Monday, May 12, 2014

Clothespin Woes No More

If you walk into our backyard and look on the ground under our clothesline, you may think you've come upon a clothespin graveyard and feel badly that you didn't bring flowers.

It can be very windy at our house.  This is great for drying clothes on the line quickly but it means certain death for cheap clothespins.  Over the past few years I've actually been on a mini quest to find better clothespins. Almost every new store I enter (fortunately or unfortunately there aren't that many) I check out their clothespins.  Years ago, I bought some Martha Stewart clothespins.  They worked okay but as our family grew I needed more.  All I could find were small, China-made clothespins that didn't measure up. I had to make sure that I used the MS ones to hang up jeans and sweatshirts because the cheap ones would just slide apart, literally snapping under the pressure.  A couple years ago I even asked my mother in law to check around for me.  They live very near a large Amish community.  The Amish line dry their clothes so they must have access to decent clothespins, right?  She found me some (Thank you, Mom!) and they proved to be better than the cheapo ones, but only about as good as the ones from Martha Stewart.

The ones that I have that I LOVE are those that I inherited from my grandmothers.  Now, those clothespins mean business and I love their soft, worn edges that make me feel close to the women who used them weekly.  Unfortunately, I don't have that many of them.

So, last year when my blogging friend, Herrick Kimball, announced that he was starting his own clothespin business, Classic American Clothespins, I was SO excited.  He kindly gifted me the very first kit of clothespins- a great honor, indeed!

The kit came with everything we needed to put together 25 serious clothespins, including one pre-put-together clothespin.

I couldn't resist and immediately lined Kimball's clothespin up beside some of my others and compared them:

 The one on the left is either a Martha Stewart clothespin or one of the ones my mother-in-law found for me.  The two wimps in the middle are the cheap, China made ones (no offense, China).  The one on the right is Kimball's.  Notice the HUGE difference- both in size of clothespin over all and the sheer toughness of that spring.

Above are my grandmothers' clothespins with Kimball's in the center.  Look at those old beauties.  I'm planning on passing Kimball's clothespins down to my girls and hope by then they've developed the soft edges that come from years of loving use.

Back to the kit- Sam helped me lightly sand the wooden pieces with the sand paper and nail file that came in the kit.

On another day, I sat outside in the warm sun and applied a coat of linseed oil to protect them.  I love how it brought out the beautiful grain the clothespin pieces.

Sam and Jamey assembled the clothespins once they were dry.  We were so pleased with the quality of these clothespins and I couldn't wait to use them.

I've really been enjoying them this spring.  They are preforming just as I knew they would.  In fact, I've pulled out all the cheap clothespins from my clothespin bag to save them for crafts- they are not fit for laundry.  My bag is now full of the semi-decent ones, my grandmothers' clothespins and Kimaball's.  I find myself feeling around for my Classic American Clothespins though- they are my new first choice and easy to find in the bag because of their size.

Very well done, indeed.  

Read more about Kimball's clothespins here.

How is your relationship with your clothespins (not everyone will understand this question ;-))? Which ones are your favorites? 
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  1. Yes I have such a hard time finding good clothespins. I love the old ones I have that were made of good quality. I signed up for the Classic American Clothespin news letter. They are sold out right now but hope to order some when they have more available. Can Linseed oil be found at a hardware store ( is this used for water proofing the pins?).

    ~ Katie

  2. That is wonderful. I saw that he was making them, but wasn't sure if they were the 'real thing,' worth the hype, not just another of the same-o same-o. You are the first one I have seen that has actually got them and used them.
    Thank you.

  3. This is exciting! I am a basket maker and have been looking all over for sturdy clothes pins (clothes pins are not just for hanging laundry ;-)). I have some good sturdy pins that were my mother's but they are not nearly exicited.... so enjoy your posts!!

  4. I've been on the exact same quest!!! Thank you so much for this post. I can't wait to order some of these great clothespins. :-)

  5. for all the years I've been hanging laundry, I've never had trouble with clothespins! I bought mine at an Amish store, but I can tell they're not as big or sturdy as these new ones you have. I often tend to use several clothespins for heavy items. My clothespin bag is BIG so it can hold almost 3 lbs. of clothespins - I hang out a lot of laundry and I need lots of pins! Thanks for the this thorough discussion of clothespins. I want some that I can pass down to my kids, too :)

  6. You've described my experience with clothespins perfectly (I've even ask my mom to keep her eyes open for 'real' ones), except that I hadn't discovered Kimball's yet. Eager to try them! Thanks for the introduction!

  7. THANK YOU for this post! I love all of your recommendations and am going to order some of these! My yard under my clothesline looks terrible. Little bits and pieces of plastic and wooden clothespins. I never thought I would be excited about clothespins, but I am ! Thanks!

  8. What do you store the clothes pins in, looking for those bags that hook on the line?

    1. Try Prarie Pin Pouch. She makes a decent pouch and sends a great package.
      I bought one and one for my best friend.

  9. The linseed oil won't cause a stain on clothes?

    Thanks for sharing about this product!

  10. I signed up for the newsletter, too. I hope I can get some.
    Does the linseed oil stain the clothes?

    1. No, it doesn't. It dries quickly and is clean to the touch:-).

  11. Here it is four days after Christmas 2015 and I stumble (literally, digitally anyway) over this posting. I too am one of the "odd" people (at least according to anyone under the age of 40) that still LOVES to hang their clothes out on the line in good weather. This is one of many reasons I wouldn't last one month in one of those idiotic developments that tell people they can't have clothes lines, flag poles, hang American flags, gardens, and I don't know what all else. I too have clothes pins that were various older relatives in my family. The VERY old fashion (with no springs) I've removed from work and keep those in a basket in my house on display. I had to laugh when I read you filed some of yours down to make them smooth. I'm always digging around for the older smoother ones. I have one in particular that is my favorite. Is that too weird? Some women just would NEVER understand that. What I can't figure out however is people who use things in their life very OFTEN prefer the older, excellent quality of the items we have left from those before us. Many complain about the cheap, tacky, inferior, shoddy, lousy, craftsmanship that we DO get from all that junk from China. So why is it that people keep going back again and again and again to buy the garbage? I went against my rule on the evening of the 23rd and walked into Walmart (I try EXTREMELY hard to to put one more dime into the greedy paws of the Walton family - I learned FAR too much about them while studying for my Master's degree, I won't go into my tirade now about that) looking for one thing in particular. You have NEVER in your life seen SO MANY people filling their carts buying more junk, most likely which they can NOT afford all to have tons of packages under the tree. It honestly was like watching some sort of comedy sketch or a bad Adam Sandler/Jim Carey movie (I'm not crazy about their type of slapstick comedy). I thought for sure someone was going to jump out somewhere and yell, "surprise, you're on Candid Camera!". The store was in COMPLETE shambles, people tugging around SMALL little children who SHOULD have been home in bed. It was like a three-ring circus. Why is it we Americans LOVE our quality but there are still so many who would rather pay over and over again for cheap junk?

  12. Like you, I've a handful of Grandmother's clothes pins and guard them with passion. They lay next to the China made pins...oh the shame! Grandma's pins are used for hanging sturdier clothes, blankets and quilts. The wind blows stiff on this farm and those pins are the only ones that'll handle the pressure. Unfortunately, the kits aren't available in hoo! I'll have to wait, probably a year or longer, for my turn in line.
    Yours is a very enjoyable post, thanks for the information.


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