Yesterday, I spent a quiet ten minutes pressing some vintage flannel cloths, bought at the antiques fair a few weeks ago. When I am stressed, overwhelmed by so much to do and by a head full of whirling thoughts the simple act of ironing slows me down. I don’t enjoy ironing clothes. I certainly don’t iron sheets. But I do love ironing cloth.

It is one of those tasks that keep you busy and feels productive even though it doesn’t actually need doing right now.

But it is useful.

It is practical.

Above all it is calming.


The smoothness of ironed cloth.

The warm, sheepy smell of steamed wool.

The satisfaction in the removal of wrinkles.

The repetitive action of unfold, press, move, press, fold. Finished.

A task completed.

A clean slate.


Definition of Pressing (adjective): Requiring quick or immediate action or attention.

Pressing cloth implies quite the opposite. Unhurried, meditative passing of a hot iron over wrinkled cloth. Making it smooth. Making it whole. Undoing the damage of washing. Pressing cloth to mitigate the stress of other overwhelmingly pressing tasks.

Ironing as therapy.


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