Friday, December 7, 2018

A New ChemKnits Logo and Some New Merch!

I am so pleased to finally share the new ChemKnits Creations logo with all of you!  I wanted to create something that combined Chem-and-Knits but also represented the direction that I've taken with the YouTube channel.  This ball of yarn is sitting in a two neck round bottom flask, a common piece of lab equipment, to represent both the science side and the dyeing experiments that we all love.

This logo was designed by Taryn Johnson is a brilliant graphic designer and artist.  I have been a fan of Taryn's artwork for a long time, so when I reached out to her this fall with my vision I was thrilled that she was able to work with me on this logo.  You should absolute check out her other work!


What was the first thing I did with my logo?  I ran to a few different print-on-demand sites to play around with it on different products.  I wanted to test the scale and quality before offering some merchandise to all of you.  I am so pleased to finally offer some official ChemKnits Merchandise! Right now there are a few mug options (including a jumbo 20 oz mug and a color changing mug that was requested by viewers) plus the ChemKnits "Dyeary" Notebook. 


Stay tuned, because some more merchandise is coming soon! 

To be perfectly honest, I haven't decided how to integrate this logo here into the Blog yet... I still like my hand knit logo a bit. The blog that started everything off, and is about to turn 10 years old in just a few weeks.  I have some plans (plans is a strong word, ideas is likely better) for a new website to center and ground all of the directions that ChemKnits is going... but this blog will never be going anywhere.  The look might change, but ChemKnits.com will always be the blog that started it all.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Mystery Surprise Color Combinations! TODAY 9:30 AM EST


Fate has given us some of our very favorite broken food coloring colorways.  Why would I want to up the ante and get a kit that had 50 different food coloring colors to choose from?  The chalkboard is back, and I'm going to let the dice decide some fun yarn colors! 

I recently purchased the AmeriColor Nifty Fifty Kit which has 50 of their gel food coloring colors in it.  I promptly mixed all 50 colors together to create in a video some really pretty pink-green yarn colorways.  (Unfortunately, after filming the video I realized that they also have a Heavenly Seventy Kit... whoops!) 


This "fresh box of crayons" is calling my name. Join me today at 9:30 AM EST as I pull out my dice to mix some randomly selected colors together.  What kinds of colorways will we create on yarn? There are still a couple of preorder slots left, so you can pick the yarn base that I dye if you hurry.  Once the livestream begins, any remaining slots will default to "Surprise Sock." 

 
I hope you can join me in the livestream!  

This post contains affiliate links, but the post and these videos are not sponsored.  I selected the products and all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday is here! ChemKnits Creations, KnitPicks, Paradise Fibers, and more!

Hello, friends!  It is time for a fiber filled Black Friday and Small Business Saturday!  There are some great discounts going around, and I'm going to share some of my favorites.

In addition to my own store, the following are fiber and crafting companies that I am proud to work with.  All of the links in this post are affiliate links, but I chose which companies to include in this post. 

ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store

I am pleased to announce my first ever Black Friday Sale in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store! Through Monday, save 30% off on over 50 skeins of hand dyed yarn featured in my YouTube videos. (See the "on Sale" category in the shop.)

"Mystery Surprise Yarn" is back with a Cyber Weekend Twist.  While supplies last, you can add a second mystery surprise skein of hand dyed yarn for $5 or $10!  With a full retail value of $48 - $58, you can get some MASSIVE savings on these mystery yarns.


KnitPicks

KnitPicks is bringing back our favorite Black Friday coupon! (Affiliate link) 20% off sitewide with the code CYBER18.  This sale ends on Monday 11/26 (likely at 11:59 PM PST) so don't miss your chance to stock up on your favorites.  I like to use this coupon on bulk 20 packs.  With the 15% off bulk savings stacked with the 20% off coupon, that is a savings of 32%!

