Friday, March 8, 2019

Leave No Dyes Behind!

What do you do with leftover dye?  If I have extra dye in a cup, the remaining ends of bottles, or some extra powder on my counter, I can't bring myself to just throw the dye away.  These dyes can turn into something wonderful!  I find myself saving leftovers whether they're food coloring or commercial dyes to use to create some stunning one of a kind colorways. 

The following video is a great example of this philosophy.  I added a bunch of pastels onto some KnitPicks Bare Stroll fingering weight yarn (Affiliate Link) and felt like something was missing.  I have a container where I combine random acid dye powders leftover from projects (which at the time was mostly Forest Green) and added speckles onto the yarn.  This tied the whole thing together, and I think the results are stunning. 

This yarn is currently available in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store! 

The only downside to using leftover dyes is that sometimes I create some colorways that are so beautiful I'd love to recreate them.  Recreation is hard when you're not aware of the acidity and proportions of different dyes used.  Sometimes the dyebath is fresh for these videos, but frequently I'm using leftover exhausted baths, or presoaks... basically anything that I can reuse!

Want to see more Leave No Dye Behind videos?  Check out the following playlist!  This is a non-numbered series of videos that show up in random order.  Sometimes they're tied to the video where I mixed the dyes, and other times I have no idea where the leftovers came from. No matter what, we have a ton of fun!

 

This post contains some KnitPicks affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission off of any sales through my link.  I have been a KnitPicks affiliate since Fall 2017.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Surrounding Myself with Rainbows

Project inspired by @texturizeyoureyes

This was a hard week for me personally. The polar vortex set in both literally and metaphorically - it chilled our environment and the depths of my of my stomach. 

What is a rainbow?  A rainbow is a beauty in the middle, or the end, of a storm.  It is a bright beauty poking through the gray.  A moment of hope, of calm, of wonder, of beauty. 


My personality is very upbeat, happy-go-lucky, and cheerful. I laugh really easily.  On the flip side, my emotions are always close to the surface... and I also cry really easily.  Yarn is my happy place.  When I'm sad, I turn to my creative side as an outlet. 


The ChemKnits personality that you see on camera is very authentic, very Rebecca.  It is also a blanket for me.  A way for me to feel like myself even when I feel like the haze is going to smother me.  Usually hitting the record button on my camera is a way to capture the sunshine I feel.  This week, it was a way for me to catch a glimpse that rainbow. 


I love rainbows everyday, and do not really need an excuse to create them. (I convinced R to let me create a rainbow unicorn cake for his 3rd birthday party last weekend.  He loves rainbows, and unicorns, like his Mama so it was a win win win.) This cake I made was an amazing outlet for me.  This is a project that is far easier to create than it looks, and was a bright and whimsical fun day.


When things suddenly felt impossible and I felt (feel) completely lost, I decided to surround myself with more rainbows as an escape - filming more rainbow-tastic episodes for the channel, and my first attempts at some tapestry weaving.  Arranging random items in rainbow order.  The storm is still going on, the freeze is still there, but I have a breath of hope. 



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I am being vague in about my grief because it is not my story to share.  I am very grateful for my large family (family through blood, marriage, and choice) and to have so many years of wonderful memories.  I am trying to channel my grief to fill my heart with love and send some of that out into the universe.  





Friday, January 25, 2019

ChemKnits Creations Flash Sale!


This weekend, save $7 off of a $50+ purchase in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store!  Use the code FLASH7 at checkout.  Sale ends Sunday 1/27/19 at 11:59 PM EST, so don't miss out on this chance to save on some awesome hand dyed yarn featured in ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube videos.

The USPS is increasing shipping rates on January 27, 2019 across the board.  They are also changing the way that they calculate first class shipping rates (the rate that I most frequently use to ship packages.)  Previously, first class shipping was a flat rate domestically, but with the new price changes first class shipping will now be zone based.  This means that it will be cheaper for me to ship a package within Massachusetts, but more expensive for me to ship to California.

