Saturday, August 11, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Red Cabbage, Dylon, and More

When I am filming new dyeing videos, I separate them into numbered Dyepot Weekly (DPW) episodes and "bonus" episodes.  Bonus videos frequently involve leftover dye or a repeated technique.  Sometimes they're not numbered because I want to fit them into the same week, or that's the easiest way for me to get the video out quickly.

This week I released MULTIPLE new yarn dyeing videos.  Dyepot PS #4 became public, and I shared multiple Dylon dyeing videos in addition to Dyepot Weekly #63.

In Dyepot Weekly #63 I took a look at the Dylon Hand Dyes for handpainting.  I dissolved two different colors into warm tap water and then used sponge brushes to paint the dye onto 4 different types of KnitPicks yarn.  (Affiliate Link)  I used Shine Sport (a cotton/modal blend), Wool of the Andes Worsted (100% wool), Cotlin (cotton/linen blend), and Simply Cotton (100% cotton).  This dyeing method used no vinegar and no heat.  After applying the dye you only need to wait an hour for some super vibrant colors.  I love the subtle differences between these yarns!  

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Dyeing with Red Cabbage

I love playing with natural colors that can be extracted from foods and other plants.  I decided to play with red cabbage using NO mordants at first because I wanted to see if we could get any colors to bind to the fibers without adding some metals to our process.  This kept the whole process food safe and I was able to play with it inside in my kitchen.

Red cabbage is a super fun dye to play with.  The color you extract is pH sensative, so you can shift the hue by adding acid (like vinegar) or base (like baking soda).  I was able to get three distinct hues on wool yarns!

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Unfortunately, the colors were no where near as vibrant as they were in the pots.  I think that with mordants we could intensify the shades.  Unfortunately, Red cabbage is a "fugative dye" so it will fade with time unlike some other natural colors.  Nevertheless, I think it is super fun to play with and would be FANTASTIC as some home kitchen science to play with kids.  I know that my kids will enjoy testing what things in our kitchen will shift the red cabbage color. 

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KnitCrate Flash Sale!

KnitCrate is having a flash sale on the KnitCrate Membership Subscription!  If you sign up for the August 2018 crate now you can get a July 2018 crate for just the shipping cost.  This is two crates for $29.99!  When you got to the website, wait for the pop up and click the "Get My Free Crate" button.  

Disclaimer: I am a KnitCrate Affiliate and they send me the KnitCrate Membership and the Sock Crate every month so I can share them with all of you.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Vacation Hashtags

Last week I had a very productive dyeing week... which means that this week needed to focus on some more editing.  I did get some dyeing done, I worked on Dyepot PS #5 and a new sponsored video.  I think the yarns are really awesome, but I don't want to give you any spoilers!

Doing some dyeing projects breaks up the sedentary nature of some planned editing days... but unfortunately it also means that I get a lot less editing done.  I have big plans for this weekend (see below) but I have a feeling that I might still try to get SOME editing done.  The editing itself isn't the long part, it takes hours for my computer to export the files so I can upload them to YouTube.  I try to edit 2-3 videos at a time so I can export multiple at once, but it still can be a pretty slow process.

It can be hard to separate work from play when my "work" has been born out of my favorite activities.  What would you do if you had a weekend all to yourself?

Dyepot Weekly

Sometimes I try a technique on a whim only to discover that it is completely awesome and a new favorite. I love my "Dry Rub" technique of rubbing dry yarn into spilled dye.  In Dyepot Weekly #61, I took the original technique (first tried with leftover Tulip Tie Dye) and added a steaming step to it.  Steaming the tie dyed yarn in a dye safe pot means that the whole dyeing and washing process can be done in a few hours versus a few days.

One of these skeins is still available in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy store! 


Last weekend Lucky, my 4 year old, and I had a "Fantabulous" weekend together.  It was a staycation/exploration/Mommy and Me weekend.  We did all kinds of things together, but one of the items high on Lucky's list was for us to dye yarn together.

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I cannot WAIT to edit this video together.  I filled some squirt guns with water and then added about 6 drops of liquid food coloring to each one.  Lucky picked out the colors, and I think they went together really well!  Lucky is a NATURAL YouTuber, I wish you could hear him vamp for the camera when he thinks it is still rolling.  "So.. you have to check out the more videos.  You can find them on YouTube!" Lucky also now thinks that "action" means that filming ends for some reason.

Anyway, we had a BLAST dyeing yarn together, even if we also ended up with brightly colored hands, feet, and knees.  In a couple of weeks we're going to have one of his friends over to dye some cotton yarn, but I have a feeling we might stick with foam brushes for that one.  Two preschoolers with dye filled squirt guns seems like a baaaad idea!

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ChemKnits Patreon Update

This week, I did some minor changes to the ChemKnits Patreon campaign.  (Patreon is a platform where fans can support content creators on a monthly basis.  As a thank you, Patrons get some fun perks.) 

