Thursday, April 30, 2009

Irons in the Fire

I love to iron! There, I've said it. Ironing is one household chore that has never been a chore to me.

When we were kids there were no perma press fabrics and my mom would need to iron all the cotton clothing. She would sprinkle everything with water first, roll them up inside a bath towel and place them in the refrigerator. She'd pull out each piece of clothing, one at a time and iron. I'm pretty sure there weren't any steam irons back then.

I think perhaps the one of the reasons I don't mind ironing is that I love to sew and you're required to press the seams as you work through the construction. I find it to be relaxing.

My previous iron was driving me crazy because it didn't have a teflon soleplate and my spray starch was sticking and burning. Yuck. I bought a new one.... very inexpensive.



My basic requirement is that an iron have a burst of steam capability.

Once, in a fit of extravagance, I invested in a pricey Rowenta iron. I was not impressed. It didn't do anything different than the inexpensive model and it broke in about the same time frame.

I've been ironing up a storm the past few days as I organize one of my linen closets. The people we bought this house from informed us that their architect who provided the plans was a woman. Whoa, you can sure tell by the number of closets she included. Each bedroom has it's own linen closet - that's four linen closets. There really aren't enough towels and sheets to fill them all so I've set aside one closet to house some out of season sweaters (on the very top shelf) and my table linens on the bottom.



Phew, that looks like a lot of tablecloths and napkins but I made most of them myself. Just a square piece of fabric, hemmed on all four sides. I rarely, if ever, use paper napkins.

So, now about you? Do you like to iron or avoid it like the plague?

Oh, by the way, my most dreaded household chore is emptying the dishwasher. I hate it!!!

29 comments:

Lynn said...

I SO agree about the dishwasher...I love loading it, but hate unloading it! When my kids were still at home, I gave them the job of unloading the dishwasher. Since they hated loading it, the division of labor pleased us all. Now that they're on their own, I try to get my husband to do it as often as possible. Also my secret pet peeve: people who "help" you unload the dishwasher without washing their hands first--ick!

Lucy said...

I always did like to iron. It was thinking time....or watching whatever television program with it. I so remember my mom sprinkling the clothes and rollint them up and I think they all went into a plastic bag. But with the age of plastic bags, that doesn't sound right. Anyway, I did the same thing as she did. It's been years since I've even plugged in an iron. In ways, I miss it. And yes...emptying the dishwasher is right up there with putting laundry away after it's folded. I hate that part.

Anonymous said...

For 30 years I had to iron all my husbands clothes for work. I HATE, HATE, HATE to iron!!! That was my favorite thing when he retired. Though, now he is home it seems all I do is cook. Maybe ironing wasn't so bad? LOL

Susan said...

Suzanne, I have one of those expensive Rowenta's, and I do not like it because it is so darn heavy. I have made some napkins, but have not been happy with the fabric choice. What do you look for when you want to make napkins? Thanks.

Molly said...

How funny! I just replaced my Rowenta with the consumer reports best model which I think was a Black and Decker (it's in the box it arrived in from Amazon).

I always helped iron. We had a glass Dr. Pepper bottle with a sprinkler nozzle fitted in it to sprinkle water on the clothes. But no one in the family put the damp clothes in the fridge. Was that to avoid mildew in hot weather?

AND in this little 1936 cottage, there are no closets, and I have closet envy!!

Vee said...

Ironing is not a favorite chore. My mother used to do all the things that your mother did. I remember the little sprinkle bottle with all the holes in its top. I liked the sound that it made when the water sloshed. The sound my mother made while ironing was less wonderful. She hissed or sucked in her breath. Apparently, she has texture issues and the resistance that the iron made on the fabric drove her nuts. Do you suppose that this has anything to do with how I feel about ironing?

We use only cloth napkins here, too, which I keep in a very large bowl on the kitchen table. I'd love to have all those closets. Did the lady architect also plan a lot of electrical outlets?

I agree about the Rowenta iron. Not impressed with mine either, but it's still working so I'm not switching yet.

Becky said...

Oh yeah, ironing was the thing. Even sheets! Even diapers! I began ironing at age 4....handkerchiefs. Then I graduated to pillow cases - all from the fridge. I keep a sprinkler bottle (RC cola) in my kitchen window as a nostalgic reminder. About the only ironing I do now is quilting fabric after I prewash it. Those were the days....weren't they??!!?? Becky

Jenni said...

