Friday, August 28, 2020

Dive into Dyeing with ChemKnits & KnitCrate! (NEW Learn to Dye Subscription Course!)

I am thrilled to share that I teamed up with KnitCrate & Dyer Supplier to create 15 videos for their new learn to dye course: Dive into Dyeing! Last summer, I filmed 15 videos to accompany this three month subscription to help you get started on your yarn dyeing journey.  

I am an affiliate marketer with KnitCrate and Dyer Supplier which means I earn commissions on sales made through my links.  All of the links and coupon codes to both companies in this blog post are affiliate links/codes.


Dive into Dyeing is a 3-month subscription kit designed to introduce you to hand dyeing yarn with acid dyes and highlights 3 techniques (semi-solid, variegated, and speckles).  Each month you will receive 200 g of bare yarn, 3 - 1/2 oz jars of Jacquard acid dyes, gloves, a booklet with step by step instructions, and some other extras that will be helpful in your dyeing journey.  I filmed 15 videos to accompany this subscription to help you get set up with tools & equipment, safety tips, and then how to begin your yarn dyeing journey.  


What is included in the Dive into Dyeing Subscription?

Each month's Dive into Dyeing box will include 2 - 100 g skeins of yarn, 3 - 1/2 ounce jars of Jacquard acid dyes, 2 gloves, 2 zip ties, a booklet with step-by-step instructions, and some extras.  The step by step instructions are fantastic - KnitCrate pulled images from the videos I created and included color coded explanations of formulas so you can keep track of your dyeing recipes.  

What are the extras?  Box 1 will include citric acid, Box 2 will include some squeeze bottles and wooden stirrers, and Box 3 will also include some stirrers.  


What else do I need to start dyeing yarn? What is not included in the Dive into Dyeing Subscription? 

The Dive into Dyeing subscription does NOT include Respirator masks / Dust masks, Safety glasses, pots/pans/steamers, measuring spoons, digital scales.  

Personal safety is really important.  I recommend that you get a N95 or respirator mask with P100 filters for when you are dealing with dry dye powder.  I also wear protective safety goggles and gloves.  

Make sure that all of the tools and equipment you plan to use for yarn dyeing are dedicated for dye and won't be used for the preparation of food.  Here are some of my favorite dedicate dye tools for dyeing yarn. 


How much is the Dive into Dyeing Subscription? 

Dive into Dyeing is $39.99/month which includes the cost of shipping.  New KnitCrate customers can save 20% off the first month with the coupon code "chemknits20"


Can I cancel after the first month? 

Yes.  I believe that if you sign up again a few months later the system should know you have already received lesson 1 and start you back up with lesson 2.  Please reach out to KnitCrate directly to confirm.  


What is covered in the videos?

  • Dyeing Tools and Equipment
  • Safety tips for dyeing yarn at home
  • How to make acid dye stock solutions
  • Level 1 (goes with the Month 1 box) - How to dye Semi-solid yarn
  • Level 2 (goes with the Month 2 box) - How to dye variegated yarn on the countertop
  • Level 3 (goes with the Month 3 box) - How to dye speckled yarn low immersion 
There are also some bonus videos that will demonstrate some other fun ways you can combine color and yarn:
  • Dyeing a yarn cake for a fun gradient
  • Dyeing a 2-color gradient with connected miniskeins
  • Dyeing self striping yarn
  • Dyeing variegated and speckled yarn low immersion
  • Dyeing "watercolor" yarn
  • Solar dyeing yarn in mason jars
  • Ice dyeing yarn
Finally, there are two videos that feature food coloring.  Food coloring works very similar to acid dyes so a lot of the above videos will also work with food coloring.  
  • Dyeing yarn with KoolAid in the microwave
  • Dyeing yarn with KoolAid in a crock pot

Want to watch the videos to see if yarn dyeing is for you?  You can!  The videos I created for KnitCrate are available to the public for free.  I created a Dive into Dyeing playlist that I will share on my channel or you can watch all 15 videos below: 




Are the included gloves laytex-free? 

Yes!  The gloves are vinyl laytex-free and powder-free.  

Can we watch you unbox the Dive into Dyeing Subscription? 

Yes!  I will unbox the first level on Friday 8/28 at 1 PM EST on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel.  You can watch the replay below: 



I am an affiliate marketer with KnitCrate and Dyer Supplier which means I earn commission on purchases made after clicking on my affiliate links.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Respirator Masks for Dyeing Yarn

When you are dyeing yarn with commercial dyes, it is important to consider safety and personal protective equipment.  You should always dye in dedicated pots and equipment that isn't used for the preparation of food.  When dealing with dry dye powder, you need a particle mask or respirator to make sure you don't inhale any dye particles. 



