I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oh, Mr. Rit, I think your “Orange Sunshine” is bleak..

Sometimes efforts seem futile. Or, at the very least, ineffective. Which I suppose is the same thing..I guess I am trying to say that even though I really accomplished a lot today, a few things that did not go well overwhelmed the good parts of my day and led to frustration.

I am preparing for a workshop that I am team teaching with my partner in crime, Louise, also known as Nancy. The workshop is “Surface Design, Not Just another Pretty Face” or something along those lines. Our day will be spent introducing some lovely folk in Sackville to the fun to be had in creating your own fabric by a variety of methods.

Now, I dye and surface design a lot of fabric. I have for a long time. And in that time, as my interest grew and my techniques expanded, I have collected tools and materials from sources far and wide. But, when I am introducing someone to new-to-them techniques, I like to make it easy for them to continue on in their exploration once the class is over and they do not have easy access to these same materials that I have. And, really, dyeing fabric and surface design doesn’t need to be complicated. You can create some fun fabric with objects you find around the house, or find in the hardware and dollar stores. The main thing is to have fabric, dye and paint that will be colorfast. To me that is the key.

So, in the interest of making it simple for the participants to carry on afterwards if they so chose, I thought I would forsake my treasured Procion MX dyes and see how well Rit liquid dyes would work using the same, or a possibly slightly altered method of dyeing. I have used Rit powdered dyes in the past, many time actually, and always had interesting results. Today was a first for me with their liquid.

When I lead a class on dyeing, I always, always incorporate color theory (actually, I incorporate it into just about every conversation..ask my kids about meal time around here growing up! lol). Anyway, I purchased three dyes to get started - a blue, a red and a yellow. It seems they had a run on dyes lately at Michaels so I bought their “Orange Sunshine”, which to me looked like a golden yellow. Perfect I thought for mixing some nice fallish looking greens and rusts. 


For my first batch, I decided to mix up a lovely green using my blue and some of that “Orange Sunshine”. After a good shake, I poured the dyes into my measuring cup and thought the orange looked just a little bit dark. Adding water, I really started to wonder. The solution looked kind of black and it didn’t have any traces of orange or red that I should have been able to see as it was being diluted. I decided to cook up a second batch, but this time I didn't add the blue, I just used the orange dye. In my mind, I saw something like this....
Well, here is what I got, and there is the bottle of Rit. The label shows the color I was supposed to get..

I am really glad I like to prepare beforehand.

So, I know how this poor little flower feels. Sometimes, you just can’t get out of the way fast enough.....


  1. Someone somewhere must have a bit of sunshine where they wanted nightfall! Hope tomorrow is better for you!

  2. I've seen some pretty things done with the liquid Rits. Obviously a mislabel.
    Spines like a fun class.

  3. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauSeptember 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Thanks, Lorette. It just seemed like that kind of day...one step forward, two steps back. At least I always start my day with optimism! lol

  4. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauSeptember 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Me, too! I have seen so much great dyeing done with liquid Rit - Judy Coates Perez has done lots! My first pieces, while not what I was expecting, do have an interesting Halloween feel to them so I guess I will take them in that direction. And the workshop should be fun! I really enjoy empowering people with surface design skills - they get so excited when they start seeing the possibilities.

  5. Didn't you know mom? "Orange is the new Black"!

  6. Jennifer Scantlebury VienneauSeptember 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Hahahahaha!! Of course! Very good, Mony! You made me laugh! xoxox