Starch or No Starch? What’s Starch?

There are three kinds of people in the world – those who love to iron, those who hate to iron, and those who have no earthly idea what an iron is.

1898 sad irons ad

I’m not quite old enough to remember using these…

I love the scent of starch and warm cotton.  When I was growing up, my parents gave us regular chores to do, and a regular allowance, but we could always pick some of the extra chores and earn extra money.  I think this idea was genius.  We got to pick chores we liked, and we could make money.  I got one cent for every two handkerchiefs that I ironed, one cent for each pillowcase, and five cents for each of my dad’s shirts.

Ironing also seemed like a very grown-up thing to do, and as an additional attraction, all the items to be ironed were already clean and dry.  I don’t mind getting grubby if I have to, but given a choice between peeling slippery pears for canning, pulling stickery weeds from the dirt, or smoothing out a white broadcloth shirt until it’s crisp, I’ll take the clean task every time.  (That may be why I went into weaving and quilting, instead of pottery like my husband and daughters.)


two favorite heirlooms

Nowadays, I have two irons.  The one I use nearly every day is my grandmother’s iron.  I love its weight and old woven cord.  The other one was a gift from my mother-in-law – she was cleaning out the house of her deceased sister-in-law, and she saved the tiny old iron for me.  I thought it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten.

Old tools and old routines can bring back lots of happy memories.

And if you wonder about the name “sad irons” in the advertisement above, History Myths Debunked will fill you in on the origin of that name.