When I dye with acid dyes, I wear a deluxe rubber respirator. This is a "Moldex 8000 Series Assembled Respirator" that uses replaceable NIOSH P100 Particulate Filters.  I don't use any vapor cartridges for my dyeing practices, but check the listing for more details about when those would be necessary. I purchased this respirator from Dharma Trading Company, the same website where I source most of my dyes.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic these respirators have been sold out for months, and as of early August 2020 there hasn't been a restock date given.  


Rubber Respirator Masks Recommended by Indie Dyers
I crowd sourced recommendations for masks and respirators from other indie dyer business owners.  Please note that I haven't tried these brands or ordered from some of these websites unless noted below.  Multiple dyers recommend the website Grainger for ordering respirator masks.  They have a lot of half mask respirator and filter options that are currently available.  Some of these recommended models may be available on other websites, too.  

  • 3M 7500 series respirator - Note that this listing does NOT include the filters.  See below. (Here is another link directly to the 3M website but I don't think you can order from them directly: 3M 7500 series respirators
    • P100 filters for the 3M respirators. There are disk filters (that look like pink disks) and combination cartidges (these look more like a box with a cap). I believe that either of these will work with the 3M 7500 and 6000 series half mask respirators.  
  • 3M 6000 half mask respirators - Some of the options through Grainger include the P100 filters and others you purchase the filters separately.  Please read the listings thoroughly! The 3M filter options listed below should work with this mask.  
    • P100 filters for the 3M respirators. There are disk filters (that look like pink disks) and combination cartidges (these look more like a box with a cap). I believe that either of these will work with the 3M 7500 and 6000 series half mask respirators.  
  • Honewell North 770 Series Half Mask Respirator - Please note with your selection as some of these come with the respirator cartridge included and others you need to purchase the cartridge separately. I would select one with a P100 filter option.  
  • Prochem is selling single NIOSH certified N95 masks. As of 8/7/2020 they are only selling masks to existing customers.  From their website: "We have limited supplies and need to supply to our existing customers that need these on a regular basis to conduct their businesses. The manufacturers have increased pricing and we have a limited supply of masks available. We will keep you updated as information is made available to us. Thank you for your understanding!"

Recommended Options that were out of stock at the time I wrote this post: 



More Useful Mask Information

When should you wear your mask? Whenever you are dealing with dry powder. I wear my respirator mask whenever I am working with dry dye powder and some other powdered chemicals.  I wear it when I am speckling, preparing stock solutions, and other similar techniques.  Once dyes are dissolved in liquid, I take off my mask.  Many dyers prefer to work from stock solutions because then you can limit the amount of time that you are in contact with the dry powder.  

Make sure that you're working in a well ventilated area away from children and pets.  

Make sure your mask fits properly! When you are wearing a properly fitting mask all of the air you breathe will go through the filters.  If air goes in and out around the edges of the mask then it does not fit correctly.  Please refer to the manufacturer instructions on proper fit for your mask.  

What other safety equipment do I need?
You should wear safety glasses/goggles and wear gloves when dealing with powders.  I personally prefer to wear nitrile gloves over latex because these were my favorite gloves from when I worked in a lab.  

What is the difference between N100 and P100 filters?  These are both good for protecting the wearer from small particles.  The "N" means that these are not resistant to oil.  The "P" respirators are oil proof.  Source

How do I know if I have a real N95 or P100 mask?  Due to the global pandemic, some companies are marketing items as N95 masks that aren't actually NIOSH approved. Please read the following article from the CDC on Counterfeit Respirators / Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval. Try to make your purchases from a trusted vendor.  

Can I wear a homemade cloth mask/bandanna for dyeing yarn?  No.  Cloth masks won't filter out the tiny dye particles.  

What should I use if I cannot get a N95/P100 mask or respirator?  If you cannot locate a proper dust mask to wear while using dye powder, I recommend sticking with food coloring (or other dyes that are already available in liquid form like Rit Liquid dyes) until you can acquire proper safety equipment.  I know that these masks are harder to find right now due to the pandemic but you shouldn't compromise your safety.  It is possible to create stunning colors on yarn with food coloring!  


Have Fun Dyeing Yarn!

Want some fun tutorials on how to dye yarn?  Check out the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel!  I love to dye with a variety of dye types and techniques to apply color to yarn.  You will find a combination of techniques using food safe dyes and commercial dyes.  

----------------

This post is meant as a resource and personal recommendation for respirator masks. I am an indie dyer not professionally trained on these masks. You should make your final decision for all safety and PPE based up information available on the dye manufacturer websites.  

I am located in the United States of America so these recommendations are based on regulations here.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

2020 Summer Mini Skein Mini Series

The 2020 Summer Mini Skein Mini Series is here!  Each night this week at 8:30 PM EST the newest video will premiere on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel.  I will be in the LIVE chat a ~15 minutes before the premiers start to react, chat, and answer questions.  I hope to see you there! 

