Candy + Bagel

Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung


Other Obsessions: Dyeing Yarns

Other ObsessionsJean ChungComment

As soon as I was comfortable enough to knit a sweater in a week, I started experimenting with overdyeing. Back then, all I could afford on a law student's budget was big box store yarns, mostly acrylic, but I did get a lot of wool-ease, which has SOME wool in it. Even Patons Classic Wool was pricey for me, and they didn't have that many color selections yet.

Over the years, I started getting fancier with dyeing, especially when I started spinning. I have a good collection of food dyes now, and have a huge thing of citric acid, as well as some other fabric dyes I've collected from LA Fashion District.

The other day, I was looking at my stash, thinking about what to make next for my #DestashChallenge, I found 2 skeins of yarns that I once loved but wasn't loving anymore. 

Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, "Mica"

Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, "Mica"


I decided it was time to overdye. I wanted this to be a very saturated colorway, since the original color was so subtle. 

After overdyeing in red and orange in one pot, blue and black in another pot.

After overdyeing in red and orange in one pot, blue and black in another pot.

I love the result! I can see very simple socks out of this yarn, Stockinette foot with some kind of textured stitch pattern leg.

Cascade Heritage Silk, in "Citron"

Cascade Heritage Silk, in "Citron"

The next one I tackled was this skein of Cascade Heritage Silk yarn from Purlescence Yarns in Sunnyvale.

I grew up in Cupertino, a small town now well known to Apple fans (since the default city on all Apple products is Cupertino), so I go back to the Bay Area quite often. I had to go on a business trip to Cupertino one day few years ago, and I literally had 2 hours before I had to be at the airport. I took a detour to Sunnyvale so that I could check out Purlescence's newly renovated store. 

By the way, this was also the day I saw Jasmin and Gigi of Knitmoregirls Podcast at the store. I was incredibly shy back then (still kind of am) and didn't have enough time to introduce myself that day but I was thoroughly starstruck, having been a long time listener :) 

Anyway, I picked up this Heritage Silk yarn, because I had just knitted TWO Citron Shawlette by Hilary Smith Callis, and wanted to make the third one in this color. 

Then I found out that I had a lot of other patterns in my Ravelry queue and never ended up getting to another Citron.

So that one turned into a orange and green with a hint of brown:

This right now is becoming Hermoine's Everyday Socks

I'm really in love with the color variation and the textured stitches on these socks. I have a feeling I'm going to make a lot of Hermoine socks in the future. 

So someone asked me on Instagram what kind of dyes I use, so I'll give a brief tutorial here:

1) I use separate pots for dyeing purposes and mark them "DO NOT USE" with permanent markers all over the pots. In the US, food colors are acceptable for consumption but in many other countries, they are not. I'm thinking, there must be a reason. Besides, I don't know whether the chemical process of dyeing fiber in a pot could potentially be harmful. So just to be on the safe side, I buy cheap pots from 99 cent stores and such and use those for dyeing.

2) Pour some citric acid in the pot, with cold tap water, and soak the fiber in it. Put it on the stove.

3) On medium heat, slowly "cook" the fiber. Do not agitate.

4) While the pot is getting hot, I prepare the dyes. I mix and experiment with food colors in a plastic cup, mix in citric acid, and fill the cup with tap water.

5) I slowly add this color mix to the pot.

6) Dyeing happens when there's heat and citric acid/vinegar. As soon as I start seeing bubbles forming from the heat, I turn off the heat. Let everything sit for 10~15 minutes.

7) I check the water. If the colors are all soaked up in the yarn/fiber, the water will look almost clear. 

8) I pour the water out in the sink, and gently move the fiber into a mesh basket  to coolThis may take up to an hour. 

9) If the fiber feels cool, I squeeze out the water as much as possible by putting the fiber in a big towel, gently roll up the towel with the fiber in it, and squeeze the towel.

10) Let dry in shade. California dry weather definitely helps.

