A month or two ago I mentioned that I had done a project for RIT dye for Quilting Arts TV. I actually made three projects for the RIT representative to use on the show because I had too many different ideas to stop at one. They taped the show at the end of August and it will air in Series 300. I have heard it will be on the same episode that I taped last spring at quilt Festival doing the Fiesta Ornaments. I would love to show you more but you will have to wait for the show or pics in Quilting Arts magazine.
I never used RIT dye before doing this project, I had no idea what the colors would be like or how to dye fabric with it, I have always used Procion. I think I was imagining that I would get dull 1970’s colors, you know dusty mauve, blue gray, goldenrod. I was really surprised by the colors that I got when I adapted it to a low immersion dye method, dyeing pieces of fabric in small containers of dye. These are all the RIT dye colors.
These are some of the colors I made mixing dyes.The basic recipe is:
one cup hot water to 2 tsp liquid dye or 4 tsp powder dye and one minute in the microwave. Increasing or reducing the dye quantity will make colors more saturated or lighter.
This quantity of dye solution will dye up to a 1/2 yard of fabric or roughly a fat quarter of cotton batting. I am writing an article about it now that will go into a lot more detail about the process.
One of the things that intrigued me about RIT was that it could dye some man made fibers. It won’t dye polyester but it will dye nylon, so the soft Pellon interfacing can be dyed, just don’t put it in the microwave, it will melt. This is how it looks.
I used the interfacing on two projects. I ended up melting a lot of the interfacing during my experimenting with dyeing it, so I didn’t have a lot to work with for the projects. I found if you put the interfacing in the hot water dye solution and leave it there for a couple minutes, that is enough to dye it. I made one piece fusing the interfacing to batting to make details on flowers and leaves and another piece that is abstract working with layers of batting and interfacing.
This was a really interesting project to do. I found there are definitely times when the speed and simplicity of using Rit comes in handy, not to mention the fact that it is non-toxic. There are also times when I will opt for using Procion. Each product has its benefits and drawbacks. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable using fiber reactive dyes for a number of reasons and RIT certainly provides a viable option for artists to use instead.