You can find all 5 videos in the following playlist:


Just like 2019, this collection of bonus videos will feature dyeing 20 g mini skeins.  All of the yarn is 75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon and in 2020 all of the videos will feature a type of food coloring.  COVID-19 has forced me to shift some of my filming plans, but I am so excited that I was able to produce a fun and informative series.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The 2019 KnitPicks Big Sale - What are the best deals?

The 2019 KnitPicks Big Sale is here!  (Affiliate Link) Up to 60% off 1200+ yarns!  Up to 30% off Tools! 50% off KnitPicks Exclusive Ebooks!  Freebies with minimum purchase! And special daily deals!  Roll this in with Free Shipping on orders over $65+ and you might find yourself placing multiple orders over the next few weeks.  Running 11/4/19 - 11/25/19 at 11:59 PM PST this is a LONG sale with some of the best discounts of the year.



In this post, I will share what I think are some of the best deals of the big sale, keep track of the daily deals, and give some predictions on specials we might see.  Please note that I am a KnitPicks affiliate and the links on this post are all affiliate links.  This means that I earn a commission if you make a purchase through my links.  All predictions below are based on sales from previous years.  I have no inside information about what might take place?

Why is the big sale so spread out?  KnitPicks used to offer these discounts on Black Friday/Cyber Monday... but the traffic ended up breaking the site and it caused a bunch of problems.  I think that by extending the sale it makes it easier for everyone to get the yarn that they want.


Deal of the Day 

Like last year, there will be occasional specials while the Big Sale is running.  This year, they gave us a little sneak peek as to when we can expect these deals to come out.  Historically things go live around 9 AM EST but that could change.  The daily deals are active from 5 AM PST - 11:59 PM PST.
  • 11/5/19 - Free Yarn Reel with $150+ purchase with code "YARNREEL - There is a new limited edition skinny blank of KnitPicks Hawthorne that you can unravel for a self striping colorway.  I would LOVE a bare version of these reels!  
  • 11/7/19 - $1 KnitPicks Digital Patterns!  
  • 11/9/19 - Free Yarn Bowl with $150 Purchase.  Use Code BOWL150
  • 11/12/19 - $1, $3, and $5 dollar deals!  There is a limit of 5 per skein per person, so things might stick around for a few hours.  The sale started at 8 AM EST (5 AM PST).  I maxed out on the $3 Felici Worsted and grabbed a few hanks of some of the other bare yarns.  I also used this as an opportunity to get a free Enamel Pin (use code ENAMELPIN on a $75+ purchase).  I grabbed the cat hugging a ball of yarn.  
  • 11/14/19 - 30% off Knitting Needles.  I LOVE the wooden interchangeable set and that is pretty much the only type of needles I use these days.  The square ones are awesome. 
  • 11/16/19 - Free Skein of Muse Sock yarn with $100+ purchase and the code "MUSESOCK" 
  • 11/19/19 -  20% off Yarn Value Packs with code "VALUE20".  
  • 11/21/19 -  Free Skein of Stroll Tweed Tonal with $100+ purchase with code "TWEEDTONAL"   
  • 11/23/19 - Free Try it needle set with $50+ purchase! http://shrsl.com/1yvgp Use code "TRYITSET" at checkout.  
  • 11/25/19 - 50% off onyx swift, 50% off ball winders (no code, prices as marked so these stack with the other freebies) 

What might these special daily deals include?  Last year we saw $1 patterns, discounts on needle sets and pattern kits, dollar deals day ($1, $3, and $5 skeins.  These go super fast!) Totes, Project Bag, and Pins freebies, Free shipping on $35+ orders.  I have no idea if any of these deals will repeat, but I'm excited to see what they come up with!  

 What are the best bare yarn deals in the Big Sale? 


Historically, KnitPicks has a 20% off (almost) everything coupon around Thanksgiving - after the Big Sale ends.  This is partly so this coupon doesn't stack with mark downs that are up to 60% off.  Therefore, when I am shopping the KnitPicks Big Sale, I look for yarn bases I order regularly that are 40+% off or bases that I order infrequently that are 30% off or more.

Why?  I take advantage of bulk bare yarn discounts where you save 15% off of  bare yarn packs of 20. 20% off after 15% off is a 32% total savings.

Please note: bare yarn markdowns in the big sale do NOT stack with bulk bare yarn purchases.  Compare the prices between the bulk bare yarn and the big sale to see which is the best deal.  

The following list is not in order of importance, but roughly by discount amount.

