Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Organizing My Dye

Once I started using Majic Carpet and Pro Chem dyes, I slowly acquired all available colours of each brand. (Pro Chem has since added a slew of colours to their line...but back then there were only 26 known to me). I always have a hard time trying to match the name with the resulting colour of wool....so to help guide me about what the various colours actually look like, I dyed a sample piece of each of the colours using a consistent measurement of dye (1/8 tsp of dye on 1/12 yard of Dorr natural). I think I've mentioned before that this was the best use of dyeing time ever - it's helped me a lot and I still refer to it almost every time I dye. I just wish that I'd kept up the practice with the new colours I've purchased since that time....

I keep all of my dye in two red Coke crates (a little taller than the little jars, leaving some room for storing bags of citric acid, swatches, glauber salts, etc.)....and so I'm always looking at their lids. To help speed up the process of finding a certain colour, I cut small pieces off my swatch set and glued them to their respective lids. These original lids were all white, so writing on them was easy.

When I started ordering my dye direct from Pro Chem, their jars come with black lids. I bought some round stickers and wrote the number and name of each colour on each jar. When I dye - and pick up jars with wet gloves - some of the labels start to lift off. Over time, some of these same labels have disappeared or worse yet, drifted onto other jars. Just as I was starting to feel exasperated, I remembered the silver Sharpie I'd received as a bonus a while back. It worked wonderfully and I was able to write directly on the black lids. It still doesn't solve the problem of a lack of swatches though....but at least I know what number I'm picking up!

Whenever I empty one of my dye jars (after rinsing it out the the dye bath), I immediately recycle the bottom of the jar and then set aside the lid. Not only can I easily keep track of what I need to order, I also can re-use my same mini-swatches....and the lids take up a lot less room that keeping whole jars!

How do you organize and store your dyes and dyeing equipment? Do you have any tips to share?