I hate to iron, but it's not my most hated chore. Now that episodes of my favorite shows are online, I set the ironing board up in front of the computer and watch while I iron. It sure seems to go faster--even if it takes longer.

My favorite chore is doing dishes. My least favorite is definitely dusting.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

The dishwasher.... me hates it too.. seems there's always a few things you pull out that require a toweling off.. so what's the point.

Don't think I've ever killed an iron.. the thing will probably outlive me... the cord wore out once but Hubby replaced it and it was good to go again.

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Sarah (JOT) said...

Don't mind ironing. Making the transition to cloth napkins (just finishing up the stack/pile of paper ones before we move to HI). Most dreaded chore: dusting.

Kitty said...

I don't mind ironing. In fact, I used to take in ironing from the neighbors when I was a kid. I'd rather iron than do other household chores--especially dusting. Today's irons don't seem to get as hot as the old ones did so I have and old, heavy, non-steam iron I pull out when I need to iron those vintage linen or cotton items. Give 'em a spray of water from a fine mist spray bottle and just watch those wrinkles disappear! Geez--maybe I like ironing more than I thought...
P.S. I just pulled out all my cloth napkins a few days ago, got them washed up and began using them again. Not as much trouble as you'd think and we're saving a bit on paper waste and money.

chocolatechic said...

I wish a woman had designed this house.

The closet in my bedroom...I measured it...is 3' wide by 4' deep.

chocolatechic said...

Oh...as for ironing....just shoot me now!

Piecefulafternoon said...

I love to iron - and I often take out all my linens and wash (if I think that is necessary) and iron them. I love the look of a fresh stack of ironed linens.

We didn't have the sprinkler bottle - had to dip our hand in a bowl of water and "flick" it onto the clothes before rolling up to dampen them. Wonder why we didn't just take the clothes off the line while still a little damp and roll them up?

I look at Goodwill for woven checked tablecloths - and cut them up and make napkins from them. It is amazing how many people donate those big tablecloths - and it is much cheaper than buying napkins. We've used cloth napkins for over 40 years - saved a lot of paper from landfill in that time.

Texas Gardener said...

I have a list of things that I want my daughter to remember. One of the things on the list is don't spend a lot of money on an iron. I bought the Rowenta once, same experience as you. Now I buy the cheapest steam iron. I never have tried the teflon plate. That will have to be my next iron, I'm due for one soon. I do not like to iron, but line things up to iron and get a big diet coke and I'm content to tackle the job. It's fun to see the wrinkles disappear.

Anonymous said...

Man this brought back memories. Friday nights was the time we sprinkled and rolled. We put the clothes in a plastic bag, a big blue one. I don't know where it came from plastic bags weren't common. Saturday mornings, hair up in big rollers, I'd do the ironing. My job as a teen. It was usually done watching Saturday morning shows of which American Bandstand was one. I only iron my husbands dress shirt once a week now. It takes a half an hour at the most.

Steph said...

I stopped liking the iron when I was about 12. The iron fell over on my hand. I still have the scar!

Sand Flat Farm said...

Nope - mopping the floors is my hateful chore. I don't mind ironing as long as I can iron as we go (I'm ashamed to say) - haha. I have a huge basket of need-to-be-ironed and lots of hangers with need-to-be's, too. OR, if hubby gets real fiesty about me doing it that way, I load all his shirts & pants up and haul 'em to the cleaners. It's either wait for me to do it or pay through the nose at the cleaners. He's become a pretty patient guy after 31 years...

BittersweetPunkin said...

I would rather go to the Dentist...lol...not really. I actually need to buy another iron. I use mine to get stains out of the carpet...a trick I learned from a carpet cleaner. Soak a white washcloth in Dawn dish liquid and water, place it over the stain and then set a hot iron on top...it will lift the stain right off the rug.

That's about the extent of the workout that my iron gets.

Mogsie said...

LOL! I too bought a Rowenta ~ Hated the thing. I have a clunky old steamless iron that I absolutely adore for my sewing problems, and while I do own a steam iron for delicate things (prom dresses and the like) I pretty much do the old fashioned sprinkle thingy on a glass soda pop bottle :) It is the way I learned, many, many, many... (you get the idea) years ago.

heh... I love clean laundry ~ but I HATE to put it away. Dishes are another favorite, I unwind by doing them by hand...looking out the kitchen window at the sky as the world goes to sleep.

but!!! The next day we pretty much use the dishes directly out of the drainer...

lifeinredshoes said...