  • Stroll Sock Blanks (30% Off) - These usually retail for $19.99 and at 30% off that is a big savings.  I prefer KnitPicks blanks to other similar ones because I find they don't start to unravel during the washing process.  I will be picking some up in this sale.  
  • Bare Surefoot Sock Yarn (50% off) - 40% Superwash Wool, 40% Super Kid Mohair, 20% Polyamide (Nylon), I'm not sure why this yarn doesn't get more attention.  I know I'll grab a few skeins at this price! 
  • Bare SuperSilk (60% Off) - 52% Superwash Wool, 48% Mulberry Silk, this bulky single ply yarn is beautiful.  Too bad it is normally so expensive, but the sale price is a great deal. 
  • Bare Capra DK (50% off) - 85% Merino Wool, 15% Cashmere
  • Bare Gloss DK (50% off) - 70% Merino, 30% Silk
  • Bare Biggo (50% off) - 50% Superwash Merino Wool, 50% Nylon  I love this bulky yarn so much!  It is chunky and dyes up beautifully.  I love it so much that I will stock up other pastel colors when they are on sale.
  • Alaina - Simply Alpaca Aran/Heavy Worsted (100% Superfine Alpaca) 40% off.  This yarn is so super soft but I haven't dyed it yet.  I bought it in a bunch of natural neutral colors last year and they looked so good on their own I couldn't bring myself to dye them.  Maybe now I'll take the plunge since I just popped some more of this into my cart.  
  • Bare Lindy Chain (30% off) - A linen/cotton blend, this yarn is light and airy.  
  • Bare Rustic Wool (40% off) - I forgot how I loved this single ply 100% Superwash Wool fingering weight yarn!  I only had one skein in the past but will need to pick up a few more.  
  • Bare Swish Fingering (40% off) - This reminds me that I have to do my "old" versus "new" swish fingering comparison.  The newer one I got is MUCH softer and is labeled as superwash merino versus superwash wool from the original.  
  • Bare Hawthorne (30% off) - This is one of the yarn bases that I use the most.  At 30% off I won't pick it up now since I have a healthy stash, but I recommend picking up a few skeins if you've never tried dyeing it. 
  • Bare Hare Fingering (40% off) 80% Merino / 20% Angora.  
  • Bare Cotton Boucle (30% off) - this 100% cotton yarn made the list because I absolutely love this yarn base.  
  • Bare Capretta (40% off) - 80% Fine Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon This is the older version of the yarn, it now comes in a superwash version.  
  • Bare Alpaca-Merino Boucle (40% off) - this is a fun yarn, but I don't knit with loopy boucle yarns very much.  Should I grab some more? 
  • Bare Muse (40% off) - A single ply superwash merino Aran weight yarn... this one is yummy and I have yet to dye it.  
  • Bare Galileo (40% off) 50% Merino Wool, 50% Viscose from Bamboo Another of my favorites!
  • Bare Paragon (40% off) - this yarn has a stunning drape.  50% Fine Merino (20.5mic), 25% Baby Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk
  • Bare Gloss Fingering weight yarn. (40% off) 70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk
  • Bare Cadena Yarn (30% off) - I often overlook this one, but the one time I've dyed it the results were DREAMY! 
  • Gloss Roving  (30% off) - 70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk
  • Stroll Roving (30% off) - 75% Superwash Merino / 25% Nylon

The above list only includes yarn that is listed as "bare" - there are likely awesome discounted pastel colors that you can overdye, too.

First draft of my cart from the big sale.  Expect an unboxing as soon as it arrives!  I do have a few non-sale items in my cart, but these are things that I need anyway.  

What can I say?  I do love KnitPicks Bare yarns!


What are my KnitPicks Sale predictions for the rest of the year?  


I do not have any inside information, I can only speak on patterns from previous years.  I anticipate a 20% off everything coupon around Thanksgiving itself.  If a yarn you use a lot is on sale now and is low stock, don't expect that it will be restocked in time for this sale.  Usually in December there might be a buy more and save type coupon (eg $20 off of $100+.)

20% off KnitPicks coupons are rare and fantastic.  The last time there was a 20% off everything sale was July 2019.  As for bare yarn specific sales - the sale yarn of the month was bare yarn (so 20% off markdown) in April 2019 and December 2017 so I'm not expecting this to happen again before 2020.

Based on these patterns, I recommend on stocking up on your most used bases that are more than 40% off now during the big sale and holding out for others that you buy in bulk anyway.  However, don't wait too long if you're running low!  Waiting for restocks can be super hard.

UPDATE: In 2019, KnitPicks was 25% site wide for Black Friday.  20% off Sitewide Sat-Monday which they extended through Wednesday 12/4/19.  They sure surprised me with that 25% off coupon! 

Watch the unboxing replay!

Last night I unboxed a large KnitPicks order and chatted about my predictions and strategies.  Enjoy!


I am a KnitPicks Affiliate which means that I earn commission for sales made through my links.  I made all of the recommendations and product selections on my own and purchased them myself.  I have no inside information on the KnitPicks sale and my predictions are based on knowledge of previous years.  