11) When it's dry, skein it and then take beautiful photos for Instagram and Facebook :)

WIPs & FOs: "Christmas-y" Socks and Stripey Socks.. and socks.. and socks..

WIPs & FOsJean Chung4 Comments
Marty's "Christmas-y" Socks

Marty's "Christmas-y" Socks

Two FOs last week! 

Marty's Christmas Socks

I've never made my husband Christmas knits before. His mom is Buddhist and his dad is Christian.. Marty is interested in both religion equally, and is respectful of both. I also respect his culture and upbringing so we always treat Christmas as a regular holiday, instead of religious holiday.

This year, I just found this yarn in my stash during my destashchallenge planning, and decided to make him a pair of Christmas-y socks, just because. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal, and since I wasn't really doing any holiday knitting (#Grinch-A-Long!) I didn't feel pressured to finish these by Christmas or anything.

The pattern I used was Vanilla Latte again, but I guess I only used the stitch pattern. Because I wanted to use afterthought heel on these, I modified the pattern to fit his feet and improvised a lot. 

Yarn: Yarn Love Amy March Fingering 100% SW Merino, 2-ply sock yarn; Knit Picks Stroll, 75% SW Merino 25% Nylon. 

Needles: US 1 (my newfound love Knitter's Pride DPNs!)

Thoughts: With a 2-ply yarn, I think I should've gone down a size. These are very soft and squishy but I'm afraid they might not last long. Hopefully Knit Picks toes and heels will help.

My Stripey Socks

I finally finished my Stripey socks out of Patons Kroy Sock yarn. 

My stripey socks

My stripey socks

So these were obviously very easy to knit. The only thing I messed up was that one night, Marty and I were going to some event in LA, and I wanted to knit on these socks in the car. But it has been getting dark earlier and earlier these days, and I didn't see that one stitch was actually split, so I made a stitch only on one ply. I didn't see it until I was done with the toe.

So instead of ripping it out, I did a duplicate stitch on that one stitch. Fortunately it wasn't on the underside of the sock, so the duplicate stitch wouldn't bother me when I walk.


The first WIP project is Marty's vest, in Cascade 220 (Worsted). I cast this on a LONG time ago, finished the Back, and let it hibernate. Fortunately, like the Sportweight one, I found notes I took while knitting the Back, so I was able to cast on the Front with no problem.

WIP: Marty's Worsted weight vest in Cascade 220 - Black

WIP: Marty's Worsted weight vest in Cascade 220 - Black

The second WIP is my Hermoine's Everyday Socks, out of my own handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

WIP: My Hermoine's Everyday Socks, out of my handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

WIP: My Hermoine's Everyday Socks, out of my handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

Lastly, another sock project!

WIP: My Christmas socks, out of Shibui Sock and Cascade Heritage black leftover.

WIP: My Christmas socks, out of Shibui Sock and Cascade Heritage black leftover.

These are just going to be Vanilla Socks, with black contrasting toes, heels, and cuffs, except I think I'm going to try short-row heel on these instead of afterthought heel.

Alright. That's it! Lots of sock project this week again, hopefully I'll have more FOs next week! 



Tour de Fleece 2013 - Dyeing more roving

Jean Chung2 Comments

DSC03964 I have a 2-wk trial and lots of deadlines coming up and sometimes don't have enough energy to spin at the end of the day. Like last weekend. I had a long (more like a full-day) meeting on Saturday so on Sunday, I spent few hours dyeing some rovings.


DSC03967 DSC03968

I just wanted some soft colors that I could spin and ply together. I only dye with 4 dye colors. I mix and match and control the absorption


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Soft Cotton Candy? hehe Milkshake Colorway

DSC03972 DSC03974 DSC03976Sour green apple color!


Both are really yummy colors right? I'm so happy how the colors turned out. There's that piece of me that gets so satisfied when I pet the colors that totally get me.