Saturday, June 30, 2012

So Much Sunshine!

Look!  I've gotten my camera working again!

We have now entered the time of year which can be not so affectionately named "the oven" in my little corner of the world.  Sadly, what gets baked is all the plants and animals outside.  I have heard tell of recipes for 'dashboard cookies' though, which may be something fun to try.  (The idea is that you put cookie dough on cookie sheets on the dashboard of your car and when you leave work you have fresh baked cookies.  It does actually get hot enough here for that to work.)  As much as I prefer it to be nice and warm, I'm not a big fan of being roasted just by going outside for 10 minutes.  It makes mowing the yard extra interesting, and probably makes my neighbors hate me, because I have to start mowing at like 8am when the day is relatively cool or I can get seriously sick.  Working in a lab where I have to wear a sweater in the middle of summer does nothing for heat stamina and I've been prone to getting heat sick since I got heat exhaustion as a kid.  It makes me sad because I do love being outdoors and I positively love warm weather and sunshine.  I swear I'm solar powered.  But, I have come up with a compromise that lets me spend a bit of time outside, makes a never ending chore bearable, and saves me money.  The answer is in the laundry.

Laundry and dishes are the two things which never seem to end.  There are always more to do.  Always.  Last year my laundry room got almost unbearably hot as we had a massive heat wave and my drier isn't terribly efficient which added to the heat.  One day it suddenly seemed really dumb to use the dryer at all.  Sure, it got my clothes dry, but my air conditioner was already running far more than I would have preferred  and the extra heat from the laundry room certainly wasn't helping.  In a fit of inspiration I went to the store and, upon my return, tied my newly acquired rope to my trees, opened some packages of clothes pins, and started hanging my wash out to dry the old fashioned way.  I've been doing that on warm days ever since.

There is something about hanging laundry on the line that is extremely soothing.  I have no idea why it should be that way, but it is.  It also saves a ton of work which I hadn't anticipated.  You would think that all the hanging would make it take longer, but it doesn't.  If you do it right you can greatly decrease, or eliminate all together, the need to iron.  I hate ironing and so avoid it at every opportunity but there are some things you just can't wear wrinkled.  When I'm line drying my nice shirts I try to smooth out as many wrinkles as I can and if the day is hot enough with just a touch of humidity it the wrinkles just go away.  The shirts are the hardest to get wrinkle free, but pants are super easy and sheets!  The sheets are amazing.  They get all flat and crisp and feel exactly like they were ironed but it takes none of the work and they smell like fresh air and sunshine.  I adore line dry sheets.  Towels are the only things that sometimes give me trouble.  They like to get stiff and I've figured out that it happens because of how my washer spins the water out of them.  The towels that stick to the drum get stiff, the ones that tumble about a bit more stay fluffy.  If you don't mind a towel that's a bit scratchy the first time you use it, and I'm lazy and cheap so it doesn't bother me, that isn't a problem.  Otherwise you have to put it through a light fluff cycle in the drier. 
My old clothes pin bag

My biggest problem child, when it comes to line drying laundry at least, are the damn clothes pins.  You have to use them, only towels and sheets will stay on the line by themselves.  Everything else has to be pinned down.  Last year I made a cute little bag to store them, which I thought would make life super easy.  HA!  Not so much.  I made a simple drawstring bag and it turns out that is exactly what you don't need.  It's a cute little bag and all but you have to hold it to be able to get the clothes pins out which takes almost as much time as having to grab them out of a pile.  This year I have a solution.  A bag made specifically for clothes pins, designed to hang from the line or ride along with you as laundry is hung and taken down.

It really is amazing that such a simple thing can improve efficiency so much but that is just what this little bag does.  Pin it to the clothes line or wear it around your neck or over a shoulder like a purse and clothes pins will forever be within your reach.

The Clothes Pin Bag

My new clothes pin bag!
 This clothes pin bag will hold 100 standard wooden clothes pins easily and can be made to hold more (see photos below)

55 g Red Heart Super Saver (about 105 yards)
I hook

Gauge:  About 3 1/2 sc per inch

Round 1:  10 dc in first chain.  Join and turn. (10 sts)
Add more space by clipping pins to the outside of the bag
Round 2:  Ch2, 2dc in each st around.  Join and turn.  (20 sts)
Round 3:  C2, 2 dc in each st around.  Join and turn.  (40 sts)
Round 4:  Ch2, (2dc, dc 3) around.  Join and turn.  (50sts)
Rounds 5 and 6:  Ch1, sc around.  Join and turn.
Rounds 7-9:  Ch3, skip 1 st, (dc, ch1, skip next st) around.  Join and turn.
Rounds 10-14: Repeat rounds 5-9.
Rounds 15-16:  Repeat rounds 5 and 6.
Round 17:  Work as for round 7 until there are 20 dc, counting the ch 3.  Turn.
Round 18:  Work as for round 8 over the 20 dc of the previous round.  Turn.
Round 19:  Work as for round 9 over the 20 dc of the previous round.  Ch13, join and turn.
Round 20-23:  Repeat rounds 5-8.  Break off, weave in ends.

Draw String
Ch 80, break off.
You can make your draw string longer if you want to be able to carry the bag around with you, 80 sts is the minimum you need.  I tend to make my draw strings shortish because I usually hang the bag from the line instead of carrying it.

Thread the draw string through the (dc, ch 1) round that is second from the top.  Pull the opening closed and tie the ends of the draw string together.

You can use clothes pins to fence in more clothes pins if you need the bag to hold more


  1. Just stopped by to say hello. I don't always comment but enjoy your posts. Stay Cool!

  2. Thanks! This is just what I need. My old clothes pin bag just bit the dust and I've got tons of yarn from various projects to use up that this will be perfect for.

  3. Would work excellently for keeping the plastic grocery bags in that we recycle as trash can liners! Awesome! I can't have a clothesline where I live or I would use it for clothespins. Thanks.

  4. Here I am in need of ... and here you are having just posted just what I was in need of. Too cool. Thanks loads. (went in search for a clothes pin bag on Ravelry)

  5. Thanks, everybody! It's so nice to hear that people actually enjoy my ideas. I'll try to be less of a slacker and keep them coming!