Saturday, September 14, 2019

2019 ChemKnits Chanukah Sampler Prorders are Open!


Preorders for the 2019 ChemKnits Chanukah Yarn Samplers are now available in the ChemKnitsCreations Etsy Shop!  Every night of Chanukah (Starting 12/22/19), I will release a new yarn dyeing video that will correspond to one of the wrapped 10 g miniskeins in the samplers. You can touch, inspect up close, swatch, and knit with the yarn.  Each night will feature a different dyeing technique.  

Check out the listing for full details, but I wanted to go through some of the features of these samplers here on the ChemKnits blog.  


The videos will all be available on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel through the 2019 Chanukah Special PlaylistThe playlist is currently empty, but it will fill up once the series starts.  
The first night of Chanukah is Dec 22, 2019 and the last night is Dec 30, 2018.  I will release each dyeing video (1-8) after sunset EST on the corresponding night of Chanukah.  There will also be some bonus videos that will be released after night 8. All of the yarn dyeing tutorial videos will be publicly available on the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel.  


Sampler Options

There are a few different options for the Chanukah Samplers.  Choose between DK weight and Fingering weight yarn.  All of the yarn in the sampler is 75% Superwash Merino / 25% Nylon (DK 245 yards / 100 g; Fingering 463 yards / 100 g).  You can choose between a full 8 night sampler (100 g total) or a half 4 night sampler (40 g total) in either of the yarn bases.  

4 Night Sampler - 4 wrapped miniskeins that correspond to either nights 1-4 or 5-8 of Chanukah. All wrapped packages will be labeled with the date to open them.  First Class Shipping within the US is included in the sampler price.  Why provide a half sampler?  Samplers can get expensive, and I wanted to provide an option for people who wanted to receive a sampler but couldn't justify purchasing the full sampler.  

8 Night Sampler - 8-10 wrapped miniskeins that correspond to nights 1-8 of the Chanukah Special.  There will be bonus miniskeins that feature "Leave No Dye Behind" yarn created as part of the series.  Some of these may be featured in bonus videos that will take place the week of Chanukah.  8 Night samplers also include some fun extras in addition to the yarn itself.  First Class Shipping within the US is included in the sampler price.  


When will the samplers ship?

The 2019 Chanukah Samplers will ship in mid-late November so they can arrive by the first night of Chanukah.  International Buyers - I cannot guarantee the shipping time since customs processing times can vary even if you upgrade to priority shipping.  

Are there any limited edition colorways? 

Yes!  If you purchase a sampler, you can add on a full skein (or multiple) of a limited edition 2019 Chanukah Yarn Colorway! (See the separate Etsy listing for full details.) Both options will include superwash wool (breed TBD) and maybe nylon.  The Sparkle Yarn will also include either Stellina or Lurex to give it some extra shine.  Each yarn base will feature a different colorway.  You are welcome to order multiple of either/both, and I will do my best to match dye lots.  First Class shipping is included in the price of the add-on skeins.


FAQ's

Do I need to be Jewish to purchase the sampler?
No! You don't need to be Jewish to celebrate Chanukah with me. I invite all of you to celebrate with me and my family.  Last year I made a little video sharing some of my family's Chanukah Traditions.  If people are interested, I can create another one this year.  We are a multi-faith family, so we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas in our home.  

Can all of the minis be used in one project?  Is this a fade set?  
All of the miniskeins will feature the same 75% Superwash Merino / 25% Nylon yarn base in either Fingering Weight or DK weight.  These can easily be combined in one project, however they are not being dyed with a specific fade or colorwork project in mind.  There will be a variety of dye techniques on each of the minis ranging from speckles, semi solids, and more.  

What kinds of techniques will you use?  What kinds of dye? 
The videos will feature both food coloring and commercial dyes (acid dyes and maybe some others.)  As for the techniques... that is a surprise!  #Nospoilers

Can I order more than one sampler? 
Yes!  There will definitely be some overlap in the colors, but there could be some differences on some nights.  

Can I order two 4-Night samplers to get a full one? 
No.  If the 8-night sampler is sold out in the yarn base you want, but there are some 4-night samplers available, DM me and I can combine it for you.  4-Night samplers have 40 g of yarn, the 8 night samplers have 100 g of yarn plus some fun extras.  

You are welcome to order multiple 4-Night samplers, but you could receive multiple nights 1-4 etc.  

Can you accommodate color preferences? 
Unfortunately, no.  All of the colors will be a surprise.  There might be some variation between different samplers depending on the type of technique that I used.  But it is completely random which miniskeins end up in which box.  

Are there other terms and conditions?
Yes - please see the 2019 Chanukah Sampler listing for full details.  


