The US Postal Service has a tool to tell you when you need to mail things to ensure delivery by December 24. It depends on what part of the world you’re in and the class of postage you use. We use first class, priority, and priority express mail (your choice, subject to weight of the order). Please scroll down and read the weasel words though. These cutoffs are what should work in most cases, but the USPS is not guaranteeing anything. Last Christmas it took a priority mail package 10 days to reach us, when it should (supposedly) never be more than 3 days.
We’ve upgraded our cover stock. Until recently, we were using 60 pound card stock (which has a matte finish). We are now using 69 pound glossy paper, which we think is a big improvement. The colors are more vibrant and saturated, and while I don’t believe that the card stock actually showed less detail, it didn’t show up as clearly. We had always assumed that if the printer has a setting for card stock, and you PICK the setting for card stock, the printer will use the perfect amount of ink for card stock, but apparently not. Or maybe there is no perfect amount. When we tried glossy paper, we were really astonished at the difference. Here are a couple of examples to give you an idea.
We hope you’ll like this change!
You may know that DMC has, over some period of time, changed some of their dye formulas. I believe this has mostly been done to bring them into line with changing regulations on toxic materials in dyes, but they say it can also happen if the availability of raw materials changes. The result is that some of the colors are different than they used to be. A few colors ended up being so close to another color that they “merged” the colors. They don’t say they discontinued any colors; they just print two numbers of the labels of 7 colors of floss. You can read more about that here.
The obvious question is, which colors are different than they were 12 years ago, and how different are they? I couldn’t get an answer. The solution seemed to be to get a brand-new skein of each color. Going to Michael’s and picking out all that floss sounded time-consuming and expensive, plus there’s no way to know how old their stock is. I’m sure our local Michael’s turns over their stock regularly, but how long has it been sitting in the warehouse?
It turns out that DMC has a designer program, in which they will provide designers who use DMC materials all the free floss and fabric they need for models or whatever purposes they may have. So I applied and was accepted and requested one skein of each color, including their 16 newest colors. (These new colors come only in a set currently. DMC says they will be available in open stock “in a couple of years”. We will not be using them in our patterns until you can buy only what you need — imagine if you needed 4 skeins of one of the new colors and had to buy 4 sets!)
They came yesterday.
Now begins the lengthy task of, first, determining which colors have changed; second, working out new RGB values (computer color definitions) for them; and third, modifiying the patterns that are affected. I hope that most of the changes will be minor. In any case, because most colors in our patterns are blends, and not used in large solid areas, the impact on our patterns should be slight. In other words, go ahead and stitch the patterns you have with the floss you have, or new floss, and don’t worry about the outcome.
By the way, there are a number of DMC colors (about 25 I think) that were new several years ago that we have never added. We will be adding those colors, now, as well.
In case you haven’t heard, the US Postal Service has renamed Express Mail. It is now Priority Mail Express. Apparently they did a study and discovered that people were confused between Priority Mail and Express Mail. I’m sure this will clear that right up.
As far as I can tell, there are no rate changes at this time. Just a new name.
We are doing scheduled maintenance on Thursday night starting at 6 PM central time. The site will probably be down for a couple of hours, but hopefully not longer. So if you try to visit then — don’t worry, we’ll be back!
This is miscellaneous followups to the last two posts.
I’ve moved the color swatches on the labels to the bottom (under the numbers). I think this makes more sense for filing, since it puts the numbers at the tippy-top of the folded label. It seems to me that the colors grab the eye no matter where they are, but what can you do.
I heard from someone who uses the giftwrap tape to keep her labels attached that it sticks better to plastic bobbins than the regular tape, and that’s the reason she uses it.
I tried another approach to helping the labels stick: I scuffed up both sides of the top of a plastic bobbin with a nail file. I didn’t expect this to help because one side is already textured, and the other is smooth, and the current labels didn’t stick well to either. But when I tried to remove the label I put on the scuffed-up bobbin a week or two ago, I had the devil of a time getting it off. None of my labels stick that well to unscuffed bobbins! If I was going to try this on a larger scale, I would use a piece of steel wool (moderately fine grit — the kind for sanding, not the kind for dishes — and make sure it was leaving visible scratches) and do both sides at a time. I’d then rinse the bobbins in water to get all the dust off (and dry them, of course) before attaching labels.
However, I am hoping that none of this will be necessary with the labels with the “more aggressive” adhesive. I still haven’t received the samples I requested and was running out of time to order new labels, so I just took a leap of faith and ordered a batch of that kind. That was yesterday, so my samples will probably come today. Keep your fingers crossed for sticking power!
There’s still a lot of work to do before the color labels will be available, but we’ll try to get them out soon.