Lowest prices on the best yarn - guaranteed at knitpicks.com 

Paradise Fibers

Paradise Fibers is having a HUGE fiber sale for Black Friday! Save up to 60% off! There is free shipping over orders of $99+.  Wheels and Looms are 5% off (some brands are excluded), up to 40% off yarn, fiber, needles, and hooks.  Select items are 60% off! 

KnitCrate

KnitCrate has decided to delay their Black Friday sale this year.  Stay tuned for great deals later on tihs month.
"First of all, thank you for your continued patience this month. We know it has not been easy, and we apologize. Because of this delay, we have decided to postpone our Black Friday and Double Down sales until next week. This will allow for more of you to receive your crates this month and not miss out on buying more of the skeins during the sale.  We will keep tabs on when most kits have arrived to a majority of our community and will post the sale then. "
You can always save 20% off your first month's subscription of KnitCrate with the code ChemKnits20, but I take the above message to mean that something big is coming soon!

BluPrint

Discounted Bluprint monthly and annual plans are now available!  For a limited time, the monthly subscription is $7.99 (discounted from $14.99) and the annual subscription is $80 (discounted from $120.)  See the website for full details and other savings when you signup for bluprint.  These savings include 50% off supplies, free shipping at craftsy.com for one year, and more. Sale ends 11/26/18 at 11:59 PM MST.

Bluprint Black Friday Deals - Best Membership Prices of 2018! Valid 11/21-11/26/18 at myBluprint.com

Disclaimer - all of the companies that I linked to can change their sales at any times.  I am an affiliate marketer with KnitPicks, Paradise Fibers, KnitCrate, and BluPrint.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  These companies did not ask me to write this post, I just wanted to share all of these good deals with you.  

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The KnitPicks Big Sale is Here!



The KnitPicks Big Sale is here! (Affiliate Link)  Way back in the day, this was the only real sale that KnitPicks had each year, and fans of the sale would wait and crash the site when it first when live.  (Ooops!) I think that the company has changed strategies a bit over the years, and we see more coupons and discounts throughout the rest of the year.  However, this sale is the BIG ONE, and if you are waiting for the best prices of the year, now is the time to bite.

Full Disclosure - I am a KnitPicks Affiliate and the links in this post are affiliate links.  KnitPicks did not ask me to write this post.  All product selections and opinions are my own.  I purchased all of the yarn I discussed myself.  

There are over 1000 different yarns on sale this week.  I've found discounts up to 60%!  You can sort the sale yarns by fiber type to help focus on the ones you want, or you can browse through the standard yarn categories.



There are NEW YARN LINES, too!  KnitPicks released Stroll Gradient 50 g sets so you can make matching pairs of socks.  There is now a speckled form of Swish Worsted and some new handpainted colors of Stroll Fingering.  I am so excited to see both the gradient Duos and speckles on a worsted weight yarn.  One complaint about stroll gradients in the past is that you would need to purchase 200 g to create matching socks.  KnitPicks really does listen to customer feedback!

Best Bare Yarn Discounts

Earlier this year, KnitPicks released 12 new bare yarn lines.  I purchased and unboxed 8 of these yarns around the launch.  I think that I was able to pick up the remaining 4 today, Aristo, Shimmer Bulky, SuperSilk, and Super Bulky Soft.  I am really excited for my package to come so I can review these.  I left these off my previous order because they are fairly expensive for a single skein due to the luxury fibers.  Now that they are on sale... Yes Please!

The following are my picks for the best KnitPicks bare yarn deals of the Big Sale:

  • Double Stranded Stroll Fingering Sock Blanks - 50% off! At only $10 for these double stranded blanks, they are a steal! 
  • Bare Merino Style DK - 40% off.  This DK weight 100% Merino (non-superwash) isn't a yarn that I've dyed before, but at this price ($4.79/100 g) I'm going to pick some up for my second order.  
  • Bare Super Bulky Soft - 50% off.  This is a Superwash Wool/Alpaca blend that I'm excited to try for the first time. 
  • Bare Capra DK - 50% Off.  This merino/cashmere blend is AMAZING both from a knitting and dyeing perspective.  
  • Bare SuperSilk - 50% off.  This is another yarn I haven't tried (yet) but it is 52/48 Superwash Wool/Mulberry Silk and it looks like it is super shiny and soft.  
  • Bare Shimmer Bulky - 50% off.  I've used Shimmer lace yarn before, but I've never tried a bulky version. I LOVE knitting with the shimmer yarn, it is soft and shiny.  I look forward to receiving this bare yarn (70/30 Baby Alpaca/Mulberry Silk).  The lace version (just called Bare Shimmer) is also 50% off.  
  • Paragon - 50% off.  This is a Merino/Silk/Alpaca blend and it has the most stunning shine and drape.  I've dyed it a couple of times so far and I absolutely love it.  
  • Bare Aristo - 40% off.  This is a Merino/Cashmere/Silk blend lace weight yarn.  The full price ($21.99) is a little high for me to experiment with, but I am happy to test one out at this sale price.  
  • Bare Cotton Boucle - 50% off.  I absolutely love this yarn.  It is a worsted weight 100% cotton yarn and it dyes so beautifully. I don't think the Boucle is too loopy so it shouldn't split badly while knit.  
  • Simply Alpaca - Colors Alaina and Alma.  50% off.  While not technically bare, these yarns are 50% off and are totally overdyeable.  I haven't tried out the Simply Alpaca yet (I'll add these to my next order) but I love the Simply Wool line.  
  • Momo Merino - 60% off.  This is a JUMBO weight knit tube filled with superwash merino roving.  At $12/250 g, if there is any Cream left when I go to place my next order I will pick some up.  
  • Bare Andes del Campo - 50% off.  This is 100% Highland Wool and is a bit more rustic than Wool of the Andes.  The plys are chunkier, but it is still super soft and I'm sure it will overdye nicely.  
  • Bare Chroma Twist Bulky - 50% off. I'm still sad that the chroma twist fingering went goodbye, but this is a great bare yarn deal!  

Many of my other favorite bare yarns are on sale, too.  However these ones have the largest discount. I did leave one 50% off bare yarn off of this list (bare swish fingering) because I am not a huge fan of that yarn.  I love the Swish line in general (DK, Worsted, Bulky) but the fibers in the fingering weight yarn aren't Merino and it isn't quite as soft.  I was so excited for this yarn, and then felt so disappointed once it was in my hands.  I think if my expectations were different, it would still be a lovely yarn.  And at the price, it could be worth getting some more.


Here is a look at my first order.  At least, I think this was my first order.  I forgot to take a screenshot before I checked out!  I do know that I also got a free totebag with the coupon code FREEBE150. I picked the "I'm working on my PhD, Projects Half Done" bag which I've been wanting for a very long time.  I could have picked a free yarn bowl or ball winder since my purchase was over $200 (code FREEBE200), or a project bag (FREEBE100), but I already have a KnitPicks yarn bowl and ball winder!

Another reason why I say that I "think" this is my order is that I'm not 100% sure that everything I purchased is still going to be available when they pack my order.  Sometimes with the KnitPicks big sale, they have some really great deals and multiple people will add the items to their cart at the same time.  Unfortunately this results in someone not getting an item from their order. (Don't worry - you won't get charged for it.) Since the Stroll sock blanks are still listed as in stock, I'm going to cross my fingers that I will get the 20 (yes 20!) that I ordered today.


KnitPicks Daily Deal

In addition to the thousand+ yarns that are already discounted, KnitPicks is going to have a special daily deal.  I have no idea what these will be, but I'm going to keep an eye on them all week and will keep updating this blog post.