I tweeked some of the information on the page itself, but the biggest change is that the ChemKnits Patreon is now on a "charge upfront" system.  Starting yesterday, Patreon will charge your credit card the the day you join, and the on the 1st of every month after that.  Some of the perks will be immediately available to you, while some others (shout outs and exclusive coupons to the ChemKnitsCreations Etsy Store) you will start receiving the following month.  Since this means that new Patrons will have two payments before they start getting the monthly coupons, I decided to increase the discount that I am offering to Alpaca ($10/month) and Silk ($25/month) Patrons.  Starting this month, eligible Alpaca Patrons will get a 15% off coupon and Silk Patrons will get a 25% off coupon every month!  Learn more about these changes and feel free to reach out with any questions.  


It just happens that my personal staycation is taking place one week after Lucky and I had our mommy-son weekend together.  I am excited to pick up a project that I started on my craftcation 2017 and see if I can finish up this quilt top.  I hope to come to you next week glowing over my relaxing weekend of sewing, knitting... and sleeping!  

Friday, July 27, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Planning for the Holidays

Retail is full with Christmas in July sales, but what about some Chanukah in July?

This week, I launched my first miniskein sampler in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store. The 2018 ChemKnits Chanukah Sampler will feature 8 different hand dyed mini-skeins of yarn to unwrap while you watch the new yarn dyeing videos that will be released each night.   This is a whole new way to participate in the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel, you can feel and see the yarn yourself as you watch me create the beautiful colors. These videos, and therefore your sampler, will feature 8 different yarn bases and 8 different dyeing techniques. You can choose between a 5 g or a 10 g sampler, and there is also an option to add a 100 g limited edition Chanukah skein of sock yarn to your sampler.  

There are limited slots available, so if you want to unwrap delightful mini-skeins while watching new ChemKnits dyeing videos, don't wait too long!  All of the packages will ship the first week of November 2018 so you can get them in time for Chanukah (starting at sundown on December 2.)  You don't need to be Jewish to celebrate with me!  I look forward to filming these dyeing videos and sharing some of my family's Chanukah traditions with you.

Thinking about winter, I am currently working on a new lacy cowl for myself.  The pattern, Autopilot, is available for free through Ravelry.  I am taking two skeins of yarn dyed by the ChemKids and combining them into a fade so use their creativity to help keep me warm this winter.

Dyepot Weekly #60 came out this morning, and this is a very summery video as I start thinking about winter.  I dyed four skeins of yarn (including 3 cotton blends) with dry Tulip One Step Tie Dye Powder.  I first tried this technique during cellulose week, but when KnitPicks released three new cotton yarn lines I didn't want to wait to dye them.  All of this yarn is currently available for purchase in the ChemKnits Creations store, but there is only one of each available.  

I spend the week filming a lot of new dyeing videos.  It has been so fun to sit down and just play with color!  I have a massive editing queue now, but it is a good problem to have as a YouTuber.  I love being able to bring you two new dyeing videos every week, and in addition to the Chanukah week I've got some other special weeks coming up.  

Did you know that ChemKnits is going to turn 10 this December?  I started this blog back during a New Years trip to New Hampshire in 2008.  All of my friends went skiing and I decided to stay in the cabin for some reason. I was researching free Earflap Hat Knitting Patterns and wished that someone had a list online.  Since I was compiling a list of links and notes, I decided that I should create a blog to share them myself.  Look back at my first ever ChemKnits post!  I had a database I created that kept notes of my projects (this was pre-Ravelry) and I quickly found that ChemKnits made a much better lab notebook.  I took detailed notes on my projects in case I wanted to re-create anything.  Plus, I figured it could be helpful to someone.  I did not imagine back then that other people would enjoy my crafting journey.  Looking back at this "Howdy" post I also realized that I've been shopping at KnitPicks for over a decade!  

I'm still not completely sure how to celebrate ChemKnits' 10th birthday, but I hope to do something special.  I also look forward to what we can create over the next decade.  Thank you for being part of the journey! 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Unboxings and Making Space for More Yarn

This week has all been about organization and bringing some more order to my house.  I forced myself to take some time off of dyeing yarn to clean... and in the process I might have ordered a LOT more yarn.  KnitPicks is currently having a 20% off sale with the coupon code SUMMER20. (Affiliate Link) They had a HUGE restock of bare yarns in June, so the bare yarns that I use the most (Stroll, Swish, WOTA, and Hawthorne) are all available. I have had many regrets of one of my standard bases being out of stock when these coupon codes come around, so you can bet I took advantage of this one.  I have some fun plans for the end of this year, so I think I might also take this as an opportunity to restock some bare yarns I use less frequently, too.  

My unboxing livestreams are a usually a little more involved than just opening up the boxes and showing the fun squish yarn I purchased.  I love chatting with all of you, and these are a great opportunity to ask me questions!  If you want to make sure you catch my next livestream, subscribe to the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel and turn on the notifications.  I love to do dyeing and spinning livestreams, too!  

