Who remembers having to sprinkle clothes before you could iron them? Perhaps you are so young that you have no idea what that means. At the risk of sounding as old as dirt, sprinkling was something my mom did every week on ironing day (Yes, she did have specific chores assigned to specific days each week.) Being a kid at the time, her asking me to do any chore was usually followed with a heavy sigh and some excuse about homework, not feeling well, etc. However, sprinkling was one thing I kinda liked doing. What’s not to like? Give a kid a squeeze bottle full of water and tell her to sprinkle the water onto the wrinkled clothes, then roll them up into a ball and put them into a bag. Much more exciting than dusting or drying dishes.
I recently found myself remembering the days of sprinkling. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been preparing for a Nancy Crow Strip-Piecing and Restructuring workshop that I’ll be taking next week. I am so excited! I have always wanted to study with Nancy and was thrilled when I found out I could get into this class. The supply list includes lots and lots of one yard cuts of solid fabrics – a full range of values in all colors. And…she asks that the fabrics be washed and dried to take care of any shrinkage. Really?? OK. Being the obedient student that I am, I have have spent hours washing and drying more than 100 one yard lengths of fabric.
Now, when 100% cotton quilting weight fabric comes out of the dryer, it is a wrinkled mess. It’s interesting that some fabrics are worse than others, but none the less, it is all wrinkled and must be ironed. And despite my now having a deluxe steam iron that wasn’t available 50 years ago, I found that the fabrics just didn’t press out nice and smooth. So it was time to sprinkle. I started out using an empty spray bottle, but it wasn’t long before I realized that this was going to be time consuming and a bit hard on my trigger finger. And then the bottle just stopped spraying. Wondering what to use for the task, I remember that I had brought the “sprinker” bottle from my mom’s house and tucked it away with some other miscellaneous “antiques”.
So I filled up my little yellow “sprinkler” and I felt like I was 6 again. Best part was that it was so easy to use. The bottle is still soft and the water comes out easily. Much better than my modern spray bottle.
And after letting the fabrics sit for a few hours, ironing was so much easier. Good bye wrinkled fabric.
Now I am ready to go to my workshop – all washed, dried and ironed.
You can find “sprinkler” bottles on ebay and there are images and articles online about the antiquated sport of “sprinkling”. I just think it is very cool that something so simple that I grabbed from my mom’s house turned out to be so helpful, and using it brought back a flood of memories. I think my mom would have gotten quite a kick out of the fact I was sprinkling again. But I still do not like to dust or dry dishes.