  • Thursday 11/8 - $1 KnitPicks Exclusive Patterns
  • Friday 11/9 - No new deal - the next deal will be out Saturday at 5 AM PST.  
  • Saturday 11/10 - 30% off Interchangeable Needle Sets and Crochet Hook Sets!  (The Options Wooden needles are my favorites ever!) 
  • Sunday 11/11 - I noticed they changed "Daily Deal" to "One Day Deals" which makes more sense.  The next deal will come Tuesday at 5 AM PST.
  • Monday 11/12 - Waiting for Tomorrow!
  • Tuesday 11/13 -  DOLLAR DEALS DAY!  There are limited colors at $1, $3, or $5/skein.  There are also books at these prices, too!  There are limits per person, but these will sell out fast so don't miss your chance. 
  • Wednesday 11/14 - The next deal will come Thursday at 5 AM PST.  
  • Thursday 11/15 - Freebie Frenzy!  There are some tools, swag, and kits bundles where you can get a free item with the purchase of others.  I think the winner is the free lace blocking wires with blocking mats purchase.  Other freebies include free pin with stitch markers, free yarn with winding station purchase, and free project bags with tote bag purchase.  
  • Friday 11/16 - Waiting for Tomorrow!  
  • Saturday 11/17 - 40% off Select Kits! (Patterns + Yarn)
  • Sunday 11/18 - Waiting for Tomorrow!
  • Monday 11/19 - Free shipping over $35 with the coupon code FREESHIP for the US and Canada!   The sale ends at 11:59 PM PST but there is one more daily deal scheduled.  

KnitPicks launched 5 new "Special Reserve" yarn lines this morning.  These yarns include some wools, acrylic, and polyester blends.  It is interesting to see some yarn come in 40 g balls (instead of 50 or 100 g), and I will admit I'm a little perplexed as to why KnitPicks developed these yarns.  The colors are lovely, and I think the wool ones look like a lot of fun.  I tend to avoid acrylic and polyester yarns in my knitting personally, but I do know people want to see me dye some more synthetics.  


A KnitPicks Package I plan to unbox tonight on YouTube.  This is not my big sale order, it definitely did not arrive that quickly! 

Phew! That is a lot of a big sale.  I haven't even touched on the KnitPicks Exclusive Tools & Notions sale, the Tools sale, or even the other sales that have been going on all fall (Sock Needles Sale, Sweater Weather Sale.)  I am really excited to see what pops up over the course of the KnitPicks Big Sale.  The Big Sale will technically end on 11/19/18 at 11:59 PM PST.  In past years it has been extended a bit, but we should never count on them doing things exactly the same way.  I expect that there will be a lot of discount codes through the end of the year, but I also plan to make at least one more order during this big sale.

---------------------------------
All prices and discounts that I mention are subject to change by KnitPicks.  I am a KnitPicks Affiliate, but I have no inside information about their marketing strategies and I only get information on sales when it becomes available to the public.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, and KnitPicks did not ask me to write this post.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Week of the Undyed

Happy (Belated) Halloween!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up and creating different costumes.  This is the 4th year that I've created costumes for my boys, and I think I've been lucky so far that they've picked themes that are fairly easily for a mama to DIY.



This year, Lucky and Rowdy wanted to go as Catboy and Gecko from the series PJ Masks.  I took some solid colored pajamas from Primary and used puffy paint and felt to transform my little preschoolers into nighttime heros.  I hope to do a full post to show step by step how I created these costumes in the future, although last year's Pikachu and Pichu post is still overdue!  Seriously though, getting solid color PJ or sweat suit sets have a world of DIY potential.

Rise of the Undyed (Yarns)


I get a lot of questions on YouTube about ways to strip colors off of dyed yarn, both commercial dyed yarns and hand dyed.  I thought it would be Halloween appropriate to look at two different stain and color removers, Oxyclean and Rit Color Remover.  There are so many undyed puns that you can make, and it made it even more fun to joke around about it with all of you.

Oxyclean is a color safe stain treatment that I swear by.  I've used this to get all kinds of food and environmental stains out of my children's clothing.  I was therefore curious how some wool yarn that had been intentionally dyed with food coloring would hold up next to the oxyclean. I know that I can get popsicle stains (i.e. food coloring stains) out of cotton t-shirts, but how stable is the process of setting with heat and vinegar?  I dyed two skeins of my signature broken Wilton's violet colorway and let one skein soak in oxyclean for three days while the other skein soaked in just plain water.


