8 November 2006


I have admitted elsewhere (no. 46) that I don’t mind doing laundry. I’ve also claimed somewhere in the past that I would never blog about it. (Although I did).

But really, I spend an awful lot of my time at the clothesline. Pegging, unpegging, folding, sorting.
It’s meditation of a sort. A chance to snatch some fresh air and respite from others.

I used to get a warm fuzzy glow from the sight of a clothesline full of fluffy white nappies a-flapping in the sunshine. These days it’s school uniform, and lots of it. Also cricket whites (don’t forget the Sard), muddy socks and Mr Soup’s work clothes.

I still get a sense of satisfaction from a full clothesline. When you leave full time work to be at home with babies and children, your world shrinks. Feelings of achievement come from unexpected angles; small domestic goals met. Pride at feeding and clothing your little family for another day.

My mum has strict rules about the washing.

Socks must be pegged by the toe, so as not to spoil the cuffs.
mum's way of pegging

I hear Mum’s voice as I rebelliously peg my socks from the tops.
rebellious sock pegging

I find I have my own rules about laundry.

Pegs must be wooden.

Either style. Just not plastic.
dolly pegs

And baskets must be wicker.
clean towels

Today’s a Good Drying Day, my mother would say and I hear her voice as I strip the sheets.

(Dame Washalot was one of my favourite characters in The Magic Faraway Tree).


Martina said...

The smell of hung out clothes and linens is the best! Unfortunately I live in a town that does not allow hanging out laundry so it needs to be done below fence height. We must use our dryers! What a waste!

zephyr said...

people think i'm crazy because i don't even own a clothes dryer. i love not only the smell of clothes, sheets, towels and everything hung outside to dry, but also the feel...i don't like "artificially soft" bath towels (yes, fabric softener is truly wonderful, but unscented, please...and not too much, i like my towels a wee bit on the scruffy side when i dry off).

even in winter when the laundry would freeze stiff as a board and i'm required to set up wooden drying racks indoors, i never find myself longing for the appliance (yes, there's only two of us, so that DOES make my preference possible and still leaves room for humans to live and move about indoors)

wonderful photos
wonderful socks (did you knit all of them?)
and did you do the lovely embroidery on the pillow slips or table cloth?

velcro said...

my mother has very strict rules about when and how laundry should be hung up, and wow betide anyone who dares to differ.

we don't have a dryer either, but alas nor do we have a washing line. Have to make do with radiators and tops of doors to dry everthing.

I do like those socks!

capello said...

why wicker? doesn't it snag your clothes?

MsCellania said...

I miss my clothesline the most about the move. This development does not allow clothesline, or anything strung over fences. I bet you'd get a nastygram for a bathing suit left drying in a visible location!

And I love all your hand-made lovelies drying on the line. And I agree with your mom-toes ONLY! And shirts by the hem and underarm. And undies dried INSIDE lines, never outside lines, as some things? Are PRIVATE.

Stjernesol said...

Oh I sooo love to do loundry and to hang them outside, but in the winter it's impossible. They wood freeze or stay wet forever...

I don't have a clothes dryer, but I do hang my clothes - inside. Then my house smells divine :)

meggie said...

Fresh outdoor dried clothes are a treat!
It seems terrible to imagine not being able to do that.

I can understand about the freezing in winter, but....

So glad we live in this lovely free country!

jorth said...

This entry made me laugh! You should see my washing line at the moment, it's full of Grumble's clothes and it's so structured! Pants first, followed by jumpers, then spencers, then tops, then bibs, then (my!) undies then socks. And it must be done in that order!

nutmeg said...

I love those socks. I know you posted about them awhile back - did you mention the pattern and wool type? I think I'll have to go back and do a little search around your blog. If I start now, a pair may be done before next winter :-)

Lazy cow said...

Hmmmm. I have to say Dame Washalot annoyed me intensely. I could NEVER understand why she was constantly washing, and I CANNOT see why *I* have to be constantly washing now. Though having a makeshift washing line made up of a few metres of plastic rope which takes half a load of washing doesn't help. I'm adding wooden pegs to my op shopping list now.

Eclair said...

I was always quite fond of Saucepan myself. Probably because I'm a bit deaf too and always losing things.

I can hear my mother's voice when I do laundry as well! But that's probably because she's popped over and is stood behind me saying things like "you could use a bit of bleach on those tea towels!"

Paula said...

