Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Washing lines#2

The next essential item after the washing line is the peg, or pin as our American friends would say. My mother had wooden pegs that doubled up as toys.
We would slot one peg inside another to make guns when we played at being cowboys in the garden. On rainy days, we would draw faces on the peg tops and drape them in bits of fabric to make characters in our little theatre, made from a shoe box.

Sometimes gypsies would knock on the door, trying to sell pegs they had made from two bits of wood bound with twine or, as in this picture, metal bands.
They were not very good pegs but people would buy a few because they felt sorry for the women who were trying to scrape a living.

When I had my first job and flat (apartment), I wanted the latest style in pegs; first some very flimsy plastic ones that used to break, leaving the laundry on the ground.
Then a different style but still plastic
These stayed on the line but were no good at pinning anything thicker than a handkerchief or a pair of tights. If I did manage to squeeze them on over a thicker item, I wouldn't be able to get it off again. And, of course, it took much longer to peg out the washing with coloured pegs because they had to be colour matched to each other and the clothes!

For years I used this type,
These are fine until the spring breaks and then the washing ends up on the ground again. So I now use some superior cushioned pegs that don't leave pressure marks on sweaters.
Unfortunately, the problem with colour-matching has resurfaced. (I hope no-one believes that!)

Where do you keep your pegs/pins? I have always favoured a bag
 but some people prefer a bucket

My mother-in-law always left her pegs on the line, ready for the next wash day. I could never do that. Some habits are so deeply ingrained that to change them would be to betray my Lancashire and Irish forebears. The washing should never be left on the line after sunset and the pegs should be put in the bag and brought indoors. I may never have whitened my doorstep but I have always brought in my pegs!

Next time - hanging methods and a very special line.


  1. Love this post... In my childhood the plastic and the wooden spring clip varieties were queen...and the wooden still are :0)
    Mind you if I come across those springy coloured ones of yours....

    The mini plastic clips were tried (we agree on their limitations) occasional novelties appeared, the Betterware man's plastic clip over the line gadget that you could hang a coat hanger from (unfortunately it didn't hold the clothes onto the hanger...)had a temporary appeal.

    Apron with large pocket being the peg bag of choice...gathered up apron as makeshift bag if caught out with a shower.

    Other memories... how to make as few pegs as possible hang up as many clothes as possible ... and where to peg, to make sure the washing was on firmly but not causing creases and stretching at the wrong places (Dad's shirts by the tail please!)

    I now use a tin/bowl turned up fleece as peg catch all ...very make do and disreputable ..I must make a nice peg bag ..perhaps a tie on Apron style ?
    Now see what you've started ..;o)

  2. Hi Maureen
    Haven't seen one of those old pegs for ages but yes, the dolls were so satisfying and easy to make. Like Val I liked my peg apron best, but now have an ordinary bag (which falls off line in a wind).
    In our current house (2002) I was delighted to find a proper line - just like the old days! - and got rid of the whirligig thing, but have discovered the rotary version makes for speedier pegging and holds more clothes. Never mind!


  3. When the frost killed off all the flowers around the back deck, I bought some fuchsia colored clothes pins (pegs) and spaced them across my very small clothes line for a bit of color (full disclosure: I leave my clothes pin bag outside all the time and also leave some pins/pegs on the line).

    The colored plastic ones okay for light things, but for anything heavy, I use the sturdy wooden spring type pictured above. m. I haven't seen your fancy heavy-duty plastic pegs anywhere. I'll have to look for them.

    Val, I've always hung shirts out by stretching out the collar for ease of ironing and brought them in a little damp, but I haven’t ironed a shirt in years. Things are very casual here.

  4. Val
    My current peg bag is a tie on apron and I find it very convenient. I can't remember having seen the Betterware gadget you mention but I'm sure there have been many attempts to 'modernise' the task of pegging out the washing. We who do it know that simple is best!

    Making the best use of space on the lines and having enough pegs to get everything up is crucial. I look forward to comparing methods in the next post.

  5. Ali

    I think my sister still has some of the, now ancient, pegs we grew up with. I must get them out next time I visit and see if any of the doll faces have survived.

    I agree that the rotary lines hold more but I miss that long row of billowing sheets and flapping shirt sleeves.

  6. e

    You shock me! However, I think the colourful pegs show great imagination and ingenuity so my pursed lips have turned to a grin!

  7. Ahhhh the childhood memorys of peg dolls.I have wooded spring pegs in a bucket and like you would never dream of leaving them on the line.even in a down pour every peg must go back in the bucket no matter how wet i get.A little ocd in me i think.

  8. M and M

    Quitye right too! Not at all abnormal behaviour.

  9. What a beautiful post! I love hanging out laundry. I find it very soothing. I use the wooden spring clothespins. I don't leave them out. Mine are three years old and are holding up well. When I went to the UK with my friend, Cilla, I would help hang the washing out on the line. When I left I asked Cilla's mom if I could have one of her pegs. It sits on the shelf in my laundry room and I think of her every time I look at it. I wrote about clothespins on my old blog. Hold on a sec- I'll go find it. ;)

    Here it is-
    Have you heard of Project Laundry List? You can read about it here:
    It's very interesting.

  10. Karin
    I have just been to look at that old blog of yours. The post about the clothes pins is pure poetry and I hope other readers will go over to look at it.

    I will be watching the Project Laundry List with great interest. Thanks for telling me about it.

  11. am loving these 'washing posts' of yours Maureen - never did like the dolly pegs. Disliked the wooden spring ones as well lol Plastic spring ones seem to work for me so those are the ones I use. I have a friend who calls them cheap and nasty (yes to my face) but as I say they work for me lol
    Thay all come off the line - my mum and also my granny used to say it looked common. I used to take them off to give the kids something to play with on a wet day, when the washing was indoors on the clothes horse round the fire
    Take care


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