Thursday, 4 June 2009

Remember that glue at school?

When I was at school (and I admit it was a very long time ago) we had glue called, "Clag". I believe you can still get it. It was, and probably still is, a thick glug of paste. You had to put it on with a little brush that looked a bit like a witch's broomstick.
I suspect it was made of starch. I had to make something similar yesterday. Late in the day I sent off the necessary work via the wonders of computer and decided that I should tackle the hat.
The hat is cotton. It is knitted. It is destined as an entry into the craft section of the "Royal Show" I mentioned some days ago. It has to be what we knitters call "blocked" - in this case put over a mould, stretched to shape and then - somehow - kept there. This is where the "Clag" part comes in.
I had to find starch - good, old fashioned starch and turn it into a mixture as thick as the glue was. Thankfully I rescued some boxes of this rare and precious commodity when the local supermarket stopped stocking it. (I remember the check-out girl Brenda saying to me, "What are you going to do with all that? Nobody starches anything these days.") I mix the paste. I pour on the boiling water and mix the glug. It gurgles in a rather satisfying way.
When it is cool enough to handle (and it needs to be warm to soak properly into the cotton) I dunk the hat and squeeze and squelch. It is rather fun. I should probably have saved it for Ciaranne to try over the weekend. She would really have enjoyed playing "glue pie" - after all, she is only ten.
Eventually the bit of cotton is thoroughly soaked and I manage to get enough glue off me to pin it out over the plastic form I rescued when my friend Georgie was throwing it out.
As I pin out the brim I realise I could not do this unless my paternal grandmother had taught me how to starch a detachable collar. I know she told me at the time that, "It will come in useful one day." She was right. I wonder how many people know how to starch a detachable collar - and whether they have done it recently?

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