I too enjoy doing laundry. I love the look of well hung out clothesline. I envy you your spring weather as we head in to our winter; which will last until the end of May. My clothesline will be little used during that time, as the cold is too bitter. Shame on the places which, ban clotheslines I'd be the first to fight such a ban. It is obvious who ever made this rule cares nothing for the environment.

nutmeg said...

OK. My search revealed "Opal Sock Yarn, 2.25mm dpns". Would you be able to supply me with the details of the pattern?

littlejennywren said...

I quite agree with your mum about hanging up the socks but the funny thing is my mum always hangs them from the cuff so my little rebellion is to hang them by the toes. I wonder what my daughter will do when she is in charge of her own clothesline.

h&b said...

I don't peg socks at all, I simply flop them on the line midway - I hate pegmarks on the cuff OR the toe ( where it gets all crunchy ).

I have had wooden pegs stain my whites before ( I wear a lot of white ), so I prefer the plastic ones.

Also, like someone else said, I dry my smalls inside, on an inside line...

herhimnbryn said...

I believe I also posted about this (somewhere in the archives now). You are right... meditation under a wide blue sky.
Now I have the time to enjoy it, hanging out the washing is a quiet joy.
Socks? By the cuff, so the toes can dry properly!

My float said...

I love hanging the washing outside. Unfortunately I don't get the full benefit at the minute becuase we live in a unit and the balcony just doesn't cut it. But it is a meditative experience, especially when our big blue bowl of a sky stretches over us.

One of my earliest memories is running through freshly washed sheets, then helping my mother fold them and laying them in the basket. (Which was, alas, plastic!)

Carole said...

I'm with the line dryers here! I couldn't live anywhere where clothes lines were banned. I get a quiet satisfaction from following my Mum's order of hanging, ( socks in pairs, shirts by hemlines etc) and LOVE the smell when the washing is dry. However, smalls indoors - or at least mine are!!

Janet said...

Oh god, if my mum comes around she'll repeg the washing I've just hung out. I used to be irritated beyond belief (understandably I think). Now I just let her be, because she'll also bring it in, air it, fold it etc. And I just let her. Why fight?

I find it fascinating that you only like wooden pegs. I like them, in principle, but find they deteriorate out there on the line. I am far too lazy to bring them in each time. But I do love my aging wicker basket.

Oh I could blather on for hours, I've had wine and port, so perhaps I'd better stop. Mrs W says thanks for the link.

Kim said...

I too love doing the washing. I actually get quite narky if anyone else does it, as they NEVER hang it correctly.

My penchant for hanging like coloured clothes with like coloured pegs has been well documented (and ridiculed) over on Glamorouse.

I love nothing better than a good drying day. And we haven't had one of those in Sydney for about 10 days.

Perhaps that is why I am so grumbly...

Stjernesol said...

Ok, I seriously don't know what was wrong with me when I postet this comment "Oh I sooo love to do loundry and to hang them outside, but in the winter it's impossible. They wood freeze or stay wet forever...

I don't have a clothes dryer, but I do hang my clothes - inside. Then my house smells divine :)"

My spelling is terrible, so I will correct them now!

loundry = laundry
wood = would


I had my washday yesterday, and my house smells sooo good :)

Elaine said...

I cannot imagine a place that does not 'allow' laundry hanging! Now we're in deepest murkiness and clammy dampness abounds - I take comfort in my big airing cupboard. A space that houses the hot water cylinder with lots of slatted shelves for draping and hanging small batches in my bathroom. I love my old house :)

Jessica said...

I just wanted to say that I've been reading your blog for about a week now because I love the socks in your profile picture. They seem very cozy. So, seeing some of your other laundry hanging out to dry was quite a treat. Thanks for sharing. I swear I'm only mildly weird. And I would never be able to make it to Australia to steal your socks, no worries.

Stomper Girl said...

I was talking to a child's psychiatrist (at a social gathering) who told me we all have some level of autism, and that hers manifested in the way she did her laundry. After reading the comments, I see she is not alone! And yes, I do have my own pet do's and dont's about my washing line.
And I so agree with what you said about the world shrinking!

katie said...

I'm sure your pleasure in seeing a full washing line is enhanced when lots of it is hand made! crikey!

daintee said...

I've never dried my clothes outside on the line. It's not much of a "thing" where I live (in a condo in the city--I have no yard or line!).

However, after suffering a personally unbearable evening, even just reading this simple post, absorbing myself into the simple images, was therapeutic. Thanks.