Saturday, July 4, 2015

Why to keep your dye lot and color numbers

Several Fridays ago,  I was forceably reminded of that old adage in stitching--keep the tag with the color number and dye lot.  I've been in this industry for over 35 years, I'm good with color, but--I'm not infallible.  Usually I can match the color of a fiber when people come in without the tag....BUT, life is so much simpler and more perfect if they can produce the tag recording the color number and the dye lot number.  This is not a contest--yes, I can probably successfully match the color.  But why should I?  And what if I have a poor record at matching colors?  Do yourself a favor and keep everything that might assist you in matching the color you are stitching, on the off chance that you might run out, including keeping your "orts"--your cut ends.  As a shop owner, in a perfect world, you will stop stitching several strands before you absolutely run out. That way, you can blend strands if necessary.  And please, if you're stitching with perle cotton, try to keep the band that has the color number on it--not the "other one".  I can't tell you how often people proudly present the DMC band that contains no useful information.  Sigh!

Apropos of the previous paragraph, I had a phone call the other day.  The woman on the phone told me she had stopped by the previous Saturday (Needle Nicely hasn't been open on Saturdays for 2 1/2 years).  She wanted some more colors for a canvas she was stitching.  I asked what fiber.  Her reply was that her granddaughter would come in with a picture on her cell phone.  I asked again, what fiber?  You can't tell what the fiber is from a picture.  I'm a miracle worker, but I can't do it.  After a few probing questions, I now know the fiber is Paternayan. Maybe I'll have a fighting chance when I see the cell phone picture.

Someone else called last week.  She said she had run out of a color for the canvas she purchased this winter.  I asked what fiber.  Her response was "the white one".  So now I know the color is white, but what is the fiber?  After a few failed attempts at eliciting what white fiber she needed, I asked her to mail me a 2" piece.  I restrained myself from mentioning how many white fibers Needle Nicely sells.  As they say, the better part of valor!

EDIT:  I received the fiber sample, and it appears to be perle 5.  That's what I mailed to her.  Time will tell if I guessed correctly.


  1. You're spot on with this post, Mary Agnes! Even the most reliable thread manufacturers can vary widely in dye lot.

  2. And folks have an amazingly hard time describing things. I think close observation is nearly a dead skill.