Monday, January 07, 2013

Songs my Mother taught me #3

Here we go around a juniper bush is a Christmas feast song where the children are singing about laundry. So do we do when we wash our cloths, rinse our cloths, hand up our cloths, roll our cloth, iron our cloth, wash our floor and go to church and home again.
Laundry was supposed to be done Monday morning, or late Sunday evening really. My mother was constant about keeping the Sunday holy, but before bedtime Sunday night she would put very dirty clothes to soaking the night over, likewise the whitewash to cook the night over. Next day she would scrub by hand every single item and put them over in rinse tanks, 3 at least, before hanging it out to dry in open air

 My mother had two children in 15 months and an endless row of diapers.
There was no folding, there were stretching, rolling and ironing. 
Except for wool of course.
My mother taught me how to handle wool. Later on when we too had washing machine and dry tumbler, she would never, ever put wool in a machine. Even the bought wool under wear was washed by hand. Why??

 Till her last year at home my mother preferred drying under open air to tumbler. She fell, of course, but that did not stop her.

Wool is both strong and delicate at the same time. If you wash it in say, warm water and rinse it in cold water, which will happen in a machine, it will inevitably shrink. Wool must be washed and rinsed in the same lukewarm temperature.
If you shrub, rub or centrifugate a wool jumper it will shrink, get knotty and out of shape.

Outside the home where I grew up in my red sweater.

After you have gently crushed and squeezed the wool garment, clean in mild, liquid soap or shampoo,rinse it at least three times in water of the same temperature. Never use fabric softener, but you may need a teaspoon of 7% vinegar if you are afraid the colors will bleed.
Then find a bath towel, lay e,t,c, the pullover on  the towel, fold and roll it hard till its about dry. Especially jumpers should be dried lying. If you hang them, they tend to go out of shape. When dry, you may steam iron gently with a cloth between the iron and the jumper.
Some yearn says the are mashinewashable, believe me, they are not. Some machines claim to have a wool program. Believe me, it doesn't work.
How can I be so persistent? Because I didn't listen to my mother and ruined beautiful, home knitted garments.
Even at the home where my mother spent her last months they managed to ruin a beautiful, bought 500 dollars jacket of wool and silk. In a machine.
I've chosen to illustrate my point by showing a red jumper my mother knitted to me when I was two years old.

Mr. Nisse likes reading. Like me he's fond of John Cowart's books. And the sweater is still red. 

I used it till I grew out of it, then I passed it to toddler Serina and some years thereafter the youlenisse (Santa Claus Norwegian style) was dressed up in the same sweater.
He's still going strong. the jumper had 60 years jubilee this winter.

Since the jumper is red I also sign this up for Ruby Tuesday 2. 

 Photo and poem © 2012 by Magical Mystical Teacher

Ruby Tuesday 2


Unknown said...

Children singing about laundry- that made me smile :) I love your motherly advice, I can really benefit from these types of lessons. Thank you.
The sweater is beautiful.

Debbie Petras said...

I love to hear songs sung in Norwegian. Such fun! I can still hear my own mother and grandmother singing like this. My mom always used to hang our clothes out to dry. She used to have an old fashioned machine in our basement where the clothes would go through a wringer. Later on, she had a regular washing machine but never a dryer.

Blessings and love,

Diane said...

It is odd how we can come from completely different cultures and be half a world away, yet our mothers taught us so many similar lessons about life and living. Wool is so delicate once it becomes wet. I still cringe when washing mine because I am so afraid I will get it wrong and ruin something beautiful! Thank you for this tutorial; I never wrote down the things Momma taught me about dealing with woolen laundry. Now, I have your tutorial and can copy it and keep it handy! Thank you so, so much! And, my woolen clothing thanks you as well! Have a blessed day!

Gemma Wiseman said...

An impressive, interesting post! And a jumper that has lasted for 60 years is really impressive! I too knew most of these details from my mother - except for the vinegar suggestion!

Felisol said...

:D Vinegar can be used in machines too. It stops bleeding and it is anti bacterial important for fabric below 60 Cecilius degrees. Put it in the rinse chamber.
Fabric softener on the other hand stays in the fabric and often creates skin allergy reactions.

Jackie said...

Great post but oh my I do so love the shot of the tulips...your flowers are beautiful!!

Happy RT!:-)

Liz said...

What a lovely post. I see the jumper is still in great condition.

My entries:
Liz (mcn)
Liz (mot)

Aritha said...

I've read it this morning but now I write a comment. I love to look at the old pictures. They are so amzing. Thanks for it. My mama also hang the clothes outside! They smell so ... ( whats english name - in Dutch: lekker).

Have a good evening.

Chubskulit Rose said...

We still do laundry like that in the Philippines.

Hopping from RT.
My Ruby Tuesday Post

Jada's Gigi said...

what a fun post! we sing "mulberry bush" in the states...but never really have done laundry by hand in my generation. I do however remember hanging laundry out to dry and does ti ever smell wonderful when dried this dryer sheet or fabric softener can come close! I too had 2 babies in diapers....NOT fun! lol

Mrs. Mac said...

I love reading about your mother's knowledge! Clothes on the line outside are so much fresher and crisp. I have set up my indoor clothes racks at the top of the stairs where the wood heat rises. Two loads a day can be completely dried. In honor of your mom, if you click on the Sister's newest blog on the word 'scarf' near the beginning of post .. it will link to our scarf's visit to Norway .. including your mother wearing it. May her love continue to warm you and shine for others to see and remember her. Love,

Felisol said...

Oh, I should have known that You had an ingenious solution to the Clothe drying problem, Mrs. Mac.
Great thinking.
I've reread my scarf post. Funny, I had forgotten every word I wrote.
It was all done in a hurry.
Bitter sweet memories.
I have inherited my mother's Bible, my brother got the one belonging to my father. That felt so right. Just today I showed it to two former hiker friends of mine who were visiting.
My Mom's love is shining through in my own as well as her own.
She was a sharer, so many of our relatives and friends were touched and "gifted" by her.

Saija said...

what lovely memories ... some of them are similar to mine ... my heart is broken for your loss, yet rejoicing that one day all mothers and daughters, in JESUS, will be reunited ... ((hugs)) to you dear one ...

Amrita said...

these are things to hold on to as they make life more meaning, and give us treasures to pass on to the next generation. I love the photos. I remember you showing us the beautiful hand made dresses your mother made, the traditional Norwegian clothes. My mama was a knitter too, I have preserved her work