How to get even colors with acid wool dye

The Great Dye Experiment of 2013, Part 2

I dye my own tapestry yarn. And I dye yarn for my students to use in my classes. And sometimes I even sell it to them. I posted a little bit a few months ago about some dye projects gone bad.
A bad dye job
and
The Great Dye Experiment of 2013, Part 1

This weekend was my first dye run in my new place... the dye studio residing in my garage now. I took some good advice from my expert dyer friend Cornelia Theimer Gardella and watched the pH of my pots much closer. I usually just dump in enough citric acid to drop the pH all the way to 3.5 and call it good. But I think sometimes that makes the dye hit too hard (and Conni was sure of it, so I decided to listen to her). So this time I used much less acid and monitored the pH. The results were excellent. Even the light colors which are always the most difficult to level turned out great.

Here are the oranges I dyed in March which were so bad.
And here are the ones I just dyed.
The first batch will be overdyed and turned into something lovely.




My biggest question for all of you out there who dye in various parts of the world is, did the water have anything to do with this difference?
The water I was using in Alamosa, CO was well water with large amounts of minerals in it and no water softener. The water I used in Velarde, NM before that was also well water but I had a water softener and had less trouble getting even dyeing than I did in Alamosa. Now I am on Santa Fe city water and I would bet there are still a lot of minerals in the water, this being NM and all, but as far as I know, there is no water softener in this house...
Does the water make a difference in how the dye takes up and how even it is? Have any of you had this experience?
(I'm using Lanaset/Sabraset acid wool dyes and dying Harrisville-milled wool.)

Not a bad days work though... nice, even, hand-dyed yarn ready for another workshop.