Dear Matt: What is the origin of all the colored paint splotches in both directions on Highway 52? There seem to be new ones all the time and of many different colors. Is it a paint truck run amok? And how are pantyhose made? Some come out of the package in tubelike forms, but others actually look leg-shaped. How do they do this? — Chris and Christine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
A little legwork took us to L’eggs, the pantyhose-in-an-egg folks. L’eggs says all pantyhose are created equal. They’re knitted and sewn together by machines, then dyed and dried. If the hose are destined to be the formless kind, they’re packaged without further ado. If they’re to be neater and gam-shaped, they’re “boarded.” That involves pulling the pantyhose down over a set of flat, thin metal plates shaped like legs (with toes in the air) and steaming them. When they’re pulled off, they’re neat, shapely, and more expensive, since the boarding is done by hand. The one-shape-fits-all kind contain more stretchy fiber than the contoured hose.
As for your truck amok — red, blue, green, yellow, and white happen to be the colors used to paint lane markers and curbs in special parking zones. Some of the trucks carry their paint buckets suspended from hooks on an overhead frame. Sometimes the paint spills. Places near maintenance yards, where the trucks are parked, are likely to be more colorful than others.