Even when I take the week off, you're going to get at least one new episode of Dyepot Weekly!  This week two very different videos came out.  In Dyepot Weekly #57, I took a look at kettle dyeing some sock yarn using Tulip One Step Tie Dye.  It is really fun to combine this easy to find dye with heat, and the colorway I got was really lovely.  In Dyepot Weekly #58, I decided to look at a new way to create a repeating speckled gradient yarn.  I decided to create a crochet chain of crochet chains and then dip dye it into Wilton's Violet food coloring.  With the yarn folded over on itself multiple times, there was limited surface area, so the colors broke in a fantastic speckled pattern.  Watch the video to see more about how I created this fun yarn.  

This is my second attempt to write the Weekly Roundup for this week.  I found myself distracted with some memories of my Grandmother.  When I stopped writing, I realized that it didn't quite qualify as a "Weekly Roundup" and that I should create a second, somewhat shorter, post.  Soon I'll have to properly take you through my knitting studio, but first I have to figure out where to put all of this new yarn!  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Memories and Knitting Love

Earlier this week, I started thinking about what I wanted to write about for this Weekly Roundup.  I spent the week organizing my house.  I re-organized my knitting studio to have my bare yarn and Etsy shop inventory in a good order.  I thought that this would be a good time to give a little tour of my "Purple Room" but then I spent Wednesday unpacking all of the boxes from my childhood.  I found some amazing things that I can't stop thinking about.

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My parents recently moved back to MA, and took this as an opportunity to give me all of the stuff that I still had at their house.  Yearbooks, photos, paperwork.  There was a lot to sort through.  I found a lovely picture of me and my Grandma Ruth from while I was in college tucked into an envelope addressed to my mother. This was taken at my Aunt Sarah's 99th birthday party, which was a big reunion for extended family.  A distant cousin took this picture of me and my Grandma, developed them, and then sent them to my mom.  The extra effort to get this photo of us to my mom was lovely.  Sharing pictures is so easy today that I forget what it took back then.

I found another treasure in my stash.  I opened a plastic bag to find some vintage patterns haphazardly thrown in.  There were some crochet ponchos, a sampler afghan, and then a paper envelope that had a tiny slip of paper inside.  I pulled it out to find my Grandma's handwriting with instructions for a knitting pattern.  As I take a closer look at the stitches, I realize that I had this exact afghan in my linen closet!

There's a story behind the blanket, too.  When my Grandma died, my grandfather, Papa, gave her belongings to my mother and her sisters.   My aunt took this blanket home specifically to see if I wanted it.  Since I'm not one of the daughters, I didn't get to "pick" things, but she thought that I might want something that Grandma had knit.  This was such a sweet, thoughtful gesture of my Aunt, and then this brought me to this loving moment of discovery.

When you knit something, every single fiber passes through your hands.  Multiple times.  You pour your time, and at least some thought into the creation.  When you knit an afghan, you think about how it could help decorate your home, or keep someone warm when they're cold.  I don't think I ever saw my grandmother knit, but I remember clearly when she went into the basement closet to take out her knitting supplies and gave them to me.  She wanted to give me more tools so I could explore this craft that she clearly loved.  Looking at the pattern for this blanket in her handwriting, it is as though I am watching her create it.  I can see her buying the yarn, sitting down to work on the strips.

When I sit down for the Weekly Roundup, I reflect on the past week of ChemKnits Land to decide what to write about.  Right now, as I'm sitting at my keyboard, I can only think of my Grandma.  Grandma, I miss you.  I love you.  I'm glad to be able to get some more hugs from you from this blanket.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Winning and Failing

This has been a week of highs and lows.  I tried a new technique, and it failed spectacularly, I discovered a fun new dollar store hack, and I unboxed some glorious new fiber subscription boxes.

Overdyeing with Resists and Glazing

Dyepot Weekly #55 came out this week, and I think this might be one of my favorite dyeing videos ever.  I took some KnitPicks Chroma Worsted (Affiliate Link) in the colorway Lupine and overdyed it with a combination of resist dyeing and glazing techniques.  Isn't the difference between the before and after striking?

I got asked recently if you should disclose whether your yarn is overdyed or dyed with food coloring when listing it for sale.  If I were to sell particular this yarn, I would disclose that it was overdyed in the descriptions.  I wouldn't want to take credit for the beautiful chroma gradient, so if I had listed this in my shop I would have said that it was "an overdyed commercial colorway with commercial acid dyes."    But what if you are overdyeing a pale yellow, neon green and are completely changing the color of the yarn?  I personally don't think it is necessary to disclose that you didn't start with a white or an off white yarn.

I tend to provide more information that is necessary in the ChemKnits Creations shop because I think that one of the coolest parts of my yarn is that you can watch exactly how it was made.  I use a wide variety of dye types and yarn bases, and I think it is important for me to disclose this especially when I am doing a more experimental technique and I'm unsure about the longevity of the colors.

Nevertheless, when you want to play around with a new dyeing technique, it can make a step feel less "scary" when you start with a commercially dyed yarn.  I think that if I had dyed this stunning gradient on my own, I wouldn't have wanted to try overdyeing it and risk losing all of the work I had put in originally.

