Bad title rip-off and kind of bad dyeing, too.
Here are the jars of dye as they appeared on Sunday. The difference in color saturation was significant, especially between the dye using distilled water and the dye using unsoftened water.
On Sunday, I used the distilled water dye. I took the plastic wrap off of the gallon jar I was using and shoved just over 2 ounces of Paton's Classic Merino (cream) in and let it sit for about 40 minutes or so. When I did this a year ago, I had too much yarn for the amount of dye and the color was sucked up immediately. That was not the case here, the ammonia/water never went entirely clear. The color you see above (depending on your monitor) is fairly close to the color of the yarn and there are some other views in Flickr. The yarn came out quite mottled -- the jar was too small to allow for even distribution -- but over the last few days the color has been evening out.
On Monday I worked on the dye using my parent's (softened, but very sulphuric) water. This time I pour the stuff into a larger bucket (appropriately, a cat litter bucket, if you must know) and the color is more evenly distributed. It's maybe a little lighter, but essentially the same color.
The other dye, using our own unsoftened well water, has seemed too light to use. Tuesday night I poured some of it off and added more ammonia. That seems to have brought out more blue from the pennies. I dye with it this weekend. If you are thinking about doing this, let me offer one piece of advice: do it outside. The smell. My god.
While playing with the penny dye, I've also been fooling around Procion dyes. After talking to Stef the other night, it turns out I've been using an unorthodox method (read, my own Dumbass-Instruction-Melding Method). In any case, I've managed to get a nice saturation, and the colors, while somewhat unexpected, are pretty enough. I don't really intend to get serious about dyeing, so I will probably make a couple of alterations to my dumbass method (to cut down on dye waste) and continue. To what end, you ask? I don't know. Knitting avoidance?