I had bought some of Miss Babs YOWZA yarn at Stitches West in a beautiful burgundy color and a coordinating variegated yarn for a sweater that I had in mind. Now, I've used Miss Babs yarn before WITHOUT any problems previously, but I'd never purchased any of her red colorways.
I dutifully made a swatch for my sweater. I washed and blocked the little swatch (perhaps 3x5 inches), which bled a little tiny bit, but nothing major. So, I started my sweater.
At the same time, I started a much bigger "swatch" in the form of a slouchy hat, because I wanted to make sure that the coordinating color worked well, and I wanted to see how many rows of the coordinating color I wanted to use as "stripes" for the overall sweater. I wanted to finish the hat before I got to the stripes of the sweater.
I proceeded to wash and block the hat; only to discover that the initial washing left the water a deep dark blood red....and completely muddied the beautiful colors of the coordinating stripes! The "white" parts of the variegated yarn are now a slight pink. And the red yarn has a slightly washed out look to it. :-(
(It's hard to tell from the photo, but the colors are definitely a lot more muddied after it got washed)
The water was so filled with red dye that it stained my palms red. I used a paper towel to wipe up some spilled water, and it turned pink.
I can't imagine what this would do to my beautiful sweater once I wash it! Luckily, I'm only about 1/4th of the way through the sweater, so I figure I can do a citric acid soak with the incomplete sweater, the remained of the burgundy yarn, and the coordinating color. However, I'm going to have to skein up the balls of the YOWZA! yarn first, which is a HUGE ball.
I'm glad I figured this out before I got too far into the sweater. It's going to take me a bit longer to finish since I have to do these intermediary steps, but I'm glad I discovered this now. I had heard that reds were hard dyes to set, but I'm very surprised at how much dye came out in the washing!
I still love Miss Babs yarn, but I'm so very disappointed in this colorway.
Lesson learned -- treat the yarn BEFORE you start knitting.