There untreated skein looked almost untouched with a tiny amount of blue color bleeding. The oxyclean treated yarn had less blue in it, some pink bleeding, but there was still a lot of color left behind.  The fibers felt dry, as though all the oils had been removed (which was likely the case) but the yarn itself didn't feel damaged.  That said, I wouldn't recommend treating hand dyed yarns with oxyclean because it does remove some color.  Please note - oxyclean does NOT recommend using their product on wool.  It is always best to follow manufacturer instructions! 

I wanted to take this study a step further and look at a product that was supposed to strip colors specifically so you could overdye them again.  Rit Color Remover (Affiliate Link) is designed to help remove excess color (stains from color bleeding) or to lighting existing colors so you can then overdye with their Rit brand dyes.

"Rit Color Remover is a non-chlorine, reductive type of bleach that will not damage or deteriorate washable fabrics as chlorine bleach will. It is used primarily to remove or reduce color from fabric prior to dyeing, creating a blank canvas for dyeing to a true color. It works on cotton, linen, silk, wool, ramie, rayon and nylon. It may have a limited effect on polyester, depending upon how it was dyed commercially." - Rit Website

I decided to play with Rit Color Remover on a few different KnitPicks yarns (Affiliate Link) in saturated colors.  I selected a few colors of Wool of the Andes (100% wool), Brava (100% acrylic), Comfy (75% cotton, 25% acrylic), and Might Stitch (80% acrylic, 20% wool.)  I created a vat for color removal and also tried speckling some of the yarn directly with the Rit powder. While dyeing I used gloves, a face mask, and eye googles and used only dedicated dye pots, pans, and utensils.  

This UNDYEING all took place in a livestream, and I have not yet filmed the conclusions.  In my preliminary observation, the Rit Color remover did remove color from all of the fiber types to a varying degree.


The indigo heather, black, and pumpkin WOTA yarns had their saturated colors stripped to medium yellow/green/orange tones.  Unfortunately, this treatment was rough on the yarn and it feels really brittle and has some light felting to it.  I'm not sure if this yarn is knitable, yet, it could be fine when reskeined (although a little rough) but I definitely do NOT recommend using this on wool.

The acrylics (black and eggplant) did have some color removed.  The black yarn bled a LOT while rinsing, and I can see some really deep marine blue speckles on the yarn.  I look forward to looking close at this when it is dry.

The cotton/acyrlic blend held up with the rit dye the best.  After a couple of hours, the black had lightened to a medium grey.  It is possible that it could go lighter with more time and maybe a new packet of the color remover.  Certainly it is overdyeable at this point.

My preliminary conclusions are that while you can strip color from garments and yarn... I don't recommend purchasing fiber specifically to undye.  Even if a black yarn is a good deal, it is better to get a butter yellow, lime green, or even a neon orange to overdye to a darker shade.  I'll film my conclusions for this early next week.

#ChemKnitsDyeAlong

The conclusions for the October dye along will be coming next week, too!  I love seeing all of your dyeing pictures, and am already planning on the November inspiration photo. 


This post contains some affiliate links.  All products were selected by myself and I was not paid to promote any specific brands.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  



Friday, October 26, 2018

Weekly Round Up - Fall is Here!

Brrrrrr.... it is suddenly so chilly outside!  It truly is fall now, and with that comes the need for all kinds of cozy winter accessories.  The ChemKids are in their winter hats, and I'm all snuggled up in my cowl made out of their hand dyed yarn.  (Speaking of this cowl... I really need to finish up a blog post on that one!) 

I had a fun week getting silly.  Whether it was using some Wilton Sparkle Gel or onions to dye yarn, we were creating a lot of great colors.


KnitPicks SALE!

This is not a trick, it is a HUGE treat!  KnitPicks is having a HUGE Sale!   (Affiliate Link)  Get 15% (almost) everything with the code FALL15 through 10/29/18 at 11:59 PM PST.  I have already placed one huge bulk yarn order and plan to place another before the sale ends.  This coupon code STACKS with the bulk bare yarn discount.  Yes please!

