Tuesday, October 17, 2017

36 Hours Left!

There are 36 hours left until the end of the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Campaign.  Thank you all for your tremendous support for this new series of yarn dyeing videos!  If you haven't backed the project, there are still many rewards available.  These include custom dyed sock blanks, hand spun yarn or mini-skeins, sponsorship credit on videos, or even just the $1 cheer squad where you can give input into the content of the series and see sneak peeks.  Don't miss out on your chance to get some yarn that has been featured on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel!  

This also means that there are only 36 hours left until the first episode of Dyepot Weekly comes out!  All episodes of Dyepot Weekly will be available for free on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel.  Have you subscribed to the channel yet?  I tend to post the videos that come out here on the blog after a bit of a lag, so if you want to stay up to date with my latest dyeing experiments make sure you subscribe!

I've started doing more livestreams recently.  I know that many of you enjoy it when I spin yarn live, but I am also trying to find fun ways to dye yarn live.  This weekend on I Love Yarn Day, I handpainted some 100% worsted weight wool and some 75% superwash merino/25% wool sock yarn with three different colors of Wilton's Icing Color (Violet, Royal Blue and Black).  The only issue with dyeing yarn live (besides real life interruptions) is that you can't see the finished dry yarn at the end of the video.  In this live stream, I couldn't even unwrap the yarn because I needed to wait for it to cool.  

Therefore, I try to share a recap of the video so you can see the colors that we dyed.  What do you thin of this way of sharing dyeing videos?  Most Dyepot Weekly episodes will be pre-recorded and edited, but I hope to also include more live content from time to time.  Please let me know what you'd like to see!  

This post contains Amazon and KnitPicks affiliate links.  None of the product selections were solicited and all opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Soda Series - Dyeing Yarn From the Grocery Aisle

When I approached the end of the first day of the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Campaign, I was so excited because I knew that you were going to help make this exciting series of yarn dyeing videos a reality.  I ran to the grocery store and shopped in the soda aisle picking up some of the brightest colors I could find.

It is more economical to dye yarn with food coloring itself, or even concentrated drink mixes like Kool-Aid, than it is to use bottles of soda.  However, the bright colors were calling me, and I was curious just how much food coloring there is in one of these bottles.  Check out the following videos to find out!


Gatorade comes in a wide variety of colors.  I've gone through diet Gatorade phases, and my favorite flavors are lemon lime (which my dad used after basketball games while I was a kid) and grape.  This time, I shopped the aisles for the brightest colors I could find. I selected "Green Apple" and "Grape" for this dyeing experiment.  I dip dyed the yarn into both colors to create a special gradient.

A post shared by ChemKnits Blog (@chemknits) on

In this experiment, I used KnitPicks Bare Stroll Fingering Weight Yarn, a 75% superwash merino 25% nylon blend.  This is one of my favorite yarns to dye with, and you can see in the video just how quickly it absorbed the dye from the Gatorade.

Hawaiian Punch

When I opened the bottle of Hawaiian Punch, I felt transported back to my child hood.  The smell reminded me of birthday parties and class celebrations.  I haven't tasted it in years (and I didn't in this video) but I remembered how this red beverage stained anything it touched.  What would it do to yarn?

A post shared by ChemKnits Blog (@chemknits) on

I decided to dye 100 g of bare Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn (100% wool) with the whole 2 L bottle of soda.


I'm not sure I've ever consumed Fanta, but the commercials were super catchy.  I wanted to add something orange to the mix, and I thought it would be fun to test out a carbonated beverage.

A post shared by ChemKnits Blog (@chemknits) on

To add another twist to this experiment, I decided to try some resist dyeing.  I tied off the 100% wool bare Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn tightly with some crochet cotton to leave some white patches.  I then dyed the entire skein of yarn in the 2 L soda.

