Friday, October 26, 2018

Weekly Round Up - Fall is Here!

Brrrrrr.... it is suddenly so chilly outside!  It truly is fall now, and with that comes the need for all kinds of cozy winter accessories.  The ChemKids are in their winter hats, and I'm all snuggled up in my cowl made out of their hand dyed yarn.  (Speaking of this cowl... I really need to finish up a blog post on that one!) 

I had a fun week getting silly.  Whether it was using some Wilton Sparkle Gel or onions to dye yarn, we were creating a lot of great colors.

KnitPicks SALE!

This is not a trick, it is a HUGE treat!  KnitPicks is having a HUGE Sale!   (Affiliate Link)  Get 15% (almost) everything with the code FALL15 through 10/29/18 at 11:59 PM PST.  I have already placed one huge bulk yarn order and plan to place another before the sale ends.  This coupon code STACKS with the bulk bare yarn discount.  Yes please!

Dyepot Weekly

This week in Dyepot Weekly, I dyed some KnitPicks Gloss Roving for the first time.  Gloss is 30% silk, 70% merino and it is SO SOFT.  I wanted to do something similar to the highlighter dyeing project but instead use acid dyes.  This video is a great example of how I adapt my vision as I see how the colors are absorbing to the fiber. 

It has been a long time since I've done a spinning livestream.  I am truly hoping to have some spin and chat sessions in November.  There are some other spinning videos in the pipeline, I just need to get some more editing done.  It is not a bad problem to have too much raw footage around!


I did a second livestream for the October ChemKnits Dye Along.  In the first livestream, I used dots to reflect the fun fall ombre tree that is our inspiration photo for this month.

I will share the November dye along photo around the 15th of the month.  I'll try to do the recap before the next dye along starts.  I'm loving all of your submissions so far!  Keep them coming!  (Share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #ChemKnitsDyeAlong or reply with a photo comment on the ChemKnits Facebook Post.) 

ChemKnits Chanukah Update!

I am done winding ALL of the miniskeins for the Chanukah Samplers!  The sampler is currently sold out, but I plan to add a few more things to the shop so that more of you can participate PHYSICALLY in this special week of videos.

Next on the list is to finish up editing these videos...  Wish me luck!


I wrote an update on Froggy the fish last night, but after I shared that he gave us a scare.  We couldn't find him ANYWHERE.  We searched for him in the filter, all over the tank, and then we found his little head popping out of the hollow on the jaw of the Triceratops.  Silly Froggy!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Froggy the Fish, Tap Water Quality, and Dyeing Yarn Thoughts

Sometimes you learn things a little too late. For Lucky's birthday we got him a fish, "Froggy."  After being home a few days, Foggy got a little sick and was having trouble swimming.  It turns out that the tap water in my area is high in nitrites, and if you're a fish owner that is BAD for fish.  The pet store was very nice, but said that the swim bladder issues the fish was experiencing could have been underlying before the fish came home with us.

It broke my heart, but the store gave Lucky a choice.  1) we could try to treat Froggy at home (which could be hard because he has other strange symptoms) or 2) we could bring Froggy to the "fish hospital" and bring home Froggy's brother.  Lucas chose option 2.  I know that I'm naive, but I honestly can't tell if they are going to try to treat Froggy or if they are going to help ease his suffering.

Froggy II (aka just Froggy after this blog post) 

Anyway, this makes me really curious about my tap water when it comes to yarn dyeing.  I know that sometimes you get different results as me with a similar set up, and little differences in the water could absolutely affect the final pH and other conditions for dyeing yarn.  Next time we get the water report from the city, I'm going to pay closer attention and maybe then do a bottled water vs tap water video to see if there are any differences.  I'll try to share some of the information with you since I use tap water for my dyeing videos. I've been meaning to do a video on pH and yarn dyeing for a long time anyway, but now I am hoping to take a closer look at it sooner rather than later.  Maybe there will be a difference in results when we compare tap versus bottled water.

Froggy I started showing symptoms within a day of being home.  Froggy II was thriving after multiple days in the tank created with purified water and betta fish conditioner.  His fins are open, he loves to flare at a mirror, and he is frequently swimming and exploring the whole tank.  Froggy II has a lot of personality.  He loves to hang out in the fake leaves, but sometimes wedges himself behind the filter or under the back of the Triceratop's frill.  He knows I am a source of food, and will come out to say hi when I come by the tank.

I have dyed some yarn inspired by Froggy I (stay tuned!), and now I need to think about dyeing some inspired by Froggy II!  I love that his fins are a warm blue with some flashes of red.  He is a Half Moon Double Tail Male and his colors almost feel iridescent.