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Paradise Fibers - Fiber of the Month Club

Opening the Paradise Fibers - Fiber of the Month Club (Affiliate Link) July 2018 Box was a true highlight of the week.  The presentation, packaging, and fiber are all stunning.  This would have been a pleasure to open if it were just the fiber in plain plastic bags in a box.  However, the wrapping and opening made this a true gift like experience.  I feel like someone personally wrapped me a present with a lot of care and attention to detail.  I am so grateful that Paradise Fibers sent me this box so I could share it with all of you.  I unboxed this fiber box live on the YouTube channel.  If you want to see my realtime joyful reactions, you can watch the replay.

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I think that this fiber of the month club is complimentary to a lot of other fiber subscription services and would make a phenomenal gift for for someone, or a fantastic way to treat yourself.  I love that this box includes something I know how to use right away, things for me to learn about, plus suggestions on how to combine them all.

Indigo Vat Fail 

We all have fails sometimes. I followed a set of instructions, and they didn't work for me. Different dyers have different recipes for many of their techniques, and sometimes we give different advice with regards to heating, timing, and acid. The protocol I followed today is one that works for one dyer, but not some others, and I'm in the later category. I'm not sure how I want to edit this together yet, but I do know I will edit it together.

I think that there is as much value in a project that doesn't work as one that does. This is not the fault of the dye, but was user error. Maybe I'll be able to rejuvenate this vat so it is usable. Maybe I won't. I know that the other natural extracts (WALNUT!) will be a bit more straight forward to use. I have a (likely synthetic) indigo kit upstairs that looks super user friendly.

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The biggest lesson today is that if you have a gut feeling that something isn't working as it should. Stop and ask a question. There is no harm in postponing your experiment and waiting to try another day if you don't think things are working.  Double checking isn't a bad thing. If I had done this while setting up the vat, I would just need to order some more FeSO4 instead of potentially needing more plant grown indigo, too.

Today, I am working to resurrect my vat. I let the indigo settle to the bottom, removed the liquid on top, and I am going to try to convert this to a hydrosulfite vat using some Rit Color Remover.  My dollar store hack?  I got some water squirters from the dollar store (similar to the ones I've linked below.) These worked like a pipette and I was able to remove the liquid without disturbing the sediment, and saved a lot more of the indigo and removed more of the rusty water) than I could have done with pouring.  Win!

If my attempt to get the indigo vat going again doesn't work today, I'm not going to be sad.  I'll have some videos to share with all of you that show that things don't always work perfectly, and how I tried to get them to work again.  There is value in failure.  Honestly, this failure made me feel like I was back in the lab!  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Mystery Surprise Yarn and Playing with New Colors

This week, I decided to add a new twist to a dip dyeing-a-thon livestream.  I wanted do dye with mixtures of Wilton Icing Color and to pull the color combinations at random out of a bowl.  Here are the colors we ended up picking:

I presold the yarn for the livestream as part of the ChemKnits Creations Shop Update, so viewers were able to pick the yarn base for their surprise yarn.  I loved mixing up the base AND the colors for this steam.  I will absolutely do something similar again.  You can watch the replay of the yarn dyeing livestream on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel.  

The yarns fresh out of the drypot.  Top row left is #1, bottom row left is #5.  

Some of you have asked how I dry my yarn.  I have a collapsible drying rack (similar to the one linked on Amazon) that fits perfectly in a bathtub.  I can fit MANY skeins on the rack at once, and then the drain can catch any drips.  If I have space, then I will lay the yarn across multiple bars to give air more access to the drying yarn.  In the picture below, there are 9 skeins of yarn laying out to dry.  If I have more yarn I want to dry, I'll hank the yarn over 2 bars.

Sometimes it is hard to wait for the colors to dry.  On wool, colors stay pretty similar from the way they were when wet, but some other fiber mixes will lighten significantly when they're drying.  This is why I always try to do a recap after a livestream.  Want to learn more about these mystery surprise colorways?  Watch the recap below:

All ChemKnits Patrons get early access to a new dyeing video each month, and get to vote in a poll to shape the direction of the next month's early access video.  I am so excited about Dyepot PS #4 that I had to share some sneak peak pictures.  Look at these stunning hues I extracted from Red Cabbage!  The pigment is pH sensitive so you get something that is more blue in basic conditions and more pink in acidic conditions.  I think that there are some fantastic applications for some home science experiments with children using red cabbage, and I'll chat about that a bit in the video, too.  

I am so excited about this red cabbage dyeing video.  The colors aren't quite what they look like while still in the dyebath.  Some colors did remain without mordants, but I need to try to pump up the volume next time.  (Red cabbage is known as a fugitive dye, so it will fade with time anyway, but the liquid itself is so much fun to play with!)  The dyeing video will be available for ChemKnits Patrons in July (hopefully next week) and will released to the public sometime in August.  If you want to get early access to videos like these, plus some other fantastic perks, check out the ChemKnits Patreon.  

Trying new techniques is always a learning experience for me.  Sometimes I like to try things in their simplest form to know what works and doesn't work before I start adding more materials and steps.  I hope to explore more natural dyes in the future.  

