thanks for the help! I went ahead and did it as I had done in the past, just wringing the yarn a bit and making bigger skeins to start with. I had never heard of using the thickener either until I read about it in this book on hand-dyeing yarns; I couldn't see why, as I usually like the bleeding effect. I had hoped it would help with the other issue, but I seemed to have managed that with wringing better, and monitoring the dye a bit.
Thanks so much!!