I like to iron, also bought the Rowenta, after it bit the dust I bought some cheapo Sunbeam with the same features for $20.00 and love it!
I also remember the whole sprinkle-roll method, thank goodness for steam! And I thought I was the only one out there that still bought spray starch.
Ditto on the dishwasher, I don't know what I'll do when #2 leaves home.

Anonymous said...

What is the best size for napkins?
Can I use some of the pretty Christmas prints that I see in quilt shops?

I like to do laundry but some people really hate that.

Diane said...

Suzanne, I enjoy ironing, especially newly washed fabric. I have to iron my work shirts every other day, and do not mind. When I was young, however, I only ironed the collar and the cuffs that showed under my sweater. Drove my mom crazy. What is it about unloading a dishwasher? I don't like doing it either. Not keen about cleaning the toilet either. If my sweetie had better aim, maybe it would be less unpleasant? I have had 3 new irons in the last 3 years. I buy the ones with lots of steam and high voltage, or whatever that is. I currently have a Rowenta, but it does not prove itselof to be any better than the others. I sew a lot and use lots of steam---like everyday. next time I will try the Black and Decker---or if anyone has a b etter suggestion, I am surely open to it. Love your blog. I'll visit often.

Leslie said...

I enjoy ironing, and I have a spray bottle that I use frequently. Ironing is instant gratification. See the wrinkle, see the wrinkle disappear. Happy sigh. (too bad there's no such easy remedy for the wrinkles on my face)
I used to hate unloading the dishwasher. I'm short and I hated putting plates away in the cupboards above my head. But now I use lightweight melamine plates for everyday and it's a breeze to put them away. And when I got married, lo these many years ago, I vowed to put all of my really heavy things in the low cupboards under the counter. I have lived by that rule and it makes things much easier. Growing up, my mom had so many things stored up high and I hated unloading the dishwasher and having to stretch my scrawny arms up so high with her mammoth pottery dishes balanced precariously in my youthful (translation, clumsy)hands. One of the joys of life is growing up and making your own rules -- you know, the ones where you can decide to eat cake for breakfast and to store your plates wherever you want to. Heh.
We've been using cloth napkins for awhile now and it's nice to know that we aren't adding to the landfill with our mealtime detritus.
The closets.... oh my heart sings at the thought of your closets. The house that we own was also designed by a woman, and we do have two linen closets, but to have one in each room, gasp! What a lovely thing that would be!
By the way, I love your blog. Your writing style is wonderful and I'm always eager to see what thoughts, tips, and outings you have to share!

Marfa (Formula For A Life) said...

Ironing has never been my thing. We take things out of the dryer immediately to avoid ironing like the dickens. But I enjoy dish washing. I find it fun to make a lot of foam with the soap, make some bubbles and I really, really, REALLY like the look of a superclean, sparkling sink, all dried up, with the wet dishes sitting clean and spotless on the rack. However, I hate putting them away!

LDF said...

For a while when I was a kid, our farmhouse had electricity and a tv but our friends' farmhouse an hour away didn't. They used to come over to visit us on Saturday nights, and my "auntie" ironed while her male family members watched Hockey Night in Canada on CBC TV. Maybe that's just a Canadian ("eh?") thing, but over the years I've talked to others who recalled women ironing while the menfolks watched hockey.

I don't mind ironing, in fact, I love the smell of hot starch on cotton or linen, and nice tidy fold creases. Just don't ask me to clean the fridge ... there is always some creepy science experiment hiding in there and waiting to give me nightmares!

Jill said...

I don't mind ironing at all... it's folding the laundry that drives me BATTY!!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I like ironing too Suzanne. I guess I like the mindlessness of it. I've had Rowenta irons and wasn't impressed - they both leaked eventually. I've had a Maytag cordless for 5 years now and have loved it. It was pricey, I think $125, but I'd pay it again. However, I also have an inexpensive Black and Decker in the camper and like it too. I love spray starch and always have a can sitting beside the ironing board. Plus a spray bottle of water - I use it liberally even when I'm steaming. The more water the better I say! blessings, marlene

Anonymous said...

Could you share the brand or where you bought your iron? It looks like it may have the kind of soleplate I am looking for-teflon & pointy at the tip...