Monday, April 02, 2007


We got a box in the mail today (actually three boxes, giving the hubby a stroke wondering what I'd ordered) but the best box, the most important box, the most FUN box, was from April.

It contained baby gear. And chocolate. She knows what keeps a mumum running. (Plus I've been bribing The Baby to walk with chocolate, so I'm running low around here.) There were some jackets, and a really cute pair of pants (so cute I wish I had a pair in my size), but best of all was the COW JAMMIES. Yes. Footed jammies covered in cows.

That's The Baby, very unhappy to be put to bed, even wearing cow jammies. (Please note the stuffed rat above her head. She sleeps with it every night. It's named Scabbers.) And here is a closeup of the cow fabric, taken as The Baby tried to climb out of the crib:

She also loved the mini See and Say that was in the box - she played with it all afternoon. And I was thrilled to hear a song different from the ones she usually plays. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The other boxes, incidentally, contained yarn for dyeing. I'm not out any more, and production of more sock yarn will begin tomorrow. First up, Purple Trainwreck and more Easter Egg colors. Interestingly, buying all this yarn to dye seems to be having a 'work in a candy store' affect - I buy so much for resale that temptation to buy other yarn for stashing isn't really there. (Of course, I've already got a closet full and I've never been much of a stasher to begin with.) I may be buying some for a new design, though. We'll see.

I vowed to take some time off knitting to give my hand a break. That lasted about six hours. But I am working on lace, which is lighter and easier to manipulate than the steeked jacket, which is not only heavy, but the snaggy barbed-wire aspect of the lopi I'm using gives me fits (love it once it's knit, though).

I had a question in the comments, asking me about fading and bleeding and why, if a dye bled OFF something in the laundry, does it then stick ON to something else and not wash off? Damn good question.

When you dye a fiber - any fiber - what you're doing is chemically bonding a coloring agent to the surface of the fiber. There are various ways to do it (heat, acids, mechanically rubbing it in, etc), but that's what it comes down to: sticking the dye and the fiber to each other. Dyes and fibers vary, but I'm sure when you think about it, it stands to reason that each fiber only has so many places/bonds to stick a dye to. In the case of yarns or fabrics that bleed, what's happened is that extra dye has come to rest on the fibers and is just sitting there, not bonded. When it gets wet, the dye washes off like dirt does, and floats around in the water. If there's something ELSE in the water, something that doesn't have dye bonded to it (or that PARTICULAR dye bonded to it - different dyes can bond to different places, chemically speaking), then the loose dye will stick to the new fiber instead. BAM. You have pink underwear. (Did this make sense? I hope so. I'm drugged and not good at explaining chemistry to begin with. Let me know if there are questions, and I'll try it again.)

That's also what's happening when you buy yarn and the colors rub off on your fingers or needles: The dye hasn't bonded to the yarn, and is bonding to you instead. A couple good washes, or another go at bonding the dye with heat or chemicals, will usually fix the problem. Sometimes, something has just gone horribly wrong - I used to have a sweater that bled every damn time I washed it for ten years, and went from a dark brick red to a salmon color before I threw it away.

There are, of course, a lot of finer points to it (chemical bonds vary according to dye type, fiber type, and fixatives, among other things) but that's the gist of it.

There's a cat face mooshed into my boob.


Laural said...

Look at that sweet face, she just wants to stay up and play in her awesome new jammies! Have fun dyeing and be careful with the wrist.

Sheepish Annie said...

My Big, Fluffy Kitty likes to mash her face into things. But she prefers pillows since I don't have the boobage to give her a really good smoosh.

Auntie April certainly has good taste in gifts. Such cute pj's!!!

barb outside boston said...

Oh, EVERY child should have her own Scabbers.

Catie said...

speaking of kids with scabbers - I think my mom just got me (much older than very cute baby) that very same stuffed animal - is it from IKEA? Cool description of chemical bonding of the dye.

Nina said...

Wow, April rocks! How fun, the jammies. Can we see the cute pants tomorrow? ;)

Thanks for the explanation of what's going on with the dye bleed. It's not the same as it is with "food grade" colors. Like when you/your kids (most likely) get food color stains on a t-shirt from whatever--candy, Kool-Aid, and other things I *never* would feed my kids--honest, I only know about this from other people telling me--really!

Cos the t-shirt is cotton, so the food coloring shouldn't be able to stick, right? But if there is some residual on the shirt after laundering, you could put it in the sun, and it would theoretically be "bleached" out by the sunlight. I could tell this just wasn't the same kind of color stain.

Amy Lane said...

Wow...I'm glad you put that thing about the cat face last...I would have been laughing too hard to pay attention to the rest of it--and the cow jammies + the rat named scabbers were well worth the attention! (as was the thing about the dye...but what I'm 'dyeing' to know is, why didn't you throw the sweater out sooner?)

April said...

Umm, aren't the jammies a little big for her? I thought I bought a 3T. Tell that child to SLOW DOWN.

Teresa said...

That last line is going on my list of favorite quotes.