After this blog posts, all references to Froggy II will just be "Froggy." 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Happy Birthday, Dyepot Weekly!

We did it!  It is official!  I made it to ONE YEAR of Dyepot Weekly!  I've been talking about this birthday for a little while, but yesterday the birthday was finally here.

Sneak Peek! Yes this is more than just a birthday message! 

Looking back over the last 78 episodes of Dyepot Weekly, you can see just how much I've grown as an indie dyer.  I have explored multiple different types of dye and multiple new-to-me techniques.  I hope that through this journey I have inspired you to try playing with color on your own. 

Become a ChemKnits Patron!

The Kickstarter is over, and I don't currently have any plans to do another one in the future.  However, if you're disappointed that you missed out on the Kickstarter and would like to participate in some crowdfunding of Dyepot Weekly videos, check out the ChemKnits Patreon!  Patreon is a platform for fans to subscribe to the content creators that they enjoy.  You sign up for a monthly subscription and get access to some really cool perks.  As rewards, ChemKnits Patrons can select options that include early access to new yarn dyeing videos, behind the scene sneak peeks, Etsy coupons, shout outs in videos, and more.  Patrons, your support makes a huge impact on my ability to produce videos with a wide variety of yarn, dyes, and equipment.  Thank you so much for your support!

Dyepot Weekly Birthday Special Edition

Normally Dyepot Weekly comes out every Tuesday morning, and Friday mornings sometimes have a bonus episode of Dyepot Weekly or some other bonus kind of dyeing video.  DPW's birthday was on a Thursday this year, and I didn't want to shift the schedule around... so I added an EXTRA episode of Dyepot Weekly! 

Technically, I added two extra episodes because I bonus "Leave no Dye Behind" episode came out when this one was done.  I thought it would be fun to bring Dyepot Weekly full circle and do a version of the very first episode.  In DPW #1 I speckled two types of yarn, KnitPicks Stroll Fingering and Wool of the Andes Worsted, with KoolAid powder. (Affiliate Links)  In DPW #78 I decided to use these same yarn bases and this time explore dry Jacquard acid dye powder.  The results are STUNNING, right?

Have you missed an episode of Dyepot Weekly?  Don't worry, there is a whole Dyepot Weekly playlist so you can watch them all!


As part of the Dyepot Weekly birthday celebration, I am launching a #ChemKnitsDyeAlong series!  Each month around the 15th, I'll share an inspiration photo on Instagram and Facebook.  I invite all of you to dye along with me and share how you were inspired by the photo.  You can pick all of the colors in the photo, one small element, or to take the theme of the photo to inspire your palette.  Your inspiration can be as literal or loose as you choose, and I cannot wait to hear about it.

Each month I will dye yarn inspired by the photo myself in a livestream.  In the livestream recap, I will feature some of your dyeing projects! To be featured, share your photo with the #chemknitsdyealong hashtag on instagram or reply to the dye along photo with your pictures on Facebook.  (Please note that the ChemKnits Lab Facebook Group is a closed group, so pictures that you share in there will remain private.  If you would like to be featured, please comment on the public photo.)  

Is there a deadline?  Not really.  I might feature some October dye along photos in the November Livestream recap etc.  I might firm up some of these details as time goes on, but I am very excited to dye along with you.  Therefore, make sure you mention the photo that inspired you! 

For the October #ChemKnitsDyeAlong, I selected a photo of a tree that I took myself.  I love the way that leaves are changing, and this tree had a STUNNING gradient to it.  I dyed my own colorway last night LIVE and I would love to hear what you thought!  

YouTube Went Down

On Tuesday Night, YouTube went down.  This is something that any YouTube fears, but this was especially unfortunate because I was in the middle of a livestream when it happened!  I was dyeing some semi-solid yarn with Dharma Acid dyes to see the relative potency of three different colors. Since the stream was cut off in the middle, I attempted to continue the stream on Facebook.... and the quality was really poor.  That stream is still on the ChemKnits Facebook page.  When the yarn is dry I'll film a recap and chat about it a bit more.

I am very grateful that so many of you held on to see if the stream would start working again.  I also think it was hilarious that the stream kept going even though YouTube wasn't working.  I had to cut 8 min or so of me troubleshooting from the end of the stream!

