 
  4. This fiber was dyed and spun in the same ways as #3.  The only difference is that I broke McCormick's black food coloring to dye this fiber.  The breaking is super subtle in this fiber, but you can see the blues peak out in some places. 
  5. This yarn is a very special yarn to me.  I space dyed this roving with food coloring I had mixed in a previous video.  With this roving, I attempted to spin my first chunky yarn.  The yarn was bulky, but not as chunky as I had hoped.  What is super special about this yarn?  I used this yarn to knit a baby cuccoon to use in my son's newborn photoshoot.  I spun a chunkier yarn that I was going to use for the body of the pod, and I knew that I didn't quite have enough yardage. I used this to cast on the top edge and then used it to finish the bottom when I ran out of the other yarn. 
  6. The sunset colored yarn on the far right was the first yarn I spun when I was planning the hand dyed and handspun miniskeins reward.  To get these bright colors, I space dyed braided roving with Easter egg dyeing tablets. Like many of the ther yarns, I didn't think too much about plying until I was already spinning the singles.  I wound the singles into a center pull ball and plied the yarn in the S direction. I ended up with about 67 yards of this yarn.  
I recently discovered that when I make a 4 foot skein on my niddy noddy that it is actually a bit longer than 4 ft.  Therefore, all of my yardage estimates, which I calculate by counting the wraps and multiplying by 4/3, understimate the yardage I got while spinning.

Hand Dyed Mini Skeins

These hand dyed miniskeins came from all over.  Some came from dyed blanks, some are remnants from projects I was knitting, and others are full miniskeins that were featured in a dyeing video.  Some of these yarns came from 100 g skeins of yarn that I had in my stash.  I will tell you more about all of the yarns below.  

This first set of yarns comes from some of my early adventures with Tulip Tie Dye Kits (Amazon Affiliate Link).  Originally, I was gifted a kit from AllFreeKnitting and Tulip to dye some yarn.  I enjoyed this brand of tie dye kit so much that I now choose it and purchase it with my own money for dyeing videos.  All 3 of these yarns were dyed with the orignal kit I received.  Three yarns, you might ask, there are 11 yarns in this image.  Let me tell you a little more about them:
  • Left: In 2012, I created the video "How to Dye Cotton Yarn with a Tulip Tie Dye kit".  Two 50 g balls of sport weight cotton yarn in this video.  I used Simply Cotton organic sport weight (KnitPicks Affiliate Link) These four yarns are some of the ones that came out of the complete ball of yarn that I dyed.  Notice how the colors change based on whether they were on the outside of the ball (far left) or the inside (the greener yarns on the right.)  The video also features some of my favorite tie dyed t-shirts that I made in college. 
  • Bottom Right: I showed three mini skeins here to show how much more consistant this colorways is, especially compared to the two other dyeing projects in this picture.  I wound the 50 g ball of the sport weight cotton yarn into a skein and then handpainted that with all of the colors in the kit.  The colors came out super vibrant and then yarn is a lot of fun.  You can see the dyeing in the same video linked above. 
  • Top Right: In this video, I wraped up a pre-knit blank (that I hand knit, by the way) and then tie dyed this hand knit fabric into a spiral.  The yarn base is 100% wool, Bare wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn (KnitPicks affiliate link).  I now have a hand crank knitting machine that I use to make my own blanks.  It takes much to long to knit them by hand!  These 4 miniskeins look super different from one another, but they all came out of one dyeing project.  

Here are a bunch of 100% wool yarns in differnet weights and dyed with very differnt techniques.  Starting on the far left:
  1. This is a VERY special yarn, an I knew that I wanted to send out some miniskeins of this yarn to Kickstarter backers.  This is the first 100% wool yarn I ever dyed.  Ever.  I only had this blog, I didn't even have a YouTube channel yet!  I used a mixture of Kool-Aid and liquid food coloring to dye 100 g of bare KnitPicks palette yarn (Affiliate Link) in the microwave.  I've used this yarn to make multiple different projects, some of which are featured in the FAQ video of finished knit projects made with hand dyed yarns.  I used this yarn to make a hat, a pair of mittens, and then later in the video, a hexapuff.  I wanted to dye this yarn because I loved the look of mixing variegated yarns with black, it sort of looks a little like stained glass.  This hat is one of my favorites and I wear it frequently. 
  2. Some of these yarns come from super old videos, like 4 addresses ago!  This is the first time I ever explored breaking purple food coloring.  I had successfully dyed some solid purple yarns previously and now I wanted to see what all of this breaking talk was about.  The yarn base is KnitPicks bare palette yarn. 
  3. This yarn was dyed using some food coloring I bought at the Christmas Tree Store (random brand) and then dipping portions of the skein into dye in the microwave.  I would add 2/3 of the yarn at a time into a different bath of water.  I haven't done this technique in a long time, and I'm not entirely sure why. I think that I need to do some dip dyeing in multiple colors soon!
  4. This purple yarn is STUNNING.  The colors are spotty and mabled.  How did I do this?  I dyed the yarn using some rice that had soaked up some food coloring.  The technique (and video) are a lot of fun, but unfortunately it was a HUGE pain to remove rice from these yarns and to wash out all of the starch.  I can't image doing this on 100 g of yarn!  The yarn base is a mini skein of bare wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn (KnitPicks affiliate link).
  5. This yarn is a sublte, semi-solid purple.  I loved it so much that I wanted to share how these subtle tonal changes can be super stunning with all of you.  The yarn base is KnitPicks bare palette yarn.  I used a Tulip Tie Dye kit and added the color to dry yarn.  The tie dyeing instructions recommend using presoaked yarn, but suggested that it wasn't a requirement.  I was curious how the colors would bind to the yarn if I just randomly squirted it on.  I think that I eventually needed to add some more water because the dye sort of beaded up on the surface, but this was a really fun experiment. 
  6. & 7. The last to yarns on the right were dyed as miniskeins with a very specific project.  I needed to color match some yarns I used in Lucky's first birthday outfit AND I wanted to try dyeing yarn in mason jars on the stove top, sort of like a double boiler.  I should have put a towel under the jars!  Whoops.  These colors ended up not being close enough to what I needed, but they are so pretty!  The yarn base is 100% wool worsted weight wool of the Andes yarn.  You will even see some pictures of Rowdy in his birthday outfit with some of the dinosaurs I crocheted out of the yarns I kept from this video.  

The last two yarns were dyed recently, and only one was dyed by me.  The left yarn was dyed using some old (like, months-years old) tulip tie dye that had been sitting in squeeze bottles for a very long time.  This video will come out on November 24, 2017.  The final yarn (on the right) was dyed by Lucky!  Lucky dyed this yarn while I worked on a rainbow colorway.  Lucky wants to keep all of his yarns, and I turned almost all of this yarn into a brand new hat for him.  There were 10-12 g of yarn left over after I finished the pompom, so I knew that I needed to share these with two backers.  Both of these yarns are 100% worsted weight wool.


Preparing shippments for the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter backers is like a huge trip down memory lane.  Most of the full skeins of yarn I've dyed over the last few years are packaged up and ready to start getting shipped to backers. (The linked Facebook album is now like an archive of dyed yarns.  Each image has links to the dyeing video in the comments.)  

I hope that you love your bonus mini-skeins!  I will need to wind a few more for some of the next shipment rounds.  Actually, I have a lot more dyeing to do before the next shipping round.  Wahoo!