Tuesday, 25 March 2014

hanging out washing

My neighbours flowers.  They are
constantly putting us to shame.  We are
very lucky (we definitely win for views).
We've seen a little bit of sunshine in recent days, and other people's flowers are looking fabulous.Which reminds me - I really need to plant some bulbs.  When's the best time to do that?

Heavy snowfall killed all the spring flowers last year, and for two years before that, but March 22nd last year was a doozy.  I had a good moan about it here.  So I wasn't quite willing to call Spring until we'd passed that date and seen some spring flowers survive.  

So I'm calling it now.  The grass is growing, bugs are surfacing, and loads of birds are enjoying an early feast.  The neighbours flowers are doing very well, and we have seen some sun.

It's going to be a while though before the ground gives up the mud.  To have had a winter of almost continual rain has been hard going, and mud is everywhere.  I saw some people had got clothes out on the lines, and I considered putting my whirligig back up, but to be honest, I'm not yet willing to trudge up the slope in the mud to get it up.  I'm justifying this with the thought that it's just too cold for clothes to be able to dry on the line yet anyway.  Obviously others don't share this opinion, so I had a look into the science of line drying.  I'm going to share what I learned (although it's pretty obvious), but I'd really appreciate your opinion.

The three things which you've got to think about when it comes to line drying are:
   -  temperature
   -  breeziness
   -  humidity

The ideal day is hot and dry with a nice breeze.  In that sort of weather even jeans can dry in the time it takes to do another load in the washing machine.

Apparently, if it's dry and breezy but really cold, your clothes will still dry.  But it will take a lot longer.

Similarly, some people get a cover for their drying lines so they can put clothes out in the rain.  The trouble with this is that you're reducing breeziness, and even if it isn't raining directly on to the clothes there is a lot of moisture in the air, so it will take a lot longer to dry.  If it's just a passing shower this is not much of an issue, but if it's raining all day, you might be better off inside.

The other point of the triangle is breeze.  If it's a hot dry day, with no breeze, I guess your washing might take longer to dry, but I would be unlikely to notice, because I would not feel like slogging around with laundry!  On the other hand, if it's too windy you may find yourself going around to a neighbour's to retrieve your smalls, which is never fun.

But I'm still not clear on when is warm enough for line drying to work fast enough that my clothes won't be out there all day.  In America they use the same rule as for when you can wear white shoes (?!) ie. between Memorial Day and Labour Day (last Monday of May to the first Monday of September).  But I guess there's some wiggle room according to weather variations.

What guidelines do you use?

In researching this I came across a Wiki-How on how to dry your clothes outside.  You'll find it here.  It's a bit of an odd one.  I'm going to paste step 8 on how to put clothes on the line here, because reading it gave me a glow of superiority.  My mother taught me well (not my father - he used the dryer at the laundromat), I hang up everything 'correctly' (apart from sheets, but my sheets are too big to do as described here).  My husband is more of a 'throw it at the line and use some pegs to hold it there' type.  What about you?

8  Pin up the clothes. Hang the clothes on the line so that they don't slip and then put the pin on. It is usual to turn the clothes over the line to a length of about 2.95–3.9 inches, 7.5–10cm to ensure that the clothes won't come off but hang heavier pieces about one third to a half way over the line to prevent them falling off.[13] Err on the side of turning over more of the clothing on windier days, to provide more grip. To prevent clothes pin imprints on clothing, try to pin the clothes in discreet locations. If you hang clothes with care, line drying can often result in clothing that dries without wrinkles, saving on ironing time.[14] Here are some specific tips for hanging different types of clothing:
  • Hang t-shirts by folding the hem a little over the line and pinning on at each end.
  • Hang shorts and pants/trousers by the waistband on the line if you want to minimize wrinkles.[15]
  • Hang dresses from the shoulders if straight, from the hem if it has a full or gathered skirt, or from hangers if possible (hangers mean less wrinkles).[16]
  • Hang straight skirts by turning over the waistband and pin each side; hang gathered or full skirts by the hem.[17]
  • Hang socks by the toes, bras by the hook end, and fold the waistband of underpants over the line and pin either side onto the line. Fold handkerchiefs in half over the line and pin at each end.[18]
  • Hang towels by folding them over the line one end and pinning each end. To help achieve a softer dry, shake towels a lot before hanging them on the line, with a "snap". Doing this loosens the pile. Do it again when removing them from the line.[19]
  • Hang sheets by folding hem to hem, pinning one hem over the line, then pinning the other hem to the corners of the first hem, just a few inches/centimeters inside the first hem corners. Have the sheet open toward the wind, to allow it to billow like a sail, and run your hands down the edges to ensure it is hanging square and even.[20]
  • Widthwise is best for hanging items such as sheets, tablecloths, and flatwork because it takes up less space on the line and puts the stress on the warp yarns (the yarns that run lengthwise), which are stronger than the filling yarns.[21]
  • Hang blankets and other heavy items across two lines, or more, as needed.
  • When hanging 100 percent cotton items, don't pull wet clothing and pin as this may cause items to widen.
  • To conserve on clothespins, overlap garments and use one pin to hang the end of one piece of clothing and the beginning of the next. This can be space-saving on the line as well, although don't do it where the overlapping would prevent drying on thick items. And be careful that dyes are not likely to bleed!
  • If you run out of room when hanging up whites, you can pin up two pairs of underwear with the same clothespins so that they are doubled.
  • Take care not to let clothes or other items drag on the ground. Double check while hanging that all clothes and fabric is pinned up far enough from the ground.
Taken from WikiHow here

I love a bit of crazily specific instruction, me.

Anyway, I'd really be interested on your thoughts on this matter.  Let me know.

Other posts you might be interested in (which all include the word 'laundry' in them somewhere) are:

The book challenge
Words at 13/3/14 - 60,945 (can't update while computer being fixed - but it's been fixed, and I should get it back today!).
4838 words written so far in this chapter.
Where I'm at in First Draft - middle of Chapter 12.
What I did last - a scene with my heroine and a client.