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  1. #1
    Prairie Pointer

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    Default Ranting Reminiscence

    Ok, so of all the parts to making a quilt I hate the ironing/pressing the most..until I have to baste anyway. I have this odd love/hate thing with ironing because I have memory associations from childhood and young adult hood. As a child it absolutely fascinated me to watch my maternal grandmother (started me quilting btw) do the ironing once a month. She was a smoker and would have the short part of a cigarette in her lips and it would just be burning away while the smoke went up towards one eye, which of course was squinted shut because of the smoke. The mesmerizing part of it was watching the ash get longer and longer and waiting for it to fall on the ironing board..it never did and I always felt a little let down because IT SHOULD HAVE, I mean it sagged till just the moment when into the ashtray it would go. Then as a 19/20 year old I lived upstairs in my paternal grandparents home both as an assist to me getting a start and as a safety issue for them as their health was not good. I had this big debate with my grandmother about how much rent I should pay, she won because as far as stubborn I was an amateur and my Dad told me to stop arguing with her about it. I insisted that $150.00 (this was umm 30ish umm yrs ago) was what I should be paying. She was adamant that I would only pay$50.00 a month because that was what they charged my father (30 years older than me) and my uncle (29 years older) when they "lived at home". For that $50.00 a month she did their laundry and ironed all their shirts, my Dad wore only white western shirts that came out of the dryer as a wadded up ball of cotton and my uncle had Navy uniforms. So of the many things that were wrong with the amount of money she charged them vs me (inflation, that fact that my dad was only home from the ranch maybe 2 weekends a month and my uncle was in the Navy and home even less, while I was their every day) there was this image in my head of her ironing all my dad's shirts, which I had seen my mother iron when I was little until she made him start wearing a more permanent press variety with a very little bit of color in them (small pin stripe or a very pale shade of blue..stubborn man

    Then comes my own adulthood ironing requirements when I had to iron sheriff's office uniform shirts for myself and my ex-husband. I absolutely guarantee that the man who decided that military creases (two creases equidistant from the center in the back of the shirt) were mandatory had a maid/servant/wife to do all the ironing, always. Both of us getting out of uniform didn't get rid of the ironing (he actually did most of his own to be fair) but at least no more military creases. Last year my stepson was wrinkling his nose at me when I pointed out that he was lucky he was Army and not Navy/Marine as he didn't have to worry about them so much.

    He is also the one who dropped the only iron I have had that I actually kind of liked, the hazards of teaching a hamfisted 20yr old to iron his own uniform dress shirts. So that then brings me to what prompted this rant..aside from the stated disgust with the ironing thing. I was fighting with the replacement iron that the bumble kid bought (good kid..mostly) and it hangs up on the seam when I am pressing to the side and distorts the fabric. Crazy making to say the least so I searched Craigslist and now have a new tool. The fact that I have to follow the same rules as with a firearm and keep my finger off the trigger until ready to fire made me smile almost as much as the price $20 (older model in great shape but new ones are about $229) Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	147340 Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabric tutorials uses one.

    So needless to say I refuse to iron clothes anymore and only apply an iron to quilt blocks. In those moments of feeling cranky about how hot I am as I fight a hot flash (don't even get me started) while steam pressing 2 dozen quit blocks I still feel this nostalgic happiness as I think of my grandmothers as well as rows of uniform or dress shirts and crisp starched and pressed jeans lined up hanging on the edge of the ironing board. My weird internal life

  2. Thanks Claire Hallman, Sandy Navas, pcbatiks, Spring Bird thanked for this post
  3. #2
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    I learned how to iron on tablecloths, handkerchiefs and pillowcases. The sheets went through the mangle iron (remember those? watch your fingers!). Then I graduated up to shirts and dresses. I still find ironing tablecloths soothing but don't even think about asking me to iron a shirt. Luckily my husband has switched to wrinkle free and if he thinks they need touched up he does it (thank you military!)
    ATTITUDE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORDEAL AND AN ADVENTURE

  4. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    I remember my mom ironing handkerchiefs. I don't, I just fold them.
    I hated ironing my husband's police uniform for 20+ years. I kind
    of like to iron when I quilt. A flat seam looks so nice, lol.

  5. #4
    9 Patch Princess

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    Oct 2017
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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    This made me smile. I remember my Grandmother on wash day. Wringer washer, a double basin laundry sink our of stone. Then at least one more tinwash tub for rinsing and the special washtub for rinsing the whites. Hanging laundry was a fifty foot hike involving 1 door, 1 gate and 10 stairs. She once told me "don't upset the laundry basket." I puzzled on that all day not sure if all baskets or just laundry basket had feelings. Once the laundry was dry it was taken of the line and then sprinkled with coke bottle with a sprinkling head. then carefully rolled and placed in a plastic bag and into the refrigerator.

