Well, here's a funny thing.
The moment I added that crazy "Pink Lemonade" to the dyepot, it was apparent: at maximum saturation it was exactly the soft color I was looking for!
But...I only had one packet, not the four that would probably be necessary. The last thing I had expected was that I would want to use a full-tilt Kool-Aid color for a pale pink dye. (Seriously. At full saturation, Kool-Aid tends to be either primary color or neon.) I had the requisite four packets of several other flavors on hand, but only one Pink Lemonade. So a loop of yarn floating near the top of the dyepot soaked up all the dye in a heartbeat, and the rest of the yarn was...white.
White, white, white.
Scrambling for more pink dye, I hastily mixed up a packet of "Cherry" flavor in a separate measuring cup, to see if it might work. As one might expect from something called "cherry," it was red.
Vampire Novel Book-Jacket Red. Ugh.
It seemed that the only thing to do was to admit defeat, let the yarn dry, and dye it again when more Pink Lemonade was available. And hope that the overdyed yarn would not be blotchy. Which it almost certainly would be, darn it.
Then I spotted the box of food coloring which has been gathering dust on the shelf over my stove for about a decade. Don't ask me why. Absolutely no idea.
(To clarify: I know why dust has been gathering, I just don't know why the food coloring was purchased in the first place.)
What's to lose? I scooped two cups of hot water out of the pot, added one drop of red food coloring, then returned it to the pot near a section of glaringly white yarn.
Not a bad blend. Quite nice, in fact!
So I did it again, and again, and again, rolling the yarn gently to reveal white sections, until it seemed most of the yarn had been exposed to some kind of dye, and all the dye had been absorbed.
Then, because I had no idea whether the food coloring would wash right out, I tried to wash it out:
Seemed to be sticking...
At this moment, the washed yarn is draped over a shower rod in several loops, drying. There is a much more light/white than what I had originally envisioned, although the picture below does not capture that. Trust me: still lots of white. My fingers are crossed that the white sections will enhance the intended project, but only time and a lot of knitting will tell.
Unplanned or semi-expected results seem to be the nature of this kind of dyeing - at least, it seems to be that way whenever I do it, but I'll be very interested to hear from others about their experiences with food dyes!
Whew. I came this close to vacuuming today!