Sunday, 8 January 2012

How Not to Iron (etc)

The only thing in favour of ironing in the HenHouse is that it gets done in the Den because that's where the ironing board (and it's friend, the iron,) lives. It lives here solely because patchwork necessitates a lot of ironing which does rather elevate the simple yet deathly task of ironing to another level.

How better to improve the terrible task than making sure one is ironing lovely things? For there's nothing quite so deathly as a week's worth of men's shirts with all their fiddly collars and cuffs in their boring pale colours; ooh a stripe, maybe a mini check, how riveting. Funnily enough, ironing the latest influx of fat quarters or, ultimate fave, the embroidered cloths, takes this task to giddy heights!

Yesterday, the HenHouse gang set off on a little family outing to Lewes, an outing which has many things going for it before one sallies forth from the threshold.

  1. Ability to travel by rail from local station five minutes walk away, to station right in the heart of Lewes (at reasonable price with Family Railcard).
  2. Prior knowledge that "The Patchwork Dog and Basket", splendid shop retailing all manner of fabric and quilty "must haves" shall be open.
  3. Plentiful smattering of charity shops which just might yield reasonably priced goodies donated by the good folk of the desirable catchment area (or at very least, StarWars books to keep obsessed son happy).
  4. Plethora of other fine vintage-selling establishments to facilitate hours of moochy, browsy pleasure not facilitated on the boring old high street.
  5. Bumping into and chatting with the Mavellous Mary of the Vintage Cottage, whose amazing collection of vintage I have long admired from afar on Flickr. Who would have thought it? (Ok, this is not one I knew about before leaving home. Just an added bonus but it will be on the list next time, just in case Mary often frequents the vintage establishments of Lewes, and you know, I think she just might.)
  6. Possibility of making feline aquaintances along the way and indulging in a hefty furry-purry stroking session. (Yes, I added this one afterwards too.)

(Hen with divine furry friend outside one of Lewes' vintage establishments.)

Find number one, which also happened to be in need of ironing, this rather divine floral vintage pillow case (which is rather giant, so suspect may be of European origins). Will it ever be cut up and made into other "things", knowing that Hen indeed has a weakness for justifying the purchase of such items for said purpose but never bringing herself to do the same?

Embroidered pillowcases: how can ironing not be a pleasure when smoothing out these little beauties? Who in this day and age, would find the time to beautifully embroider something just to lay one's weary head and close one's eyes upon (and snore the night away in the case of a certain inhabitant of the HH)? Thank goodness our talented predecessors did.

Find number two from Lewes: a barkcloth floral curtain. Ah ha, have been meaning to make new vintagey cushions for the sitting room for some time thinks Hen, this shall be just the thrifty ticket, lots of fabric for a bargain price. Better give that an iron, and ironing barkcloth which doesn't crease much in the first place, is so satisfying, yes indeedy.

Find from another outing in Bridders: a rather delightful vintage embroidered anti-macassar (what a super word). Whilst ironing such a beauty, one can basically forget the task in hand and instead transport oneself to a scene of sharp pleasure, chopping up said cloth and re-purposing into something more useful and still beautiful for the current day. Hmm, methinks a patchwork quilt is in the offing.

Entirely forget ironing at this point and ponder fabrics still on the cutting table, newly arrived from American shores this week, a late-delivered Christmas pressie from one's other half. Consider that they shall patchwork delightfully with the aforementioned perfectly ironed anti-macassar for a vintagey 1930's inspired quilt.

Realise that many more fabrics will need to be selected to go into making the perfect patchwork quilt. Find it handy that ironing board/iron are stationed in Den where one can peruse stash to arrive at ideal patchworky blend after much detailed consideration. Might there even be ... (gasp) ... gaps in stash that need filling? Should I just nip onto the computer for ooh, a few minutes, and see if there's anything suitable out there. No, no, nooooo, bad idea. Would not help get the ironing done?

Thinking of stash, wonder quite where I am going to stash newly arrived fabrics lingering on cutting table (x 2 lots from America, and trip to Patchwork Dog and Basket). Hmmm.

Realise that despite fabric buying sessions of previous weeks, I still don't have a fabric suitable for the border on this doll-sized sampler quilt.

Accept with a sigh, that heavenly as fabric pondering has been, ironing shall not do itself.

Stoically turn back to face the ironing...

... and feel grateful for presence in one's life of furry friend with in-built desire to cosy down in piles of freshly washed laundry.


  1. You have such a lovely 'ironing room' Hen! I don't even mind ironing shirts but to be surrounded by so many pretty fabrics would make the whole job seem worthwhile. x

  2. Happy New Year Hen.
    I need help and not just with ironing!
    Fabric fabric everywhere :(
    Wish I had a litle Hen helper xx

  3. Love this post Hen, your den is a delight, all the scrummy fabric oooh L O V E .. have a great day :)
    Mantha xx

  4. Wow that is a very impressive collection of fabrics x

    Leah x

  5. have a nice large pile to wade through there Hen!
    I've just tackled "some" of mine....then lost the will to live and came down stairs to forage for left over xmas stollen and tea!
    I've got some "homework" to do now for my job interview......thank goodness for the net!