    Grandmother ironed every thing including her brassiere. When Dad was in college he was required to mail his shirts home for laundering and were returned to him in an aluminum suitcase. Dad was trusted to wash his all other clothes.

    along with these memories I have Grandmothers clothespin bag and Dad still has the suitcase

  6. #5
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    Wow, so many memories have come flooding back. From my grandma doing lots of stuff with her cigarette balanced in her lips and that ash just hanging on....weird. My mom, wringer washers, sprinkle bottles, starch....oh my.

    Me, I kinda find ironing soothing....to a point. I iron all clothes (now my MIL ironed sweaters and sweatshirts....and she could never figure out why there were all stretched out....you could tell her NOTHING), pillow cases (hey that crispness makes me sleep better....I know, another weirdness), I draw the line with sheets....OK, I iron the top part. I like that crispness there too!
    As for quilts, yup, iron, but there are days I tell them, why can't you just stay flat on your own...I mean...work with me here....I get no respect! They will not do it, so I plug on. I do love a flat block.....
    Guess it's kinda a love/hate thing.....when it suits me...I'm selfish that way....

    But thanks for the walk down memory lane...

  7. #6
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    I enjoyed reading your stroll down memory lane. When I was younger I had to help iron my dads handkerchiefs........handkerchiefs! Never understood that one! . I also had to help iron shirts and other things and never enjoyed it and still don't.

    But for some reason, it makes me happy to press seams as I am working on a quilt. and I love the look of a freshly pressed quilt top once it it finished! Weird....I know.
    "I'm putting together a list of 100 reasons why I am NOT relentless!" - Sue Heck, The Middle

    Leonard: For God's sake, Sheldon, do I have to hold up a sarcasm sign every time I open my mouth?
    Sheldon (intrigued): You have a sarcasm sign?

  8. #7
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    Not weird, I think it is a normal attitude for a quilter. I don't like ironing clothes but happy to iron fabric and seams.

  9. #8
    Missouri Star

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    Jun 2016
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    Puyallup, Washington
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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    Corgi, your story made me reminisce back to my early childhood. Our family had a housekeeper/nanny for a short while, and while I was just a little bitty thing there are several things that I do remember about Miss Helen.

    1. She smelled so clean. To this day, I can't smell Pine Sol without thinking of her.
    2. I loved her dearly
    3. She was soft (plump) and when it was nap time for me, she would sit in Dad's Lazy Boy with me on her lap, and in no time at all, I was sleeping peacefully.
    4. When it was time to do the dishes, to keep me out of mischief, she would sit me on the counter to "help". I was so afraid of falling, that I sit pretty still the entire time, just drying silverware.
    5. And laundry day was my favorite. She'd set me in the basket, and after pulling the sheets off the clothes line she'd drop those sun warmed sheets on top of me. Oh that felt so grand, and I'd sit in that basket the whole time she was ironing all those sheets (while she sang gospel songs). Given a chance, if she turned her back, I'd grab hold of the sheet she was ironing, and pull it back into the basket with me. She never got mad at me, just laughed and re-ironed that sheet.

    As a teenager, it was my chore, to wash, dry, and iron my Dad's dress shirts. I would turn on the radio, and sing along all the while ironing his shirts. To this day, I don't mind ironing, whether it be clothes or quilt blocks.

  10. #9
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    Yes, I have some of those same memories. My mom had a Maytag wringer washer. The water started out hot. You washed the whites first, then the colored, towels, & the work pants & dark stuff last. There were 2 galvanized tubs used for rinsing. Clothes got hung on the line outside, unless it was bad weather, then they were hung on lines in the basement. I've always liked the smell of clean clothes hung outside in the fresh air. Mom sprinkled the items to be ironed one day, covered them with a towel in the laundry basket, then ironed the next day. We did not iron bedding, except pillow cases. My dad was a minister & wore white long-sleeved dress shirts. My mom would scrub the collars & cuffs with a brush & Fels Naptha bar soap to help get them clean before they went into the laundry water. Shirt collars & cuffs were dipped in a starch mix so they'd be stiff & crisp.

    I still have a hanky holder & some cloth hankies tucked away in a dresser drawer somewhere. The handkerchiefs (esp. the men's) got soaked first to help them get clean. All the hankies got ironed. When DH was still working & carried a hanky in his pocket, I always used to iron them. He had a certain way he wanted them folded.

    I seldom iron clothing items any more. When I'm piecing, my iron is always on. I press the seams & blocks religiously. I press all my fabric before cutting it. I'm still using a Black & Decker iron I bought on clearance at Penney's a few yrs. ago for $5.

    Thanks for the memories!

  11. #10
    Block Queen

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    Default Re: Ranting Reminiscence

    Thanks for the heartfelt reminiscence and I too have many fond memories of watching the lady who came once a week and helped my Mama with the laundry. Her name was Ethel and she had beautiful red hair and dipped snuff, which was always peeking out the sides of her mouth. Sweetest lady and a great teacher. She taught me to iron and I loved it as a child, not so much now. Brings to mind wonderful memories.

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