I mix my dyes using only the 10 pure colors from Dharma Trading and I mix all of my colors from those. That means that as soon as a dye started to loose strength that I can't use it in my recipes anymore.
How do I know when they start to weaken? I tested it of course! I have a chart right here.
When I mix my dye concentrates I label the bottles with the date made and the "expiration" date. I've been doing to long enough that I'm pretty good at estimating the amount of dye I use each month but I still have some dyes that occasionally expire. Expiring just means that it loses a little strength. The dye is actually good for several more weeks. It's just weaker. I can't throw dye out so I had to come up with a way to use it.
Veteran's quilt backs is the answer!
Country School buys the backing and batting for the veterans quilts that Terry and I quilt. I buy the backing from Marshall Dry Goods by the bolt and used to buy printed fabrics. I'd get a blue and a gold or tan and force match the quilts to the 2 backs. A couple of years ago I decided to start buying one bold of white to dye in other colors and that's what I use the expired dyes for. Now I just buy 1 printed bold of backing and 2 of white so most of our quilt backs are dyed. We still mostly need blue backs but several shades of blue. Conveniently, most of the expired dye is one of the blues or black. I will add "good" yellows or red for green and purple backs.
Here are a few that I have ready and waiting for quilts.
Here are just a few of ones that I've done over the past year. I think these are much better than the cheap printed backing fabric that we buy. I'm glad the CSQ members let me make the dyed backing for our quilts. I think we get prettier colors and I don't dump good dye down the drain.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.