I decided to give them a wash and let them block flat before I took a picture for the blog. Well, I sure wish I had taken the picture first because after that decision, it all turned into a bit of a disaster. I washed them in a bowl of warm water with a little bit of liquid soap for delicates in them. My first inkling of doom was when the mittens went abruptly floppy and loose as they became wet in the water. Then the water turned a vivid pink. And stayed a vivid pink through multiple rinses. And the mittens just grew and grew and became floppy and huge.
It was as if the yarn had just lost all of its cling and bounce, and become floppy and stretched out. After about 10 or 12 rinses, the water was still very pink, so I tried adding a small amount of malt vinegar to the water. This immediately cut down on the pink, reducing it to a pale pink, but the damage was already done. The white yarn was a definite pink, and another 5 or 6 rinses only reduced it to a sort of dirty taupe colour. Meanwhile the mittens are now about two inches longer in the hand and in the cuff than they used to be, and they feel strangely floppy. Any hopes that they would shrink up again when they dried seem destined to remain unrealised, as so far they are staying the same length even though they are almost dry.
I still had my Paypal receipt so I have written to Skein Queen with photographs, asking for a refund. I am really gutted about this after all the work I put into them. If they were just a bit pink, but still the right size, then it wouldn't be so bad.
Update: Skein Queen promptly issued me with a full refund and said: "The colour should never run out of hand-dyed yarn and I'm mortified that it has done in this instance, especially after all your work. Please accept my sincere apologies and reassurances that this is not a common occurrence with Skein Queen yarn. I was also extremely surprised to hear about Desire losing its structure and having a odd smell. It never usually smells when I soak it prior to dyeing and has maintained its shape in anything I've knitted with it. I'm wondering if what happened might have been that, around that time, my supplier sent me a faulty batch of the superwash merino that acted a bit differently to the usual Desire and didn't have the superwash element added and maybe that's got into the kits before I realised there was a problem? I'm not sure, but could be a possible explanation. I'm just sorry it's happened to you. "