Chanukah Update

This week, I finished dyeing all of the yarn for the 2018 ChemKnits Chanukah Samplers. (Currently sold out.) I thought it was going to be 9 videos, but there will likely be a couple of extra ones.  I played around a bit before deciding on what I wanted the limited edition ChemKnits Chanukah colorway to look like, and I think that I ended up with something beautiful.  The yarn is all hanging up on my drying rack and I wish I could share some sneak peeks so badly.  However, I am committed to #nospoilers, and I will not share any photos of Chanukah yarn until the the video has been released.

Finishing up the Chanukah dyeing means one important thing.... this means that I'm going to have more spoilers again.  Hooray!  Now I just have to go wind a few hundred miniskeins....

Thank You

Almost 10 years ago, ChemKnits began as a blog.  As my YouTube audience grew, many of you continued to follow me in both places.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping form the most amazing community of indie dyers and fiber artists.  I wouldn't be doing this today without all of you.  Thank you, readers! 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Weekly Roundup - Belated Birthdays

Friends, I completely dropped the ball last week.  I was so busy thinking about Lucky's 5th birthday that I didn't create a Weekly Roundup!  I hope that you will forgive this belated roundup.  The birthday theme feels fitting since there are a lot of anniversaries going on.  Next Thursday is Dyepot Weekly's birthday, Lucky filmed a handpainting tutorial with me a year ago this week, and Lucky is 5.  FIVE!  I cannot believe that this little boy has grown up so much.

I quickly whipped together a shirt for Lucky on the morning of his birthday. I think I have a backlog of applique projects and costumes I'd like to share, but that is another story.  I've been hard at work on a super simple DIY Halloween costume for this year, and it goes along with the birthday theme very nicely.


This week, I hit a HUGE milestone on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel.  My video "Increasing Knit stitches: M1 (Make One)" hit one million views!  This is an old school ChemKnits video, added to the channel about a year after I started making videos.  I'm so glad that so many people have found this helpful.

I have a LOT more dyeing videos on the channel these days, but some of the knitting tutorials are still my most popular.  Is there anything that you would like to see?  I think my filming set up has improved a LOT over the years.  I cringe a bit when I watch some of these older videos, but I am pleased by how much I've grown.

Dyepot Weekly

I've been on a Wilton's Violet kick recently.  I feel like there are a lot of violet videos coming out back to back, from leave no dye left behind videos, dip dyeing, color layering, and more.  In Dyepot Weekly #75, sponsored by Karen, I took a look at how we can break Wilton's Violet food coloring with what I call the "dry rub" method.  Some members of the ChemKnits Lab refer to this as the "scrub the dishpan method" but I keep coming back to dry rub since I am rubbing dry yarn into dye to randomly spread the colors around.

I looked at the yarn dry rub technique in three different ways:

  1. No vinegar in the dye, dry rub, dip dyeing the yarn into vinegar after
  2. Vinegar in the dye (which had a little surprise to it!), dry rub, then dip dye in to water + vinegar after.
  3. Vinegar in the dye, dry rub, steam setting the color
The results were vastly different, as you can see from the thumbnail.  I did this dyeing project with KnitPicks Bare Stroll Fingering weight yarn (Affiliate Link) which is 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon.  This yarn, and superwash yarn in general, absorbs color SUPER fast, and the red #3 food coloring started to bind to the yarn without any heat or acid around.  This helped give the first yarn the most dramatic color breaking of the three.

I am really excited to try this out with some other colors that we know break.  Or maybe even some colors that don't.  Would we completely erase the dry rub effect or would we get something that was subtle and tonal?

Would you like to sponsor an episode of Dyepot Weekly?  Sponsors get shout outs in the video plus 100 g of yarn that I dyed in the Dyepot Weekly Episode (with an option to upgrade to 200 g.)  You pick the yarn base and some colors to avoid, and I design an experiment with you in mind.  The final colors and technique will be a complete surprise, and it is so much fun.  You can find more details in the ChemKnits Creations Etsy Store.  

When I said that I've been on a violet kick lately... (and really, when am I not on a violet kick?) I dyed some more dip dyed Wilton's Violet for another project.  This one turned out so beautiful that it will be a shame to modify it, but I hope to learn something new.  And isn't this the point of dyeing experiments?  I will test things out and take the risks so then you can decide how you want to dye the yarn yourself. 

Chanukah Update

The 2018 Chanukah Miniskein Sampler Preorders have sold out.  Don't worry, everyone will get a chance to watch the 8 videos and celebrate along with me.  There might be a few extra slots when I start winding the miniskeins.  I also plan to unbox one myself so everyone can see how it turned out.  Would you like me to create other samplers along side special weeks?  What kinds would you like to see?  Let me know in the comments!