January 4th, 2013
I spent the bulk of last night ironing what seemed an endless pile of recently washed cotton yardage. I rubbed and steamed and pressed until my arm was ready to fall off. And unlike this smiling model, I was neither perfectly coiffed nor smiling by the time I finished.
On the other hand, I’ve only had my own washing machine for a year now (after a decade of NYC apartment-imposed laudromatting), and I still get a little giddy every time I use it, even if it means more ironing. Plus it’s fun to dream about all the things you’re going to sew while prepping the fabric. At least that’s what I kept telling myself…
And yeah, me and my lightweight Rowenta know it could have been worse:
“Ironing.—This has, through all time, been a wearisome, worrying process, at times, in the experience of all. The day has, I hope, nearly gone by, when “good fires” will be kindled and kept up, (perhaps through a whole day, while the thermometer ranges at 90,) just that a family ironing may be accomplished. In cities, where we have gas, an elastic tube is introduced into a flat iron made for the purpose ; and at a cost of about four cents an hour, we have a perpetually heated flat iron. For those who have not gas, an equally pleasant spirit iron, with a wick lit by alcohol, performs the labour. They are for sale at Wilcox’s, 273 Chestnut st. The cost is about $6.”
What I Know, Or, Hints on the Daily Duties of a Housekeeper, Elizabeth Nicholson, 1856, Philadelphia
Don’t tell my current iron (which has been my staunch ally lo these many years), but I’m actually about to retire it to the laundry room. A dear friend and lifelong seamstress recently astonished me by passing along her professional steam iron, complete with external water tank. What a generous gift! I need to install a ceiling hook before I can start using it though.