Friday, September 28, 2018

Weekly Roundup - My First Assistant!

This week we welcomed a new member to the ChemKnits family... my very first assistant/employee - an electric motorized skein winder! This device will help me as I deal with fiber prep both before and after dyeing.  In a livestream this week, I tried unraveling a sock blank on my skein winder for the first time and WOW.  This is a process that can take me up to 20 min while I do it by hand, and I think it was all unraveled within a minute or two when I used the machine.  Granted, I usually unravel sock blanks during livestreams, so there is some chatting involved, but I really liked unraveling it on this machine.

I'm still not entirely sure what to name her.  The leading name right now is Trisana, as a reference that goes along with my spinning wheel "Sandry," named after a Tamora Pierce character.  Sandry's magic expresses itself through fiber and weaving, and Tris is a weather mage who makes a lot of cyclones.  I'm still trying it out, but you have all given me some great suggestions on Facebook and Instagram.  I know that preparing skeins from balls of yarn and making miniskeins is going to feel a whole lot faster, almost magical.

My new unnamed friend ready to be put together.

2018 ChemKnits Chanukah Celebration Update

Speaking of mini-skeins, there are still a few slots left for the 2018 ChemKnits Chanukah Miniskein Sampler.  Every night of Chanukah this year, I will release a new dyeing video.  This is 8 nights, 8 mini-skeins, 8 yarn bases, 8 dyeing techniques, and 8 new videos.  I will be closing the full 100 g limited edition sock yarn add-on on Wednesday October 3, so if you want to get the largest sampler don't wait too long!

Dyepot Weekly #73

Black and Grey are really hard to achieve with food coloring.  When I discovered that Americolor has a whole line of grey food coloring ("Nifty Shades of Grey") I wanted to see if could help me create grey tones on yarn.  Unfortunately, the colors are very similar to a broken black, but the final yarn is stunning nevertheless.

I haven't attempted to break Americolor Black food coloring yet, but that is 100% on my list.  These grey tones were fun, but the titanium dioxide was a bit of a pain to rinse out of the yarn.  I think that this is added to add some white tones to icing when it is used in food coloring.

Acid Dyestocks Update

9 months ago, I made some dye stocks with acid dyes for the first time.  This was the only time I've ever gone into the Jacquard acid dye jars.  In all of the videos where I've used commercial acid dyes I have been using these dyestocks.  This week, I decided to film a brief update on how these stocks have been doing.  This is something that I've mentioned in videos from time to time, but I wanted to bring it front and center.

Over time, these 1 L 1% stock solutions have not been terribly consistent.  Some of this has been obvious - sun yellow is my nemesis due to its solubility issues.  Other colors, like the violet, have become much more intense as I've reached the bottom of the jar.  I don't think I've done a good job mixing the stock solutions up each time before using them, so there could be more insoluble particles towards the bottom.  I think that this concentration inconsistency is making it harder for me to get a feel of how much dye to use per skein of yarn.  I plan to start mixing colors fresh to play with so I can hopefully get a better handle on these dyes.

In terms of longevity, all of the stock solutions still work after almost 9 months. I can get the dyebaths to clear, and the colors are vibrant and color fast.  So, while you CAN make stock solutions, I'm not sure it is truly the best option for consistent color saturation unless you were going to use up most of the stock in one day.

You can watch the stock solution update video here.

New KnitPicks Subscription Boxes

KnitPicks listened!  (Disclaimer, I'm not sure that they listened to me in particular, but I think that a lot of the community had similar requests to me in my review of their new subscription boxes.) KnitPicks listened to feedback and has released two new Subscription boxes Crochet Lover and Sock Labs which are both $27.00, which includes shipping within the US.  I'm so thrilled that these are listed at a lower price point and are something that can really appeal to livelong KnitPicks Fans.  The Sock Labs subscription will feature the new hand dyed colorways and some free patterns each month.  KnitPicks, if you want to send me a sample of the Socks Labs box, I'd love to see it!

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon and KnitPicks.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.