Update: the samples did come today, and they are much stickier. Will they stay permanently stuck to plastic bobbins? Time will tell, but they will definitely stay stuck longer than the current labels.
If you use plastic bobbins, you have a problem with the floss labels coming unstuck. They stick at first, but then one side or the other starts to lift. My bobbins have a slightly textured side, while the other side is smooth. The labels don’t seem to adhere reliably to either side. We switched to different labels at one point in the hopes of solving this problem, but while the new labels seem to stick a little better, they still tend to lift.
I called my label supplier today and explained the problem and asked what they would recommend. They explained that sticking to plastic is tricky because plastic, being a petroleum product, emits vapors which acts against the adhesive. They do have a type of label I haven’t tried yet, which I’m told has their “most aggressive adhesive”. I’ve requested samples and I really hope this solves the problem. (I still have a lot of cardboard bobbins, but I bought 1000 plastic bobbins from Nordic Needle and as I finish the floss on a cardboard bobbin, I’m replacing it with plastic.) My bobbins have a fairly large hole in the top, so I press the two sides of the label together at the hole, so it’s sticking to itself. This insures that the label won’t hop right off the bobbin, but the corners still lift, and pick up cat hair and what have you and that just makes the lifting problem worse.
One person told me she uses Scotch Giftwrap tape (in the purple dispenser) to attach her labels to plastic bobbins and she has no problem with them coming off. I was thinking that that was a double-sided tape, but it doesn’t seem to be, so now I’m not sure what the special advantage of that tape would be, unless it’s that it disappears better than standard tape. I don’t know if it’s stickier. But I hate to tell people they need to use tape on supposedly sticky labels, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for “aggressive adhesive”.
Here’s a preview of the floss labels with color swatches:
If you look carefully, you can see the label edges — the bottoms of the labels are just below the numbers. They’re laid out like the current labels, but just have color swatches above the numbers. These are about actual size (the labels are 1″ wide by 5/8″ high). The color is better than it appears — for example, 939 and 3021 are clearly different colors on the real labels.
There’s some work to do before we can make them available, but here’s what we’re thinking, and we’d like to know how you feel about the whole thing.
- It may not be necessary to have a color swatch for the solid colors, especially the ones that don’t have a symbol, but it seems like it can’t hurt.
- The color labels may cost slightly more than all black labels, but not much.
- We will discontinue all black labels. These seem like a huge improvement and having two kinds would be confusing. (I’d start using them this instant but the current label stock is not suitable for color printing — it smears.)
- We will have a coupon for some period of time to allow people (especially people who JUST bought all black labels) to get the color labels at a good discount.
- They may not be water-proof. (The current ones happen to be, although it has never come up, for me.)
None of this is set in stone (yet). What are your opinions, questions, concerns?
So I was stitching last night, minding my own business, when it slowly soaked into my consciousness that the needle I was using to stitch the & symbol, which should have had a green and a gold thread, actually had two brown threads. (No, I don’t memorize the colors for each symbol but some I just learn after I’ve stitched them for a while.) I pulled out the last 3 or 4 stitches which were around the edges and then decided that would be a good time to quit for the night. I’m not actually sure of the extent of the damage — there are at least a few more wrong stitches, and to get at them I will have to rip out all the surrounding stitches. I’m going to look at it and maybe decide that it’s not worth bothering with. Although the thread is the wrong color, it is similar in darkness. It’s in a very confettic area but there is a pattern although you have to step back to see it.
I’m not sure how this happened. I may have parked a needle in the wrong place, although I think I’m really pretty careful about that. Much more often, I think, I just put floss back onto the wrong bobbin. I don’t know how I do that. I think maybe I look at the right bobbin and then pick up a different one. That sounds odd but I’ve caught myself doing it. Then later I notice I have 4 colors of floss on one bobbin, or I pick a bobbin up and realize that the color on it is clearly wrong (like a light color with a dark symbol, or vice versa). Sometimes I can figure out what the symbol for the floss should have been and sometimes I just have to throw the floss away because I don’t know what it is.
Earlier today, I thought, “I should snip half an inch of the two colors of floss on each bobbin and tape it to the bobbin.” That would be a way to check whether I was putting floss on the right bobbin. And even if I still put it on the wrong bobbin, I would probably notice when I went to use it again. My next thought was that that sounds like kind of a chore, so now I’m thinking about printing floss labels with the colors. The numbers and symbols would still be black, but there would be two little swatches or lines of the appropriate colors added to the labels. This wouldn’t necessarily let you know which thread on a bobbin was which, if it was ecru and sand for example, but it might keep you from putting blues on a bobbin that was supposed to have pinks.
What do you think?
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