Friday, July 19, 2019

The Best Tools & Equipment for Dyeing Yarn at Home

What do you need to dye yarn?  Beyond yarn and dye, of course.  There are so many different ways to apply color and heat to your yarn!  In my yarn dyeing videos, I talk a lot about the dyes and yarn that I use for each project.  I usually include links to other supplies in the video descriptions, but I thought it would be helpful to share a list of my favorite equipment and other supplies that come in handy for yarn dyeing adventures.

This post contains affiliate links to KnitPicks, DyerSupplier, and Amazon, which means I may earn a commission on items purchased through these links. I purchased all of the items myself unless otherwise noted. 

Equipment

When you start exploring commercial dyes, you will want to have dedicated dye pans and utensils. I bought my equipment new, but you can usually find large pots at second hand stores.  Ideally look for pots that are stainless steel or enamel.   
  • Multi Pot - I use the SALT® 8 qt. Stainless Steel 4-Piece Multi-Cooker from Bed Bath &Beyond with a steamer basket and Pasta Insert as the dedicated dye pot in many of my videos. I use this pot both for immersion and steaming techniques. I own both the 8 qt and 12 qt versions of this pot.  The 8 qt steamer basket can hold ~200 g of yarn easily but you can fit a lot more in the pasta insert.  I have also used canning pots that have a wire rack for steaming yarn on the stovetop.  
  • Rectangular Steam Pan - The 4" Deep Full Size Stainless Steel Steam Pan measures 20.75" x 12.75" x 4" and can fit across two burners on my gas stove top.  I use this for low immersion dyeing and speckling but you can also fit enough water in the pan for some deeper immersion techniques.  There is plenty of space to lay out the yarn in these pans and I typically use them to dye 100-300 g of yarn at a time.  I use the exact pan I linked from Amazon, but you can also find these at restaurant supply stores. 


Personal Safety Equipment

Safety is super important. When you use commercial dyes, you want to make sure that you are working with only dedicated dye equipment that isn't used for food.  
  • Gloves - My favorite gloves to use are the Kimberly Clark Purple Nitrile Exam Gloves.  These are the exact same gloves that I used while I was working on my PhD.  I wear gloves almost at all times to prevent staining my skin.  
  • Safety Goggles - Eye protections is important!  You can find these in many places.  I buy a lot of my other safety equipment from Dharma Trading Company
  • Dust Mask - I started out wearing NIOSH approved N95 dust masks that have a metal bridge on the nose so you can fit it to your face.  You want some kind of barrier when dealing with powdered dyes to avoid inhaling any powders.  I wear some kind of mask when I'm dealing with any type of powders.  
  • Respirator - I upgraded my dust mask to a Deluxe Rubber Respirator for more heavy duty protection.  These have replaceable NIOSH P100 Particulate Filters and is easy to fit tightly and securely.  There are vapor cartridge sets that you can include in there, but I don't currently use those.  


My Favorite Tools 

As you dye more yarn, you will develop preferences for how you like to measure and apply dye to your yarn.  The following are some of the tools that I reach for over and over again.  
  • Kitchen Scale - I currently use a 500g - 0.01 g mini pocket food scale which overall I have been happy with.  I wish that it were a bit more sensitive for when I'm adding dye volumes smaller than 0.5 g, but overall it is great for weighing everything from dyes to packages that I need to ship out.  (The scale is small, so I place a bowl on it for weighing larger items.) I love to weigh yarn before and after a project so I have accurate information about the yardage in a project.  
  • Re-usable Nylon Zip Ties - Not only do these reusable 12" nylon zip ties help prevent tangling through the dyeing process by acting as a separate tie, they are rigid and are a really easy way to pick up and flip the yarn around during the dyeing process.  The nylon will take up some color from acid dyes and food coloring, but I still reuse them for multiple projects.  
  • Squeeze bottles - I use squeeze bottles both for applying dye in handpainting techniques, or for storing dyestocks.  Dharma Trading company sells 2- 32 oz squeeze bottles that I have been really happy with.  I also will save the bottles from Tulip One Step Tie Dye kits and use those 4 oz bottles in many of my videos.   
  • Tongs - a good set of silicone tongs are SO HELPFUL!  I use tongs all the time to remove yarn from the dyepot when it is still too hot for me to touch with my hands. I cannot locate the exact brand that I use, but I went for some that are silicone versus hard plastic or metal so I could avoid snagging the yarn.  
  • Miscellaneous spoons/utensils - I like to have various slotted spoons around for helping to push yarn into the dyepot and move things around.  I have a selection of silicone slotted utensils that are dedicated for dye projects only.   I like to buy utensils that are a completely different color than what I use for cooking so there is never any confusion.  
  • Dedicated Dye Measuring Cups and Spoons  - I like to find spoons that also indicate the number of mL in each tsp and Tbsp.  I bought a few sets at a local Dollar store.  
  • Syringes - Syringes are great for measuring out small volumes of dye or applying dye to fiber.  Like a squirt bottle, you can squirt the dye on top (but in a more measured capacity) or you can even inject the dye into the fiber directly.  I have a collection of 3 mL - 50 mL syringes that are super easy to wash and reuse.  
  • Graduated Cylinders - I have a PhD in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and I still love bring my science background into dyeing.  I used 10 mL - 100 mL graduated cylinders for accurate volume measurements when mixing colors.  The set I purchased came with a lot of graduated beakers which also come in handy for mixing.  
  • Squeeze Bottles - I used a variety of squeeze bottles for applying dye to yarn and storing dye stocks.  Dharma Trading Company carries squeeze bottles in a variety of sizes and I have been very happy with the quality.  
  • Shower Curtain Liner - These tend to be larger than a lot of table cloths, and I like to use a cheap one as reusable protection for my kitchen counter top. After dyeing, I will wipe it down and reuse it multiple times.  I currently am using the Innaren Shower Curtain from Ikea. 

