Ironing The White Hankies

A pile of ironed hankies

There were many times throughout the day that I thought about hiring someone to iron the hankies.

I imagined dropping the whole box of hankies off to Lena and Fanny, our neighbors who helped me skirt my wool.  Then I pictured them heating their heavy irons on the woodstove in their kitchen and standing at the wooden ironing board that I’ve seen in their house on Laundry day.

But I didn’t ask them.  I just kept ironing.

Maybe it’s the obsessive in me, or perhaps there was something cathartic in finally emptying out the box of hankies.  In pressing them flat and actually seeing each one and sorting them according to how I planned to use them.

I kept thinking it was a  good thing to do for the new year.

Every time someone sent me hankies, I’d use the colorful ones to make scarves, but the white ones went into the box.  The box grew bigger with each year to accommodate all the white hankies.  Someday, I knew I’d find a use for them, but just the thought of going through them all was daunting.

My box of white hankies with some of the letters from the people who sent them.

It was still daunting yesterday when I opened the box and saw all the crumpled-up hankies.  But today, once I started ironing, I couldn’t stop.

A couple of the  hand embroiled hankie corners

I sorted them by size, then put aside the ones that had special embroideries on the corners. I’ll use those for something else.

I pulled off the little sticky labels on some of the hankies which came from all over the world.

My piles of hankies at the end of the day

It felt so good at the end of the day to have the hankie out of the box, and out in the open.  I do believe that they hold energy and clearing them out from under my worktable, is a release and relief.

When I went into my studio this morning I wasn’t sure if I’d work on the hankies or my Blessed Mother. She is definitely more of a challenge, so it was easy to procrastinate with the Hankies.

Although I’ve come to trust myself when I delay starting or finishing a piece. It always seems to come around at just the right time, even if I have no idea when or why.

Now that the hankies are ready, tomorrow I’ll have the choice, once again, of which to work on again.

10 thoughts on “Ironing The White Hankies

  1. I so love the pile of hankies and would have gladly ironed them for you, I find ironing very meditative, in fact years ago while talking with my mother I mentioned when I couldn’t sleep or was stressed I would pull out my iron and ironing board and start ironing the clothes in my closet even though they were not in need. A few days later she brought over a laundry basket full of cotton clothing for me to iron, this went on for about a year until my little sister stopped wearing cotton clothing. I have a large collection of hankies and have made everything from sachets to bed quilts, curtains are a favorite and folding them just right to make a dress or gown on a greeting card. A few years ago I bought a book on crafting them for fashion doll clothes. One of the first areas in at flea markets, thrift and antique shops is the linens, I usually come home with 2 or 3 hankies, and don’t even get me started on old aprons. I look forward to seeing what you do with your hanky treasures. Have a Happy New Year.

    1. looks like my day yesterday was just a normal one for you Deborah. I looked at your blog and love your goddesses. I’m sure some of my readers would love to see them, so I”m sharing the link to your blog.

      Have fun with whatever you decide to do with your goddesses!

  2. How nice and odd, but partly horrible for me: I ironed yesterday for catharsis. Our favorite niece Genny, her 14-year–old son and her ex-husband, all lived in Louisville. CO, now a pile of ashes. They are safely in a shelter with their assorted cats and dogs and will move on to her mother’s place In the south of the state. Genny had just sold her house on December 21st. It is like a Greek tragedy

    1. It is certainly odd Erika. I’m so sorry for your niece and all the other people who are in the same situation. I’m glad to hear your niece is safe with all her loved ones. I wish them all the best.

  3. Also strange and eerie: over the last 3 days I was transferring “live” addresses from my old tattered address book to a new one. When I went to the new one to find Genny and her mother’ s email addresses I discovered that I had omitted Gennie’s new mailing address etc.

  4. Genny’s house is standing, unharmed, but smoke damage needs dealing with. It is in a part of what is called mosaic pattern –some houses on the street burnt to the ground and some are not. She was allowed in th chevk it, but not yet to stay. The other house is burnt completely.

    1. That’s amazing Erika. I’m glad for your niece even with all the work she’ll have to do to recover her house. I can’t even imagine what that must feel like.

  5. Maria – What a wonderfully satisfying project that must have been to complete!

    I’m curious if that is an older GE iron featured in the last picture. It looks like one my mother gave me in 1975 when I was going away to college. (I don’t imagine there are many 18 year olds taking irons to college any more!) I loved that iron; it was a perfect weight and did such a great job. I’m afraid it met an “untimely” end a couple of years ago when someone borrowed it and managed to destroy the sole plate beyond repair. I’m sure it would have lasted another 40 years otherwise.

    1. This is actually a new iron Pam. It’s just in the old style. But It’s lasted me longer than any of my other irons and has a simplicity to it that I love. I does have an automatic shut off which is really important to me since I’m good at forgetting to turn it off.

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