    I love the mini quilt.....and all your new fabric is lush!


  6. can't stop drooling over your fabrics! you must be pretty stash-happy!!happy new year from Scarborough, jennyx

  7. I have an admission... Mr Jam does the ironing in our house! Leaves me free to iron the pretty fabrics.
    Looks like you had a lovely day out. Now get that Mr HH introduced to the ironing board!

  8. Oh what a beautiful room. I dream about a space like that. I would gladly come over and do the ironing and share a cup of tea. I just blogged about my new space. Nothing like yours but it still makes me happy. Hugs

  9. Just give me the nod and I'll come and iron in your den, I'd probrably have burn marks in the back of all the shirts mind you as my eyes would be wandering all over that fabulous stack of fabrics not to mention my fingers "touching and feeling" as I pulled out one or two"!! Love the late christmas present fabrics in the piccie I'm sure you'll make a fab quilt out of them, Lucey x

  10. Wonderful fabrics, and wonderful vintagey - vintagy, is that a word, oh well it is now ironing, may I come and iron in your den.........?
    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

  11. Your den is so lovely, that in it's self must take the pain of ironing away?
    I found the photo of the young women, patting the cat spooky as she looks just like my eldest daughter!

  12. What a GORGEOUS post! You have me drooling with fabric envy! I too have a den with the same ironing board cover to make said task more pleasurable, but alas the same fairies have been here ... the shirts sit in a pile as I iron lovingly the new tea towels I have bought to cut up and sew together in patchwork! I love your mini shelf bunting, what a great idea .... I might just have to make some of that! Hope your won't mind?
    Heather x

  13. I was in Lewes the other how did I miss all those lovely finds?!!
    Have a pile of embroidered pillowcases waiting in the laundry basket.Now THEY are always a pleasure to iron.
    Happy week Hen. :0)

  14. Such a lovely post Hen, and you know me so well already! Go to Lewes frequently? You bet I do! Obviously you got there before me, otherwise you would never have found the lovely pillowcase. This is spooky - I picked up that cat too for a stroke! Did you see its litter brother, also pure white? The owner said that they are both un-neutered, and a female cat keeps parading very provocatively, so her 2 are constantly at the shop front! Going back to ironing, yes it's a chore, but how satisfying is a pile of freshly ironed vintage goodness, all warm and smelling of fresh air! Mary x

  15. I have just started patchwork classes and would like to make a vintage quilt. Your post has given me some ideas on how to go about go about it............xx

  16. lovely post! you have so many beautiful fabrics

  17. Lewes one of my favourite towns, so many places to look at. Ironing, like you love ironing my fabrics but everyday ironing ugh!!!
    Have a great week.

  18. I have a small space in my fabric cupboard. I will store them for you.( as long as I can look at drool on and stroke them from time to time. ) I realise it is a long way for you to come to retrieve them. ( he he.)

  19. If you don't have room on your shelves for your lovely new fabrics Hen, you know where to send them.
    I'd need a bigger cupboard though....

  20. Your house is SO pretty, I feel a need for more pink in my life. A thought, do you worry about your fabrics getting a fade line where the folded edge is facing the room? They are so pretty to see your whole stash (or part of!) Or do you use it fast enough not to bother about it? I love vintage pillowcases too, probably from summers at my Grans, all the beds had them.
    Love your kittens too, quilts need cats!

  21. Ha! I too keep the ironing board and iron in my den. Lovely finds of yours Hen, especially that barkcloth curtain, its very cheerful.

    Thanks for your comment too on my blog. It's a shame that we don't live closer as I would be happy to give you a knitting tutorial!

  22. Hi Hen
    Happy New Year to you and yours! Did you go to the 40s night on NYEve?
    Just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for an award over on my blog. Don't worry if you're not the 'award' type, I won't be offended if you don't want to do anything with it!
    All the best

  23. My iron and ironing pad is kept in my workroom! All that dyed fabric and silk ribbon needs to be ironed but seldom iron clothes! Waste of precious time!

  24. I don't do ironing! I only buy clothes that I can get away with not ironing, now I've started in LA I need to be careful :( Lovely white pussy cat! x
    PS John is a great name for a cat, I've always wanted a cat called John!

  25. The fabric on the left that you got for Christmas is Pamkitty morning. I love that fabric. I have probably bought twenty yards from that line. I have some of that blue flowery fabric and just love it. You are so organized. How do you manage to keep your work area so neat? When I am working on a project, there are jumbled piles of fabric everywhere.

  26. Isn't it funny how ironing vintagey goodies is a pleasure but shirts & t-shirts are a chore?
    I think I need a word with Mr HH about that stash....never mind visiting fabric shops, you should open one! have my skirt!

  27. I love the vintage fabric, so pretty! I find ironing to be very relaxing. I used to iron for my Grandma when I was little and she used to say that while ironing out the wrinkles in the fabric, we could think about how to iron out the wrinkles in our lives. So true I might add. I do seem to do a lot of thinking while ironing. Lovely pictures, I enjoyed viewing them!


You are warmly encouraged to leave a comment here. Your comments are emailed directly to me so rest assured I read and treasure every one. Thank you for supporting my blog with your comment. X