Monday Is Washday

Monday is washdayCan you imagine having to go to this extreme to get your clothes clean?

The neighbor through the fields had a wringer washer while Ms. SpoolTeacher’s mother had a washer that had a spin cycle. It was much more fun to watch the wringer washer work.

These days, the Tiny House Movement is bringing them back into fashion; the tubs with the plunger and a wringer.

Ms. SpoolTeacher does have a washer with a spin cycle. It is old, old, old. It’s a Kenmore. Her mother bought it used, and when it broke down, she and Ms. ST shared the expense of repairing it since Ms. ST did her laundry there often while helping her mother with other things. Ms. SpoolTeacher inherited it when her mother passed. She has used it now for the19 years she has had it. She can still hear her mother say, “Did you wipe the lid down?” She never does anymore, but was faithful to do so for her mother. The washer clunks now, but Ms. SpoolTeacher intends to use it until it dies and then try to revive it once again. Otherwise she may have to try the plunger. hanging clothes on the line

She does hang her clothes on a line though, unless it is something black for which the sun and wind won’t remove the lint enough and it is a dress-up something black. Otherwise, it all goes to the line and the crispiness and crinkles she is now fond of as well as the wonderful fresh smell. If it is about to rain, all the better as it will rinse them one more time with soft rainwater and get more of the detergent and crinkles out. She doesn’t iron much either. How to hang clothes on a clothesline “Don’t leave clothes pegs on the line – That’s sloppy.” Ms. SpoolTeacher is “sloppy”.

The good old White sewing machineMs. SpoolTeacher has had her sewing machine since she was 16. It was a Christmas present she insisted her mother buy her when she saw her mother getting one for her older sister who was getting ready to leave home and who really didn’t like sewing, never sewed, all the while Ms. ST was filled to capacity with a desire to sew, sew, sew.

Her mother thought every girl should have a sewing machine for survival. Well, she’s here to tell you it has served her survival well. She likes mechanical machines, not computerized. One with moving parts that can be repaired.

Cams for different stitchesThis day, good old faithful White sewing machine was working on repairs for a gentleman who brings Ms. ST all his worn out tattered things for second life, (sometimes third or even forth lives).

She had done this repair before, but has perfected it…adding patches to the knees of old jeans.

Gentleman had brought two pairs this day and one to use for the patches. two legs of different pairs, each needing a patch

The leg with the hole will get a patch. The other will wait for a hole.

She set about cutting patches from the old pair. That pair had had patches put on sometime earlier so she cut one of those patches out to use as a pattern.

Previous patch used as a patternUsing the back of the legs of the worn out jeans, she made the new patch a little longer than the old patch.

opening the inside seam She opens the seam that isn’t “flat felled” because otherwise the leg is inaccessible by the machine. The patch is placed over the worn section placing the long side so that it will overlap the seam that will be restitched later. This way, a whole side of the patch will be taken in with the seam and not be vulnerable to fraying.

She then sets up her machine with the stretch stitch cam and sets the stitch length to it’s longest length and stitch width to it’s widest (as required for the stretch stitch).

Lucy supervising  Lucy supervises.

using a cutting board to pin the patch  She pins the patch on using a “kitchen cutting pad” (it’s hard to pin on the soft pad of the ironing board and keep it from attaching to the other side of the leg) and uses the stretch stitch to secure the three exposed sides of the patch and a regular straight stitch for the part that will be in the seam.

gray thread matches bestIt’s hard to see the stretch stitch that is used on the three exposed sides as the gray thread matches the jeans color pretty will. As it turned out, none of the blue colors in her collection came as close to being “invisible” as did the gray. Oh, and, very important..she uses a heavy duty needle, a “jeans needle” if she has one.

while sewing the machine frozeJust as she was humming along, the needle froze in a down position. The only way to release it was to take the bobbin out. While doing so, she cleaned all the parts before putting them back. It helped a lot. It ran much more smoothly thereafter.

now to re-stitch the broken seam  Now to re-stitch the broken seam. Turn pants wrong side out, match edges and spool them back together.The patch sandwiched between to layers of pants  Here you can see the patch sandwiched between the two layers of pants and to be secured within the seam.

Good for another go 'roundRight side out…easy peasy, a repaired old pair of jeans. Good for another go ’round.

The moral of the story? Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

She thinks it’s time to become a consumer-less society  Consume less. Years ago, when Ms. SpoolTeacher was miserable at work, wondering how she could get through another day of doldrums and thinking about hanging clothes on a line with a sense of leisure…it dawned on her that if she didn’t have so many needs, she wouldn’t have to work as much. This started when her company (then, Home Depot) in it’s attempts to reduce costs, started offering its “associates” the opportunity to use sick days to take time off (when the company needed it instead of when you needed it). They even got to a point where they offered associates to go home without pay if they so chose. Ms. ST jumped at every chance. She was so, so, so, so miserable. Before long, she was making ends meet with $6,000 less a year. She kept pushing the envelope until she was able to take her 401K earnings and quit altogether. She was lucky she did it just before the crash and the “economy” extracted more wealth from it’s citizens to keep up their ponzi schemes.

Ms. SpoolTeacher is a firm believer that a bird in the hand is way more valuable than two in the bush; i.e., take the money and run for your life. Make up your own life on the fly. Don’t worry, be happy. Why “work” for things that really don’t make you happy.

And a sewing machine is essential for survival. At least it has been for her.

Growing food is like printing moneyGrowing food is like printing money. Cherry tomatoes were $3.99 for a small box this week at Safeway. Free, free, free from Ms. SpoolTeacher’s First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy and all she has to do is step outside and troll the front yard for “ripies”.

“Go on, take the money and run.”

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