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.

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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!  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Complex Folds - Star Tie Dye


One of the most popular videos I released since Ryder's birth is a video called "Let's Tie Dye T-shirts!" I did a simple accordion fold on the diagonal and created some fairly monochromatic T-shirts for my college reunion.


I have a long history of loving tie dyeing.  In 4th grade, my class raised money for the local Humane Society by selling tie dyed T-shirts.  We dyed almost weekly and sold shirts, socks, and other cotton items to family and friends.  In college, the chemistry department would have an annual tie dyeing activity.

An approximation of how the folds work to create a star shape

I wanted to try to step outside of my comfort zone and try a complicated fold to create a star on the front of a shirt.  How hard could this be?  It was actually pretty hard to fold shirts into fifths.  You can hear me mention what take I'm on in the filming and then wonder how to proceed with tying up the shirt with rubber bands.


In the following video, I demonstrate the fold first on a piece of paper and then on the shirts themselves.  I fold four different shirts which gave me four different chances to end up with a star.  For the four shirts (two kids XS and two 18 month onesies), I used two full bottles of Tulip One-Step Tie Dye.  I think I might have been able to stretch the dye onto three shirts, but the package (of 3 bottles, I didn't use the yellow), indicated that there was enough for six projects.  I think it would be hard to use two bottles on four adult T-shirts.


If this works, I might try to do this live sometime in the future.  Or at least maybe I can go live for the reveal, if I can figure out how to set up my camera to see my bathroom sink!  (I was able to make a live reveal work!  Check it out below.)


Going Live for the reveal was so much fun!  There were some growing pains (I edited out over 3 minutes from the beginning of the feed when I was trying to figure out why my static link didn't work.)  However, I got stars!  Many of you got to experience the joy of a successful crafting project along with me.  How fun! 


My favorite shirts are the ones with the star design only on the front of the shirt.  I feel liek the overall design is much more defined.  


It is now November and the boys have worn these shirts A LOT.  Rowdy might not fit into his much longer, but we'll try to get as much use out of it as we can!  


The other two shirts look a lot more like starfish than stars, but that is still super cool.  My kids never ended up wearing these shirts, so I guess I'll have to find a sibling pair to share these with someday. 


A brand new Tie Dye T-shirt video will come out on Friday morning.  In fact, the video is exporting as I finish up writing this post!  What do you think I'm going to dye this time?

 


This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  All of the opinions and product selection were my own.  None of the product mentions were solicited.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  I'll be back to my regular posting schedule, soon. (Including how I made these awesome costumes!)


I have so many draft posts in my queue, but I've been behind on writing.  I'm so sorry!  I have so many fun dyeing, sewing, and knitting projects to share with you. 

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

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.



Fanta

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.