Friday, June 13, 2008

Some Like it Hot

Peas porridge hot.
Peas porridge cold.
Peas porridge in the pot
Nine days old.

Some like it hot.
Some like it cold.
Some like it in the pot nine days old.

Never mind about peas porridge, when it comes to starch, I like it hot.

We spent Monday afternoon preparing for the trip to the Texas 4-H fashion show. Remembering how much trouble Emma had with wrinkling at the District show, we decided to try rinsing her dark green cotton outer skirt in Faultless liquid starch.

The first step is to cream 1/2 cup of starch powder in 1 1/2 cups cold water. Then you add the starch "cream" to two quarts of boiling water and stir. Make sure you remove the pot from the heat before adding the creamed starch. I didn't. The mixture started popping, and I got burned.

Emma had a scrap piece of her fabric, so we threw it in the pot, stirred it around, then drained and rinsed it. I squeezed it out, and Emma took it to the ironing board and pressed it dry. As I said, this was a piece of scrap fabric. For clothing the directions say that you should cool the starch before use by adding 2 cups warm water for each quart of starch made.

We were impressed with the results--much better than spray starch. The liquid starch gave a lot of body to the fabric and a polished finish. And there was none of that annoying flaking that you often get with spray starch.

Since the test went well, we followed the directions for using the starch in the washing machine. After you add the starch cream to the boiling water, you set your washer to "deep rinse" and add the starch solution. The directions state that the machine should "agitate for at least 3 minutes." Afterward, set the machine for the final spin cycle.

I had some problems getting my machine to stay on rinse. My machine's electronic brain thought it knew better than I what needed to be done. I ended up letting it go through a quick "wash" cycle, then rinse. I think the extra water from the washing diluted the starch's effect, but it was still good. It didn't quite have the body that the test fabric had. We'll definitely work on perfecting this method. Herb wants me to do his dress shirts this way.

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