Dyepot Weekly

This week in Dyepot Weekly, I dyed some KnitPicks Gloss Roving for the first time.  Gloss is 30% silk, 70% merino and it is SO SOFT.  I wanted to do something similar to the highlighter dyeing project but instead use acid dyes.  This video is a great example of how I adapt my vision as I see how the colors are absorbing to the fiber. 


It has been a long time since I've done a spinning livestream.  I am truly hoping to have some spin and chat sessions in November.  There are some other spinning videos in the pipeline, I just need to get some more editing done.  It is not a bad problem to have too much raw footage around!

#ChemKnitsDyeAlong

I did a second livestream for the October ChemKnits Dye Along.  In the first livestream, I used dots to reflect the fun fall ombre tree that is our inspiration photo for this month.


I will share the November dye along photo around the 15th of the month.  I'll try to do the recap before the next dye along starts.  I'm loving all of your submissions so far!  Keep them coming!  (Share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #ChemKnitsDyeAlong or reply with a photo comment on the ChemKnits Facebook Post.) 

ChemKnits Chanukah Update!

I am done winding ALL of the miniskeins for the Chanukah Samplers!  The sampler is currently sold out, but I plan to add a few more things to the shop so that more of you can participate PHYSICALLY in this special week of videos.

Next on the list is to finish up editing these videos...  Wish me luck!

Froggy 

I wrote an update on Froggy the fish last night, but after I shared that he gave us a scare.  We couldn't find him ANYWHERE.  We searched for him in the filter, all over the tank, and then we found his little head popping out of the hollow on the jaw of the Triceratops.  Silly Froggy!



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Froggy the Fish, Tap Water Quality, and Dyeing Yarn Thoughts

Sometimes you learn things a little too late. For Lucky's birthday we got him a fish, "Froggy."  After being home a few days, Foggy got a little sick and was having trouble swimming.  It turns out that the tap water in my area is high in nitrites, and if you're a fish owner that is BAD for fish.  The pet store was very nice, but said that the swim bladder issues the fish was experiencing could have been underlying before the fish came home with us.

It broke my heart, but the store gave Lucky a choice.  1) we could try to treat Froggy at home (which could be hard because he has other strange symptoms) or 2) we could bring Froggy to the "fish hospital" and bring home Froggy's brother.  Lucas chose option 2.  I know that I'm naive, but I honestly can't tell if they are going to try to treat Froggy or if they are going to help ease his suffering.

Froggy II (aka just Froggy after this blog post) 

Anyway, this makes me really curious about my tap water when it comes to yarn dyeing.  I know that sometimes you get different results as me with a similar set up, and little differences in the water could absolutely affect the final pH and other conditions for dyeing yarn.  Next time we get the water report from the city, I'm going to pay closer attention and maybe then do a bottled water vs tap water video to see if there are any differences.  I'll try to share some of the information with you since I use tap water for my dyeing videos. I've been meaning to do a video on pH and yarn dyeing for a long time anyway, but now I am hoping to take a closer look at it sooner rather than later.  Maybe there will be a difference in results when we compare tap versus bottled water.


Froggy I started showing symptoms within a day of being home.  Froggy II was thriving after multiple days in the tank created with purified water and betta fish conditioner.  His fins are open, he loves to flare at a mirror, and he is frequently swimming and exploring the whole tank.  Froggy II has a lot of personality.  He loves to hang out in the fake leaves, but sometimes wedges himself behind the filter or under the back of the Triceratop's frill.  He knows I am a source of food, and will come out to say hi when I come by the tank.


I have dyed some yarn inspired by Froggy I (stay tuned!), and now I need to think about dyeing some inspired by Froggy II!  I love that his fins are a warm blue with some flashes of red.  He is a Half Moon Double Tail Male and his colors almost feel iridescent.




After this blog posts, all references to Froggy II will just be "Froggy."