Monday, July 2, 2018

ChemKnits Creations Shop Update!

I just added a TON of new inventory to the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store! Each listing includes information about the yarn itself PLUS the title of the video where I dyed the yarn.  If you check out the new items, you will get some sneak peeks to new content coming up on the channel.  If you want to know more about the yarn, the video title usually gives a good hint about the technique.  

Why should you buy ChemKnits dyed yarn if you now know exactly how to recreate the colorway? (I hope that I have inspired you to try dyeing yarn yourself!)  When you buy yarn from the ChemKnits Creations store you are getting more than a beautiful skein of indie dyed yarn, you are supporting new ChemKnits content.  Through the shop you get to support ChemKnits, watch the creation of beautiful yarn, and bring it home.  

I have a lot of hand dyed hand spun that I haven't had a chance to use.  I decided to add them to the shop in case anyone wanted to take them home.  All of the roving dyeing videos are on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel, and there are spinning videos for two of them, too. 

Join me tomorrow morning (7/3/18) for a fun LIVE dye-a-thon at 9:30 AM EST on YouTube!  I am planning to dye at least six skeins of yarn in different mixtures of Wilton Icing Color.  How am I going to pick the color combinations?  Randomly!  I've been wanting to add all of my icing colors to a bowl and pick two out at random for a long time.  Once I've selected the colors, I'll pick the proportions (to avoid muddy colors) and then we'll dip dye to see how they break.  Remember the stunning combination of Teal and Copper?  I'm hoping that we accidentally discover some magic like that.

If you want to join in on the Mystery Surprise Yarn Fun, you can preorder a skein that will be dyed in the livestream. You get to pick the yarn base and the queue # for that skein of yarn and then watch LIVE as I dye it just for you.  If you preorder before the livestream begins (9:30 AM EST 7/3/18) you can get 20% off the yarn!   If there are still skeins available when the stream begins, you can purchase them for a 5% discount, but the yarn base will default to "Surprise Sock."  We'll see how this all works out tomorrow, but I thought it would be a fun way to let people claim the yarn from a livestream without waiting for a future shop update.

Available Today in the ChemKnits Creations Shop!  The dyeing video will come out later this summer.   

Now I need to get back to editing some videos!  (I only put yarn in the shop once the video has been edited, uploaded and scheduled on the YouTube Channel.)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Cellulose Week, Tie Dye, and More!

Welcome to the first official Weekly Roundup! My goal is to center all of the happenings in ChemKnits Land here on the blog on a regular basis.  In between these roundup posts I will share other fun crafts etc.  Today, I plan to look back on the last few weeks rather than just this current one to look at some of the fun we had during Cellulose Week. 

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I mostly dye wool based yarns because that is what I love to knit with.  Wool absorbs color super easily, and is a great base to use with food coloring and a variety of commercial dyes.  Cotton is a little trickier because food coloring won't work on cellulose based fibers, it needs protein fibers (wool, alpaca, silk, etc) for the colored molecules to bind.  The ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel had a few old cotton dyeing videos, but it had been a while since I took another look at cotton fibers.

I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, when the ChemKnits Patrons requested cotton and linen blends for their early access dyeing videos (the Dyepot PS Series.)  When I realized that my viewers wanted to see more cotton, I thought it would be fun to dedicate a whole week to cotton dyeing videos, named "Cellulose Week."

I didn't create a new playlist for Cellulose Week, rather I added all of the new videos (9!) to the "Dyeing Cotton Yarns" Playlist.  There are now demonstrations that feature Rit Liquid Dye, Dylon Hand Dye, Avocados, and multiple techniques with Tulip One Step Tie Dye.  You can expand the list on the upper right hand corner of the embedded video to easily find these videos.  

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I found that I couldn't stop after I had edited and scheduled all of the Cellulose Week Videos.  KnitPicks recently released 12 new lines of bare yarn and I was so excited to play with the Cotton Boucle. (Affiliate Link) I will have a lot more cotton dyeing videos coming up in the Dyepot Weekly series over the rest of the summer and the fall. 

As for that video clip at the beginning of this roundup?  My kids love playing ChemKnits with me, so it is always fun for me to create new shirts for them to wear.  I dyed their shirts with some dry tulip one step tie dye powder, and the whole video is now available.  Both boys love performing for the camera, and I think Lucky is a natural at coming up with things to say.

I am so excited to play with color more this summer. I have plans to do a week focused on indigo dyeing (using American Grown Indigo from Stony Creek Colors) very soon.  I had to place an order for some more cotton yarn once I realized that my first vat is going to be best suited for cellulose fibers.  However, I do have plans to toss some wool yarn in there, too, just to see what happens.  I am so excited to share this adventure with you! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

More Posts Coming Soon!

Hello ChemKnits Fans,

I am sorry for not posting much here lately.  I have a massive backlog of projects (and some patterns!) that I need to write up to share with you.  Lately my efforts have been focused on producing 2+ videos per week for the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel so I have not spent as much time writing.

