1. Dyeing one kilo at a time is So. Much. Easier.
It takes nearly twice as long, but it was so much easier to spread out each hank into thinner layers so the dye penetrated better. I didn't have to go over the same areas a dozen times to make sure there weren't any white spots... more like 4 or 5 times. Vast improvement. And I was even able to lift the bundles of yarn into the steamer pot all by myself like a grown-up.
2. Going full-on Dexter with the plastic wrap is a good thing.
I covered my dye table in plastic wrap like I was about to murder somebody on it.
Glad Wrap - the choice of dyers and serial killers everywhere.
There were hardly any leaks at all, and my garage floor was mostly clean at the end of the day which was pretty awesome. Plus I feel like the yarn retained the heat from the steam bath better without gaps for the air to get through, which means I got better dye adhesion and less bleeding during the final rinse.
3. Using a fan cuts drying time in half.
Probably the longest part of the dye process - and the most frustrating for me - is waiting for the hanks to dry after rinsing out the excess dye. Last time it took the better part of week. This time, the weather is super warm and I have a strong fan aimed at the yarn. The first hank, which I dyed on Tuesday, is almost totally dry and the second, which I dyed yesterday, is well on its way, too. Hopefully they'll both be completely dry before I pack them up for the trip to SF (it's going to be a working vacation no matter what, but packing damp yarn is just icky).
4. Speaking of warm weather, my garage gets super hot.
About halfway through dyeing the first kilo, I started to get super dizzy and short of breath. I couldn't quite figure out why until I wiped some sweat out of my eyes and realized it was ridiculously hot in my garage. I'm really bad at detecting temperature, as I nearly always feel cold, so the symptoms of overheating always take me by surprise. I turned on a fan and aimed it at the dye area and that helped a bit, but I also had to remind myself to take several water breaks. I don't think anyone wants me passing out and face-planting into a wet pile of yarn.
5. 1-inch brushes suck.
I apply the dye using a foam brush, and right now I'm working with ones that are 1 inch wide. I wind my kilos into 8 foot circumference skeins and they're usually close to a foot wide and a couple inches deep. I need to rethink my brush strategy.