Miscellaneous Tools & Equipment


I have some tools that are super handy to have, but are not necessary to start out dyeing yarn.  In this list, you can find some more expensive pieces of equipment and some cheaper alternatives.  
  • Salad Spinner - Want your yarn to dry a bit faster?  You can use a salad spinner to spin out the excess water before you hang up yarn to dry.  
  • Nina Soft Spin Dryer - If you dye a lot of yarn, a spin dryer can make a HUGE difference to your dyeing process.  Laundry Alternative sent me this spin dryer for free to test out and review. The device is about the size of a small trash can, but it permanently lives in my kitchen.  Spinning out the excess water after dyeing yarn speeds up the drying process so much.  This is an item that I wasn't sure that I needed, but now that I have it I wouldn't want to work without it.  It appears that the Nina Soft Dryer is no longer being sold, but there are other similar models out there that I haven't tested.  
  • Frost Drying Rack - I absolutely love the FROST drying rack from Ikea.  I keep this rack set up in a bath tub to collect drips (although now with the spin dryer my yarn doesn't drip anymore so I could move it to another location.) I like to lay yarn over two rungs to allow for air flow and you can fit a ton of yarn on this rack.  
  • Ball Winder - I am on my second KnitPicks Ball Winder in 10 years.  (My kids managed to break the first one.)  I find it really easy to use, and it is great for getting the perfect yarn cake for some yarn cake dyeing projects.  
  • Yarn Swift - I am not sure where my yarn swift is from, but I plan to upgrade mine at some point.  The umbrella swift is similar to this KnitPicks one and is super useful to avoid tangling your skeins when you're ready to start knitting with them.  
  • PVC Pipe Niddy Noddy - A niddy noddy is a tool for reskeining yarn.  I use mine mostly for unraveling sock blanks, reskeining gradients, and making miniskeins.  The PVC pipe can get wet, and I can change the size of the skein I create really easily.  I even used mine to create a 12 ft skein for some self striping yarn! 
  • Electric Motorized Skein Winder - This is a true luxury item.  If you find yourself doing a lot of resekeining or prefer to create your 100 g hanks from cones, an automated skein winder can become your new assistant.  The one I purchased has a counter so I can easily create miniskeins without having to manually count wraps.  The skein winder is a huge time saver, and my shoulder also really appreciates the break.  This is NOT something that everyone needs, but I get a lot of questions about mine so I wanted to include it on the list.  

Yarn & Dye

Most of the yarn I dye comes from KnitPicks and DyerSupplier (I am an affiliate with both companies.  There are a number of reviews of their yarn bases on my YouTube channel.)  I have created a list of multiple bare yarn suppliers so you can check out some of the most popular ones for yourself.  

I use a lot of different types of dye in my videos.  For commercial dyes, my favorites are Jacquard and Dharma Acid Dyes.  My favorite food coloring is the Wilton Color Right Performance Color System.  Maybe at some point I will do a whole post talking about the different dyes I use in my projects.  

Different Dyeing Techniques

There are so many different ways to apply color to yarn.  Check out the ChemKnits Tutorials YouTube Channel for hundreds of dyeing videos using a variety of dye types and yarn bases.  

Have Fun!

As long as you have a heat source, a pot, some dye, and some yarn, you can get started on your own color adventures.  I really hope that this list will help you get started on your own dyeing adventures.  I try to always include links to the materials I use in my videos, but I felt it was time to create a more comprehensive list of everything I use when I'm dyeing yarn.  What are your favorite tools to use when dyeing yarn?


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This post contains affiliate links to Amazon, KnitPicks, and Dyer Supplier, which means that the links contain a tracking code and I earn a commission on items purchased after clicking on my link.  Dyer Supplier has sent me multiple of their yarn bases to review and share.  Unless otherwise indicated, I have purchased the materials, equipment, and dyes myself.  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Can you dye yarn with Skittles Candy?


