Monday, 31 October 2011

Ironing and value

I have been ironing the linen and teatowels this evening.   I was ironing one of my well known serviettes (napkins for my north American friends) and saw its usual darned patch....
 ...  in fact, there are several mends... small darned areas in this serviette....
...  I'm sure that some people would decide that it's not worth laundering, ironing and taking care of with its little patch of darned and re-inforced patches.  In facat I like it.

Whenever I iron this particular serviette (napkin?) I am reminded of my hand knitted socks.   I have been asked whether I would knit socks for other people and when I say yes... but I need to be paid $10 per hour... I usually have two different reactions.
  1. either the suggestion that $10 per hour is too little remuneration; or
  2. $10 is ok, and so how much would that be altogether?
In fact,   it makes a pair of socks worth about $110... and the quote is always turned down.  

People would prefer the Chinese "tube socks" for about $2 per pair.  

I don't... I wear hand knitted woollen socks and I mend them, should they need it, having taken many hours to make them....  but it is interesting how people's priorities are organised.  Socks that take many hours to make are worth maintaining.... just like damask serviettes.

Anyway,  my darned serviette makes me consider the value of the items that are in my house.  Spending hours mending and darning household items like my serviette merely confirms the value of those items.  When we have acccess to disposable and cheap cotton serviettes...  or even "disposable" paper ones,  it shows how little household items are valued in recent times.  Not only does this de-valuation of household items make traditonal "women's" work worthless, it also means that resources and energy are equally devalued.  It seems like our loss.  And it probably can'tcontinue indefinitely as resources and energy are more scarce.

Perhaps, as energy is constrained,  our attitude to household items, and the resources that are required to make them, will change.

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