It was cricket day yesterday. The day that signifies the beginning of summer for me, when I watch the first day of a five day cricket match, doze on and off in my chair, knit, and generally laze about. Back in the 1980s, when my children were in primary school, and I was working full time and studying for a degree, it was also the time when study was finished for the year, preparations for Christmas and the summer holidays were just about to start and I had that one day off, alone, to relax.
I've changed in many ways since then and now I can't just sit doing nothing, so in addition to my knitting, yesterday I also made notes for a magazine article I'm writing and cut up rags. I like to keep that rag bag full and yesterday I added some good sized flannel cloths that once used to be a winter nightie. Waste not, want not. I never buy cleaning cloths, they all come from our old clothes, sheets and towels now. I cut them into the sizes I need, some I hem and some I don't, and I leave them to wait their time in my rag bag which hangs in the laundry.
There are other speciality cloths here in addition to the cleaning rags. I also have a number of cotton cloths used for straining yoghurt and making cheese. These cloths are soft cotton and they generally fray around the edges, so I always hem them. I don't want fragments of cotton in our food. These cloths are also used to cover food, either sitting on the kitchen bench or in the fridge. If you don't want to use plastic wrap in the fridge, a moist cotton cloth will serve you well if the item is only in the fridge for a couple of days. If you would like to make yourself some of these cloths, buy some soft muslin, lawn or handkerchief linen, cut it to the size you need and hem the edges. Make sure you wash the cloth before using it on your food. These cloths and covers don't have to be ironed but they must always be clean.
Other handy items to have in your cupboard are a few crocheted or cotton cloth jug covers. I have one large and one small crocheted cover and a couple of cotton cloth covers. The crochet covers are fine for covering a jug of milk or cold water when it's sitting on a table for a while. The cotton covers are needed when I'm fermenting and making things like ginger beer, sourdough and vinegar. They keep the bugs out, especially those annoying vinegar flies that many people call fruit flies, but they allow air and natural yeasts into the food you're making.
To make a crocheted cover, there are plenty of crochet patterns online, but you could also do as I did for my small cover - I looked through my old doilies to find something suitable and just attached weights with embroidery cotton. The weights you use can be buttons, beads or shells with a hole drilled in the top.
Many of these cloths were commonplace in our grandmas' homes but they died an unnatural death in modern times. You won't find them in a shop, these are something you make yourself. But it's simple sewing, even for those who have never sewn before. They're the ideal beginners project.
Once you've made these simple covers, rags and straining cloths, you might like to ramp up your move towards self reliance and make other household linens like cloth napkins, tea towels, aprons, shopping totes and table cloths. All are easy newbie projects, all will help you create a more simple home and all will help you in your daily homemaking.
Thank you for your visits this week. We're fast moving towards the holiday season and all the extra work and busy times that holds. Don't forget to take care of yourself when you have that extra work. Take time out, take things slowly and enjoy what you do. I'll see you again next week, my friends.