I have plans to revitalize this blog with some updates on what is going on in ChemKnits land currently.  Not 6 months ago or in the future, but regular updates on what is in the dyepot, what videos were released, and other updates.  I feel like there are so many different places where I am sharing my adventures lately (videos and social media) and it has been hard to feel grounded.

ChemKnits is first and foremost this website.  A place to ground all of my projects and crafting adventures.  I hope that these new updates (title TBD) will actually help with some of the writer's block so I can go back through these backlogs of crafts to share some of my creativity that doesn't make it onto the YouTube channel.  ChemKnits is approaching its 10th birthday this December, and we've grown so much over this last decade.  I cannot wait to see where the future will bring us and I hope that you will join me for the journey.

The new posts should be starting VERY soon, but if you want to see what I've been up to lately you can always follow @ChemKnits on Instagram or ChemKnits on Facebook.  We also have a thriving fan community in the ChemKnits Lab Facebook group.

Rebecca from ChemKnits

Monday, April 23, 2018

Now on Etsy! The ChemKnits Creations Shop is now open!

I am excited to announce the launch of my Etsy Store, ChemKnits Creations!  The shop has over 100 skeins of hand dyed yarn that have been featured in past, and upcoming, ChemKnits Tutorials yarn dyeing videos.  

Since the Dyepot Weekly Kickstarter last fall, I have created over a hundred new dyeing videos.  This means that I have created hundreds of skeins of hand dyed yarn.  Even after fullfilling all of my Kickstarter rewards, I was left with a large volume of yarn.  

Almost all of the yarn in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy store was dyed in 2018.  There are a few skeins that are older, but it is amazing to see what I have created in just the last few months.  I want to destash these yarns to help make room for more hand dyed yarns and so I can buy more materials for dyeing videos.  

Some of the yarns listed in the ChemKnits Creations Shop.
In my dyeing videos, I create many different unique yarns on in a variety of fiber types.  This diversity is reflected in the ChemKnits Creations shop.  There are a lot of worsted weight 100% wool and Superwash Merino Nylon blend sock yarn, but there are also silk blends, acrylic blends, and more.  Did you love a yarn from the sock blank special?  Multiple matched 50 g pairs are in the shop!  

Many of you have been asking me if I sell the yarns that I dye, and I am so happy to finally be able to answer, "YES!" I know that I dye more yarn than I could ever knit with, so I am so happy to be able to share the fiber love.  

Check out the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store today!  

Friday, April 13, 2018

10 Reasons Why I Love KnitCrate

KnitCrate is a company that provides fun surprise packages through their yarns subscription services.  These crates feature hand dyed yarns (from both in house dyers and independent dyers) and patterns from independent designers.  I was delighted when they reached out to me this February and offered to send me a few months of their KnitCrate Membership subscription so I could test it out. 

Last week, I received my third KnitCrate package. The more I learned about KnitCrate in these last few months, the happier I was to be working with them.  Today I want to share with you 10 reasons why I love KnitCrate. 

April 2018 KnitCrate Membership Package.  Yarn: DK Weight 100% Superwash Merino Wool

1. Monthly Surprise Yarn

Each month when that bright turquoise package lands on my doorstep, I don't know what type of yarn I am going to get.  The yarn weights, colors, and fiber content are a surprise every month!  (Unless you are using one of their sock yarn clubs where you will get a different kind of sock yarn every month.)  One of the best parts of their flagship kit, KnitCrate Membership Subscription, is that even if you see spoilers, there are 3-4 different colorways each month.  Therefore, you might know something about the type of yarn you will receive, but the color in your package will always be a surprise.

My 3 Months of KnitCrate Exclusive Yarns

2.  Free Shipping, Even International!  

The price of all KnitCrate subscriptions include shipping costs.  International members might need to pay import duty and taxes to their home country, but they won't pay KnitCrate any extra for shipping for any of the different crates. 

3. KnitCrates are Economical

KnitCrate subscriptions start at just $19.95 for the Sock Crate Membership.  The KnitCrate Membership Subscription that I've been unboxing is only $24.99 and includes two 100 g skeins of hand dyed yarn, free shipping, 1 crochet pattern, 1 knitting pattern, and exclusive discounts in the KnitCrate Member Central shop and at some KnitCrate partners. 

February 2018 KnitCrate Membership.  Yarn: Worsted Weight 40% Merino Wool, 30% Silk, 30% Alpaca

To put this in perspective, if you love the yarn from a kit and want to buy some more, you can get some more skeins at a discount (up to 25% off in the Member Central.)  Yarns featured in the February and March 2018 KnitCrate Membership kits are $18/skein for members, but $24/skein for people who don't have a subscription.  (You can see the discount when you log into your account.) If you factor in the cost of two $24 skeins of yarn, $5 shipping, and $5/pattern, you get to a value of $63 for the KnitCrate membership kit. 

Members also earn KnitCrate Stash Points every month which you can save up for coupons off your next month's crate or for coupons to use in the Member Central. 

