So... St. Patrick spent a lot of time yesterday in and out of the dye pot. I used the entire bottle of black food coloring (3 cycles of dyeing).
I was feeling pretty good about it last night, the color was quite lovely (a rich brown color that allowed the cables to still pop), it didn't felt during the dyeing process (my biggest concern to be honest) and it looked like the color was evenly dyed.
This morning I went and looked at the drying sweater and let's just say: waste of time. I still have the color bandings that I had before, but instead of it being a sage heather, they're now chocolate brown.
I'm not sure why... but either the fiber content is slightly different in these sections (as I mentioned before, it's not per skein, some of my bandings are too narrow for them to have happened when I added a new skein) or it the food coloring just isn't "strong" enough to even out the color. The yarn is a wool/mohair blend, so I'm wondering if the percentage is a little different in these sections, causing the dye to absorb differently.
I really only have one more option: acid dyes. I am not set up to do use acid dyes (I prefer the food grade dyes as they're not as toxic and I can use my kitchen equipment), so I wash my hands of trying to "fix" this project.
Matt still loves the sweater, and likes the new color, so he'll wear it (and I'll try not to be annoyed every time he wears it). It's just disappointing to have such a beautifully cabled sweater (one of the more complex, time consuming cabled patterns I've done) and to be mildly irritated with it.
As an added on note, when I told Matt that I had ordered more of the yarn he was very surprised. "You had such issues with it", but the yarn is beautiful and as long as I know to alternate skeins, I should end up with a lovely sweater for him (I'm pretty sure it will be something basic/classic: EZ's seamless hybrid is where I'm leaning).
I'll get Matt to model the new chocolate brown St. Patrick when it's dry (did I mention wool/mohair/heavily cabled... so it probably will be on Monday). Today is not a good day for photographs (weather or emotionally).