I wanted to do a "free shipping weekend" to inform customers about the rate changes and also give all of you an opportunity to save.  Why am I doing a $7 off of $50 sale instead of just free shipping on $50+ orders?  I have a lot of international customers, and they don't benefit when I offer free US shipping.  The (current) cost of shipping for two 100 g skeins of yarn domestically is less than $7, so this sale will cover shipping costs for US based customers while also giving our international friends the same discount.



Now I am going to run back to finish filming and editing Dyepot Weekly #100.  I cannot believe how far we've come on this journey together!  Thank you so much for being part of it. 

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Details: Use the coupon code FLASH7 to save $7 off of a $50+ order in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store.  This coupon cannot be combined with other offers.  Sale ends 1/27/19 at 11:59 PM EST.  $50 minimum does not include the cost of shipping.  Standard shipping rates will apply and applicable taxes will apply to the order.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

January #ChemKnitsDyeAlong!

Photo Credit rawpixel on Unsplash
Friends, it is so cold outside right now.  I found myself scrolling through more wintery photos as I was trying to narrow down the choices for the Dye Along, and I found myself wanting to play with yellow.  I want to sit on the beach, think of fresh tart beverages and warm my bones in the sunshine.  (I am REALLY cold right now as I'm writing this!)  I have no idea what made this one lemon pink, but I want to try to make a summery, happy yarn in bright yellow with pops of pink or other neon colors. 

Join me on Thursday 1/18/19 at 8:00 PM EST to watch me dye some yarn inspired by this photo! If you can't join me live, you can always watch the replay later.



These dye alongs are so much fun. I love interacting with all of you while I'm dyeing yarn and challenging myself to pinpoint my inspiration.  However, I think the best part is seeing what all of you create from this photo inspiration.  You can be as literal with your inspiration as you want.  You can be inspired by the colors, shapes, objects.  You can dye yarn, knit with colorwork, dye fabric, or even blend your own fiber.

Let me know how your project was inspired by this photo with the hashtag #ChemKnitsDyeAlong on Instagram or by posting on the inspiration photo thread on the ChemKnits Facebook Page.  I will pick some of the submissions to feature in my livestream recap at the beginning of February.  Make sure you let me know how you were inspired by this photo.  I love hearing how you decided to create your yarn. 

Want to see what was created in December's #ChemKnitsDyeAlong?  The recap is now up on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel! (And if you love the yarn, you can find all of it in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy store!) 



Friday, January 11, 2019

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year, ChemKnits Family!

I have a lot of goals for 2019, and one of them is to get back in the swing with posting more.  I have so many projects queued up to write about, I just need to schedule some time to sit down and write.  I also have many plans for fun new videos, so make sure to stay tuned!


I started off the year with a lot of spinning. I also need to cast on some simple projects that I can knit or crochet while editing videos. Sometimes I avoid editing because I cannot easily multitask, so creating something so I can feel doubly productive would be beneficial. 

This week has been ultra busy already - I've started the filming of 6 new videos!  I cannot wait for you to all see what is in store for 2019. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

10 Years of ChemKnits

10 years ago today, I went on a New Years trip to my friends' cabin in New Hampshire.  We were young and loved to pack this house full of friends to have a fun and low key celebration of the new year.  I decided to stay at the house while everyone else went skiing, and I created ChemKnits.

There are honestly a lot of details that are hard to remember.  I have only gone skiing a few times in my life, so I don't remember if I went one day and was tired, or if I just decided to sit this one out.  What I remember the most is researching ear flap hat knitting patterns.  I was not yet aware of Raverly of Pinterest, so I was googling, checking links, and making a list in word to keep track of the various patterns I found.  I found myself wishing that someone had already made such a list, and decided that I should share it with the world.  ChemKnits was born. 

The search for earflap hat knitting patterns was not my first post - I wanted to work on it a bit more, but it was through this post that a lot of people found me. While I was writing for myself, other people started finding me and through your interest I kept sharing what I was working on. 

10 years.  Through this blog, I challenged myself as a knitter and a fiber artist.  I tackled cables and colorwork, designed my first pattern, designed more patterns, learned to crochet, tried dyeing yarn, and learned to spin. I started ChemKnits to learn about myself and to keep track of my own progress - this has been my lab notebook.