Coke Zero

On each of the soda series videos I released, I kept getting requests for more and more beverages.  People really wanted to see what would happen if you dyed yarn with Coke (or its equivalent.)  Coke contains "caramel color", which is derived from dairy to create that beautiful brown.  Will it bind to yarn like red #3 and yellow #5?  There is only one way to find out, and that was to put some 100% wool yarn (bare Wool of the Andes worsted weight) in Coke Zero Sugar and turn up the heat.

I am still getting requests for more sodas.  I don't have plans to explore more flavors of Gatorade or different colors of soda.  Depth of color might vary, but you should expect something like Grape Soda to behave similarly to the orange Fanta.  I do, however, plan to play around more with concentrated and powdered beverage mixes.  Stay tuned for Mio and other concentrated liquid beverages! (These should come up in an early episode of Dyepot Weekly but I'm saving this for one of the sponsored videos.)

Thank you so much for all of your support.  Not only did we reach our goal, but we smashed the goal.  I will now produce at least 35 Dyepot Weekly episodes, and they start in one week!  Since we hit some bonus episodes, I might even release more than one video a week at first so I can start sharing the sponsored videos sooner.  What do you think?   If you haven't backed the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter yet, please check it out.   You still have a week to pick out a fun and exciting reward, many of which include amazing hand dyed yarn!  I'm so excited to go on this journey with you!

None of the selections in this video were sponsored.  All opinions are my own.  I recently became a KnitPicks Affiliate because I love their yarns and have been using them for years.  All KnitPicks links in this post are affiliate links.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thank You!

Dear Fans of ChemKnits,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I am awed and humbled by the support, encouragement, and love you have shown me this week.  Thanks to you, Dyepot Weekly is going to be a reality!  ChemKnits is so many things to me right now.  I'm a blogger, a designer, a dyer, a YouTuber... and many of you follow me for different reasons.  However you found me, I'm glad to provide entertainment, education, and fun.

The Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Campaign is active through October 18, and there are still many fantastic rewards available.  The smallest reward starts at $1, where you can provide backer input to help shape the Dyepot Weekly episodes and get access to backer only Kickstarter updates.  Other rewards include hand dyed and handspun mini-skeins, surprise skeins of yarn, sponsorship of videos (and you get the dyed yarn from that video!)  At the highest level of sponsorship still available ($150), you get to pick what types of dyes, fiber and technique is used in your sponsored video.  Funds raised above the original goal will go towards more fiber and types of dye so I can bring you a lot of variety in the first 25 episodes of Dyepot weekly.

I can't wait to start filming the yarn dyeing series.  I have a lot of fun dyeing experiments planned.  Backers have already provided so much feedback over what types of dyes, yarn, and techniques they want to see in the videos.  I get a lot of requests though YouTube, so it is fascinating to see what specifically my backers want to see most.

Your chance to obtain yarn dyed by ChemKnits is limited to the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter campaign.  I have no plans to open an Etsy store for my yarn.  I get joy from creating dyeing videos and exploring interesting ways to apply dye to fiber.

Please continue to share photos of your dyeing projects with me on Facebook, Ravelry and Instagram!  I love seeing what you dye, and I can't wait to see what you create with your new yarn.

Rebecca from ChemKnits

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dyepot Weekly - Now on Kickstarter!

I have a really exciting announcement!  I just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first 25 episodes of my new yarn dyeing video series, Dyepot Weekly.  I want to start sharing new and exciting dyeing videos on a regular schedule and expand my arsenal of tools to include commercial acid dyes, natural dyes, and even more varieties of food coloring.  Will you help Kickstart Dyepot Weekly?  

The Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Video

With your support, I will purchase new dyes and equipment to use in Dyepot Weekly videos.  Don't worry, I won't stop exploring fun and innovative ways to dye yarn with food coloring.  I have a list of over 50 dyeing video ideas that just deal with food coloring!  I want to expand my experiments to other dyes so I can answer more of your questions.  I am frequently asked how commercial acid dyes compare to food coloring.  I know that the dyeing techniques themselves are very similar, but I don't know how quickly acid dyes absorb to yarn, if any of the colors break, or just generally what it is like to use them.  In addition to dyes and yarn, the funds raised will help me purchase new pots and other equipment so I can safely use non-food grade ingredients to dye yarn.  

