You know how when you are cooking soup and it just isn't turning out right? You just start adding things in hopes of correcting whatever isn't right, more and more goes into the pot, and before you know it, it's totally not what you expected. It turns out better.
The second attempt at home-dyed yarn started out with Kool-Aid. I decided to use up all the packets of Kool-Aid and doing things on the stovetop this time. I put 2 packets of grape, 2 packets of black cherry and one packet of strawberry into a large stockpot and added cold water. Then, in went two hanks (100 grams each) of the bare worsted yarn from Knit Picks. I heated it slowly until the yarn soaked up the color. The color turned out about the same shade of pink as my first try. Pretty, but I don't really go for bright colors most of the time.
Time to pull out the Wilton icing gels. I remembered from dying eggs that the black gel actually produces a purple color, so I mixed up about a 1/4 teaspoon of the black with about 1/2 cup of vinegar and some water. Removed the yarn hanks from the pot, mixed in the "black" dye mixture (which looked green, actually), and replaced the hanks. That made things more purple, but I thought "let's make it darker". Too lazy at this point to remove the hanks from the pot, I mixed up more dye/vinegar/water and slowly poured it into the pot, gently moving the hanks to the side with a spoon.
(There is a tutorial for dying with Wilton icing gels at Keep On Knitting In The Free World if you would like to follow a guide with step by step instructions.)
Once the water was almost clear, I turned off the stove and let the pot cool down to room temperature before rinsing the hanks. To get the vinegar smell out, I gave the yarn a cold water swish in some B&BW aromatherapy shampoo and then a really good rinse. Worked great. No more vinegar smell and just the slightest hint of jasmine/vanilla.
The color is a variegated warm-toned purple with bits of pink and fuschia. I think the initial Kool-Aid and the fact that the pot was a bit crowded led to the variegation. One thing to note, under CF lighting, it looks like a brighter red-purple (the fluorescent light sucks all the blue tones out). I shall dub this color "grawcherry".
I also dyed a couple of hanks with just the Wilton black and vinegar. It came out a mix of cool-toned purples and blues, with hints of green and fuschia. Again, crowding in the pot probably contributed to the color variegation. I like the muted colors of this batch better than "grawcherry". I'm calling this one "plue". I think I'll use plue when I attempt the Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks Scarf.