It is amazing that a journey can both be so personal but also so public at the same time.  Through my posts and videos, I have grown, but you have also been able to watch me grow.  When I say that we are learning together, I truly mean that, and I love this community that we have created in our corner of the Internet. 

The internet has changed, and I do not post here nearly as frequently as I did in the past.  ChemKnits has evolved, but it is still such a big piece of my soul.  It is hard to say where ChemKnits stops and Rebecca begins, because ChemKnits was born out of my passions. Maybe I need to change my video introduction... I'm not "Rebecca from ChemKnits," I AM ChemKnits.  I hope that I can look back at ChemKnits after another 10 years and feel like I've continued to challenge myself and grow as a fiber artist. 

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for watching.  Thank you for being on this journey with me. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 Chanukah Special

Chanukah might be over for the year, but we don't really have to stop celebrating!  At the end of the summer, I decided that I wanted to create a special series for Chanukah.  I thought it would be fun to film 8 new dyeing videos with 8 dyeing techniques on 8 different yarn bases.  I would wind up the yarn in to miniskeins to create some samplers to share.


I underestimated a few aspects of this journey.  I thought it would be a lot of work, which it was, and that it was a lot of fun, which it also was.  I don't think I could have anticipated the positive response we got from all of you!  The holiday was truly filled with joy, laughter, and light, with the whole extended ChemKnits family (yes that includes you!)  

I did not expect it to be so hard to avoid sharing spoilers.  When I try something that works great, or I have a cool in progress shot, I love to share those on Instagram or Facebook. I didn't want to give away ANY hints from this series. I wanted everyone who purchased a sampler to be surprised and excited to open up their gift each night.  I have started sharing some of these in progress photos now, and I am so excited that you can finally see them! 


The ChemKnits 2018 Chanukah Sampler is different from a lot of indie dyer samplers/advent calendars for a few reasons.  A big one is that this set contained a mixture of different yarn bases.  I chose 8 different luxury yarns from KnitPicks:  Paragon, Imagination, Gloss, Andean Treasure, Galileo, Capra, Bare Hare, and Alux.  I wanted to send samples of different dyeing techniques and fiber types so you could swatch them and see how they might knit up differently.  


Each miniskein was wrapped in tissue paper inside a snowflake organza bag.  I used some cardboard labels with dreidel stickers to designate the nights.  On the back of each number label there is the fiber content and care instructions for the yarn.  Surprisingly, none of the yarns in this sampler were superwash.  Well, except for the bonus c


Since it might be hard (but not impossible) to make a complete project from the sampler, I wanted to give people an option to include a full 100 g skein of sock yarn. I picked KnitPicks Felici.  The yarn is similar to the stroll that I use all the time, but the spin is a little tighter and the Merino is softer. 

It took me a few tries to get this "Melted Wax" colorway right.  I attempted to make a speckled version that resulted in the birth of the Evil Faerie yarn.  In my second speckled attempt, I created something closer to the vision in my head, but ultimately I loved the way the primary colors mixed together when I dyed a twisted hank of yarn three different times. 


When I sat down to write this post, I mentioned that there were a few things I didn't expect to come out of this series.  After all, I've done other special weeks in the past. (Sock Blank Special, Cellulose Week, Indigo Week.)  I underestimated the positive challenge this would be to me as an indie dyer and an artist.  I wanted to make sure I created distinct colorways, but many of these yarn bases I had never dyed before, so I didn't always know if things would come out as I imagined in my head.  

Another added bonus - I had to reskein all of the yarn to create the samplers.  This means that we got to see where reskeining made a difference in how yarn looked when compared to the "as dyed" skein of yarn.  

It was an absolute pleasure to plan this series, and I am already starting to think about next years!  


If you missed an episode, don't worry!  There is a full recap of the whole week, but you can also find all of the videos in the following playlist: 


Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year, everyone!  Which yarn is your favorite?  Do you think I should do this again next year? 




This post contains some KnitPicks affiliate links.  I purchased all of the yarn and materials for this sampler myself.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.