4. Enough Yarn to Make a Project

There's nothing worse than buying some cool yarn and then realizing once you are home that you do not have enough to complete a project.  Each KnitCrate membership kit comes with two patterns, 1 knitting and 1 crochet, and you have enough yarn to make either of the patterns.

5. Bringing Me Outside My Color Comfort Zone

When I pick my own yarns, I tend to choose purples, blues, and greens.  KnitCrate helps me come out of my comfort zone by sending me a surprise color each month.  Sometimes they send me the one I might have picked, otherwise it is something new, that brings me out of my color comfort zone. 

6. Pattern Download, No Extra Paper

I love that the KnitCrates come with links so you can download the knitting and crochet projects either to your computer or directly into your Ravelry library.  I find the patterns to be an excellent suggestion of what to make with the yarn, but sometimes the patterns inspire me to use the yarn for something already in my queue.  Since I don't have to worry about keeping track of paper patterns, I can save them in my library to use when I'm ready. 

The pattern download link is located on the back of the kit theme.  When you type that link into your computer, it is only a couple clicks of a button to add them to your library.

The Designs from 3 months of my KnitCrate Membership.  The postcard has the crochet pattern on one side and the knitting pattern on the other.  

7. KnitCrate Supports Independent Designers 

KnitCrate has multiple different programs for working with independent designers (see the link to Designer Programs at the top of their website.)  For patterns featured in the monthly creates, designers can pick between a flat fee or royalty program. 

For the designer, being featured in a KnitCrate means that you will get more people checking you out on Ravelry.  Each of the KnitCrates includes coupon codes for the designers' Ravelry shops, which provides incentive for people to check out their other patterns.  If I try someone's design and love it, I am much more likely to buy another pattern from them versus try someone new. 

8. KnitCrate Supports Independent Dyers

KnitCrate has two subscriptions that feature Independent Dyers, Artisan Crate and Sock Artisan Crate.  I haven't tried any of these kits, but I love the idea of a surprise yarn package that features a different Indie Dyer every month. 

KnitCrate offers yarn support for dyers FREE OF CHARGE and pays for shipping both ways.  Dyers are paid a flat rate for the yarns to cover their time, dyes, and other materials. I assume that the info card in each package contains information about the dyer's shop so you can learn more about who dyed the yarn.  (And there are likely discounts to the shop as well.)  

There is also a great potential for cross promotions, KnitCrate promotes the dyer, and the dyer promotes KnitCrate.  I know that the first thing I would do upon getting a surprise indie dyed skein of yarn is to look up the dyer's shop to see what other types of yarn they offer.  I really like that KnitCrate makes it so easy for all consumers to see the programs for Indie Dyers and Designers, it makes me really respect the company.  You can learn more about the Indie Dyer Programs by following a link on the top of KnitCrate's website.

9. Brightly Colored Packaging 

When the teal mailer shows up on my doorstep, I know that it is going to be full of beautiful yarn.  It brings me joy straight from the beginning!

March 2018 KnitCrate Membership.  Yarn: Fingering weight 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon, 10% Stellina

10. Bare Yarns 

I mentioned above that KnitCrate offers yarn support to their indie dyers, but they also let everyone in the community to buy their bare yarns.  DyerSupplier by KnitCrate is an ethically sourced line of undyed yarns at wholesale prices.  The prices are very reasonable and most of the yarns come in 10 packs.  Singles skeins are available for select yarn lines so you can try the yarn out before committing to buying multiple. 

My First 3 Months of KnitCrate!  

Thank you, KnitCrate, for letting me try out your subscription service!  I am so happy to share this with everyone. Do you want to give KnitCrate a try?  Use the code ChemKnits20 at checkout for 20% off your first month! 

Disclaimer: KnitCrate sends me the monthly KnitCrates for free and I am part of their ambassador program.  All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

That's a Wrap, but Only for the Kickstarter

Today, Episode 35 of Dyepot Weekly came out!  Where has time gone?  How has it been over 6 months since the launch of this video series?  With the release of Dyepot Weekly #35, I have officially completed my Kickstarter Campaign.  I initially hoped to fund the first 25 episodes of Dyepot Weekly but everyone's support helped SMASH all of the stretch goals I could come up with.

Dyepot Weekly #35 was super special for me, because I took a trip back through memory lane to look back at the first ever colorway I handpainted with KoolAid and food coloring.  It was fitting to close off this Kickstarter by taking a look back and replicating one of my first ever yarns.  Because I always do everything with a twist, I dyed both the Lion Brand Wool Ease yarn I used in the past and KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Worsted weight yarn to show how these two different fibers take up color. (Affiliate Links)

If you've missed some episodes of Dyepot Weekly along the way, don't worry!  I have a playlist on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel so you can catch up on the whole series:

Don't worry, Dyepot Weekly isn't over.  I just about to schedule episodes #42 and #43 and I'm in various stages of filming through #50!

What's Next for ChemKnits?

Many of you have asked me if I would do another Kickstarter campaign.  The honest answer is maybe.  I think that it could be fun to participate in a Make 100 campaign, or to do another campaign if I needed the capital to launch a special series.  However, I do not have plans to do another Kickstarter at this time.  There are, however, other ways that you can support ChemKnits. 