I'm offering backers of the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter Project many exciting rewards.  For the first time ever, you can get some yarn dyed by ChemKnits!  The physical rewards include yarn dyed in past ChemKnits Tutorials videos, hand-dyed & handspun miniskeins, tie dyed T-shirts, yarn dyed in future Dyepot Weekly episodes, and more.  You also have the opportunity to select sponsorship credit and potentially creative control over the project in a Dyepot Weekly episode.  

I hope you will take the time to check out the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter campaign.  Thank you for following me through all of my crafting adventures.  You, my readers, are the ones that have inspired me to design, write, and explore more crafts.  I look forward to all of the beautiful projects we create together.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dip Dyeing in to Break Different Brands of Black Food Coloring

I've been on a dip dyeing kick lately.  This technique is one of the best ways to accentuate the way different food coloring mixtures will break apart, i.e. separate into the individual colors.  I realized that Wilton changed their formulation of the black icing color in the last few years.  It used to have a mixture of Red #3, Blue #1, Yellow #5 and #6 to Blue #1, Blue #2, Red #40 and Yellow #5.  We know from experience that Blue #1 and Red #3 break brilliantly (see all of my Wilton's Violet videos).  The McCormick's Black* has a formulation similar to the new Wilton's Black food coloring; containing Red #40, blue #1 and Yellow #5.

*My McCormick's black is the same that I used in the past video, so it is many years old.  I'm not sure if they've changed their formulation.  

I thought it would be fun to redo an old dyeing experiment of mine.  I first shared the video Breaking Black: Dyeing Yarn with Wilton's vs McCormick's Black Food Coloring over three years ago.  Color breaking from kettle dyeing fiber is beautiful, but the results of the breaking can be more exaggerated when you dip dye your fiber.  I decided to take three full skeins of yarn, make three pots of dye, and then dip dye the fiber side by side so you could see the differences.

Did you know that I usually leave a table of contents in my video description? On YouTube (or here), if you click on the highlighted time, it will jump to the relevant section of the video. Sometimes these videos can be pretty long, so I wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to jump around and find the information you need for your own dyeing projects.

VIDEO CONTENTS: [0:00] Introduction and description of the formulation in the different black food colorings [2:22] Mixing the dyes (into 1/2 cup of water) [5:10] Setting up the Dyebaths - 8 cups water + 3T white vinegar + the dye mixed in the previous clip in separate pots [7:39] Presoaking the yarn (3 skeins of 100g KnitPicks Bare Worsted Wool of the Andes yarn) [8:23] Dip dyeing one skein into McCormick's black food coloring [14:17] Dip Dyeing one skein into the old formulation of Wilton's black food coloring [18:10] Dip dyeing one skein into the new formulation of wilton's black food coloring [22:18] Quick comparison of the yarns [23:25] Washing the dyed skeins [24:49] Conclusions and comparison to a dip dyed Wilton's violet skein of yarn

I'm starting to pay more attention to the specific ingredients in various shades of food coloring.  The Chemistry of Food Coloring is pretty interesting.  I also used the term "yarn chromatography" in a YouTube comment today and that is still making me giggle even though it is a perfect term for the color breaking.  

What kind of dyeing experiments would you like to see?  Most of my favorite videos are inspired by your comments! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dinosaur Footprint Birthday Banner

When my little "Rowdy" dinosaur tuned one year old last January, I needed to create a splash for his party.  I put a lot of work into his brother's first birthday party and I wanted Rowdy to be able to look back and feel like I did a lot for him, too.  A central part of any birthday party is the "Happy Birthday" banner.  Keith and I created this amazing rainbow dinosaur footprint birthday banner for Rowdy's party and we wanted to share the free printable with you today.