You thought I was done with rainbows for a while?  Well Paradise Fibers had other ideas!  In the July 2019 Fiber of the Month Club Box they gave my "Dyeing Yarn with Leftover Halloween Candy" a shout out in the newsletter:


I have dyed a LOT of yarn with candy, but I haven't used skittles since the original video back in November 2017.  Dyeing with candy is very similar to dyeing with food coloring.  However, since it takes a while for the artificial food coloring in the candy to dissolve, you can get some beautiful pockets of color in a very fun and random fashion.  


Here are some  of my tips and recommendations for dyeing yarn with candy:
  1. You need a protein based yarn.  Wool, Alpaca, Silk, and Cashmere are all protein based fibers.  Plant based fibers are cellulose based and won't absorb food coloring in the same way.  Blends will work great, as long as there is some protein fiber content in there.  
  2. Waxy candy (like Skittles) can leave residue on fiber.  I prefer to use more chalky candys like Sweetarts and Candy Hearts since the washing is significantly easier in the end.
  3. Dyeing with candy requires a lot of washing.  I recommend spinning your fiber into yarn before dyeing it with candy.  I will remove the fiber directly from the warm dyebath into a warm rinse bath to help keep any of the dissolved candy from solidifying on the fiber.  
  4. With Skittles, remove the colorless insides as soon as the colorful outer shell has dissolved.  There is no food coloring on the inside of Skittles so you can save yourself some washing later on by picking out the candy from your dyebath. 
  5. Start small. If you're feeling nervous, start with a miniskein or just a few grams of fiber to see if you like the effect.  You can always scale up and dye more fiber later! 

After the Paradise Fibers shout out, I decided to try dyeing some fiber and yarn with just Skittles in a YouTube livestream since I had never tried this candy on its own before.  I did three different tests 8 g of the 50/50 Cashmere / Rose Fiber from Paradise Fibers, 100 g of KnitPicks Hawthorne High Twist Sock Yarn (80% Superwash Peruvian Highland Wool/ 20% Polyamide), and 100 g of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Roving (100% Peruvian Highland Wool). 

50/50 Rose /Cashmere Fiber
I was very conservative on the luxury rose/cashmere fiber.  I used the small packet of skittles that came in the kit plus a couple more pieces of candy.  As soon as the outer shell dissolved, I removed the inner portion and transferred the fiber into some warm tap water to help rinse out all of the dissolved candy.  


Hawthorne Yarn (left) WOTA Roving (Right) before and after the candy dissolved.  

With the superwash yarn and the wool roving, I decided to take a greater risk.  I dumped a lot of skittles on top of the fiber and let it dissolve completely.  I washed the fiber thoroughly, but I was much more gentle on the roving than I was on the sock yarn.  The Rose/Cashmere fiber came out really beautiful - I even spun it in the recap!  The yarn turned out really well, too.  The wool roving... it is definitely waxy.  I was hesitant to wash it aggressively because I didn't want to felt the fiber.  I think that after I spin the roving I will try washing it in hot water to see if I can get the wax to melt back off.  The yarn still won't be superwash, but it will be safer than washing the unspun fiber aggressively.  


Can you dye yarn with Skittles?  100% yes!  It is so much fun... and it smells really good, too.  My official recommendation is to do this technique on yarn versus unspun fiber, but I have a feeling that I'm going to play around with my favorite candy hearts on some roving in the coming months. 

Watch the livestream recap to learn more about the whole project:



Dyeing aside, the Rose/Cashmere fiber is a stunning blend.  The yarn was silky and it practically spun itself.  I cannot wait to spin up the rest of the fiber that came in the Fiber of the Month Club box.  Part of me is debating dyeing the rest (with acid or fiber reactive dyes) or leaving it in its natural color.  I truly cannot decide!  

Paradise Fibers put a beautiful box together each month for the Fiber of the Month Club. (Affiliate Link)  In addition to the rainbow dyeing project, this Wizard of Oz themed box has a rainbow of Corriedale fiber, a yellow brick road (Lego) stitch marker, and the "Wizard of Ewez" vinyl sticker.  Each month Paradise Fibers makes me smile with the creativity and care they put into these packages.  I truly look forward to them because I cannot wait to see what they will come up with for next month!


I'm not sure if there are any more July 2019 Fiber of the Month Club boxes left, but it never hurts to reach out to Paradise Fibers to ask! 

If you missed the unboxing where I first saw the newsletter, you really want to watch the replay (My reaction to the shoutout is at 13:18):

 

Thank you so much, Paradise Fibers, for the shout out!

This post is not sponsored.  Paradise Fibers sends me their Fiber of the Month Club for free each month to unbox and review.  I am a member of their affiliate program which means that I earn commission on purchased made after clicking on my link.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.