One way you can support me right now is through Patreon.  To become a ChemKnits Patron, you subscribe to a reward tier and contribute to ChemKnits on a monthly basis.  As a Patron, you have access to some fantastic perks that can include early access to new dyeing videos, behind the scenes sneak peeks, advance notice of yarn destash sales and more.  I think my favorite part is the monthly Patron only poll where they provide input into the next early access video.

Another way you can support ChemKnits is by interacting with my videos and other content.  Subscribe to the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel, share videos via social media, like videos, comment on videos.  All of this helps more people discover my content which in turn gives me the resources to create more videos. 

Speaking of destash sales... one is coming.  I am currently at the beginning stages of opening up an Etsy shop!  My stash of hand dyed yarn is rather large, and I need to make some more space in my closet so I can create more yarn dyeing videos. 

What else is next?  I have a whole backlog of crafting projects that I want to write up here.  The only real thing that is holding me back is the need to edit some of the pictures first, and then I can start sharing more of my fun crafting adventures.

Thank you for being a part of this journey.  I look forward to many more years of creative adventures with you. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Results from the Sock Blank Special 2!

The finished yarns dyed in the Sock Blank Special 2 #ChemKnitsDyeAlong Livestreams. 

What a fantastic adventure!  Earlier this year, I scheduled a week of sock blank dyeing videos to explore many different techniques for applying dye to these pre-knit, and crochet, pieces of fabric.  During the Sock Blank Special 2 weeks, I released 10 different dyeing videos: 5 edited prefilmed videos and 5 dyeing livestreams.  What I didn't expect was that the SBS2 week would continue over another week with multiple unraveling livestreams so you could see what these yarns looked like with the blanks unraveled.

Phew!  I dyed 21 blanks during the livestreams.  That is a LOT of yarn, and a lot of videos.  I have a playlist that organizes all of the SBS2 videos in roughly chronological order.  This is a little confusing because there were some sneak peek episodes where I unraveled blanks for the edited videos.  I placed these unraveling videos after the relevant edited video in the playlist.  (The livestream unravelings are all at the end.)  I always like to film a recap video after a livestream so you can see the finished dry yarn and hear some concluding thoughts, and there is a recap for each of the livestreams.  For this special week, I also felt the need to film an overall summary so you could see not only the dried blanks but the finished unraveled yarns.  Therefore, I made a summary slideshow so you could see pictures of the dyeing, finished dry blank, and unraveled yarn.  The yarns are arranged according to the livestream where they were dyed, so this should help you find the specific replay in case you want to learn more about the technique.

Want to learn more about all of these yarns?  Check out the Sock Blank Special 2 #ChemKnitsDyeAlong Playlist or watch below.  (I know that there is a LOT of footage to go through.  Some of my followers say that they watch livestream replays on 2x speed to get to the action parts of the dyeing.)

Thank you, everyone, who joined me in this journey.  So many of you joined in on the fun and dyed your own homemade sock blanks.  Thank you for sharing your pictures in the Facebook group for ChemKnits fans, ChemKnits Lab.  I still have a few homemade sock blanks left in my stash, not to mention at least 10 stroll sock blanks from KnitPicks. (Affiliate Link)  

If you want to support ChemKnits on a more personal level and contribute to fun dyeing specials like the Sock Blank Special 2, check out the ChemKnits Patreon.  Patrons can receive exclusive behind the scenes sneak peek videos, early access to new dyeing videos, coupons, and more.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

ChemKnits is now on Patreon!

I have some exciting news!  ChemKnits is now on Patreon!  

What does this mean?  Patreon is website that allows people to support their favorite artists and creators.  This is a way for you to pay creators on a monthly basis to help support the content that you love.  It is like an optional subscription service.  

I have created some exciting perks for ChemKnits Patrons.  These can include:
  • Early Access to new dyeing videos.  I will share these videos in the monthly Patreon newsletter.  These videos will eventually be available to the public on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel.  
  • Exclusive Behind the Scenes Sneak Peeks - Want to watch as I film a scene for a new dyeing video?  Patrons can choose rewards that give them access to fun and interactive sneak peeks.  
  • Shout Outs in the Early Access video
  • Exclusive coupons to my (coming soon) Etsy store
  • Advance notice of when hand dyed destash sales will start so you can get a head start to check out the pretty colors.  

What does the Patreon mean for the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel?  Are you still going to make new videos?  

I will 100% keep making new videos for the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube channel.  The purpose of the Patreon is to help fund the yarn, dye, and equipment so I can continue to make fun dyeing videos that everyone can enjoy.  The main difference is that you might hear me mention the Patreon from time to time in my videos.  The public content will not decrease at all, if anything I will be adding more fun videos to the channel.   

If I can't become a Patron, how can I support you? 

Subscribe to the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel (which is free!), watch videos, and give a thumbs up to the ones you enjoy.  Engaging with my videos is the best way that you can support me!