Download the FREE Rainbow Dinosaur Footprint Birthday Banner PDF (via Google Drive) so you can add some fun rainbow footprints to your own party.  The PDF also includes some blank footprints in each of the 5 colors so you can add a name or change the message on the banner.

The FREE Rainbow Dinosaur Footprint Birthday Banner PDF

For Rowdy's party, we printed one footprint per page.  The banner took up a whole wall!  I taped each footprint individually to the crepe paper wall I had set up.  Alternatively, you could attach them to some string and then hang them on wall.  For a smaller banner, you can print the footprints 2/page.

I used a free Jurassic Park font for the letters.  I don't think that anyone noticed the font at the party, but I liked knowing that there was an additional dinosaur connection.  The letters themselves are very narrow and so we used 500 pt font to get them to fill the footprints nicely.

Slowly I'm getting through all of the DIY projects I did for Rowdy's birthday party.  (Very slowly, he is almost 20 months old!) I thought I was almost done but then I keep discovering more projects!  Make sure you check out my Dinosaur First Birthday Party Pinterest Board to see more of my inspiration.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Summary of my first Live Spin-Along!

At the beginning of August, I held a Live Spin-Along on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel where I spun an entire 2-ply yarn on camera over the course of 6 episodes.  When I testing out going live I asked you what you wanted to see, and someone asked me to do some spinning live.  In this first spin-along, I spun roving from two different ChemKnits videos, Breaking Wilton's Violet Food Coloring for Speckled Roving and Dip Dyeing Braided Roving with Wilton's Violet Food Coloring.

I have a playlist for the whole spin along, but you can also watch the whole series embedded here in this post.

In the first video, I introduced the spinning project and talked a bit about the tools that I use for spinning.  My spinning wheel is a Kromski Fantasia and I LOVE it.  I consider myself a novice spinner but I found it really easy to learn with "Sandry" as my instrument.

In the second episode, I let the viewers pick which roving I would start spinning.  The dip dyed braid was the overwhelming winner. I spun almost all of this fiber in this episode.  Unfortunately comments during the YouTube Livestream don't show up in the final video. I try to keep track of questions I get during the video and post relevant links as soon as the replay is done processing.

In the third episode, I finish spinning the first set of singles and start spinning the speckled roving. Both rovings have similar colors (although one is a base of Full Circle Roving in Pigeon and the other is Bare Wool of the Andes Roving) since they were both dyed with Wilton's Violet food coloring.  However, the singles are quite different because the dip dyed roving gave us longer color repeats than the speckle dyed roving.  

In the 4th part of this series I completed the 2-ply yarn.  Plying yarn is so much faster and requires so much less attention than drafting.  I find that it is a lot harder to make mistakes.  Of course, when I started doing some N-plying I discovered that I couldn't really talk, focus on keeping my hands in camera and ply at the same time.  I'll try to do another N-ply demonstration sometime in the future.  

Finally, in the conclusion of this series I share the finished yarn and talk about some of the stats from this project.  I spun two Z singles and combined them in an S 2-ply yarn.  I created a few yards of an N-plyed yarn with the leftover singles.

The finished yarn: 
Big Skein - 90 wraps = 360 feet = 120 yards
Small Skein - 20 wraps = 80 feet = 26.7 yards

With over 140 yards of yarn I have more than enough to make a hat!  The 2-ply yarn is ~10 wpi, or worsted weight

The small skein of N-ply yarn - 5.5 wraps (~2 ft/wrap) = 11 ft = 3.7 yards.  This means that I had 11 more yards of the dip dyed yarn than the speckled yarn.  This isn't so bad if you consider how many yards I spun to begin with.

Along with these series, I made a bonus Time Lapse video.  Thank you, Jake for making this request!

 What would you like to watch me do live?  I leave most of my videos pretty long and unedited so you guys can see more of the dyeing process, but there are certainly some moments that I leave out.  Make sure that you subscribe to the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel so you can get notifications for when I go live.

This post contains some Amazon Affiliate links. None of the product selections or opinions were solicited.