Peg bags

Quite a while ago I wrote about my Mum and her peg bag. Now it has to be said, I'm not a peg bag user myself. I leave the pegs out on the line and they disintegrate in the weather and tend to get thrown in the garden when they break, which irritates G intensely. Despite this slacktitude (which must change), I find myself terribly drawn to the peg bag as a  domestic article. There's something about the crafting of this article to be used for an everyday, or at least frequent and repetitive, task that speaks of a quiet domestic pride. I know my Mum always makes her peg bags with thought and care, as did my Nan.
This peg bag is the work of Mamajules (found via tinyhappy). Julia is a UK textile artist with an interest in found and remembered articles. This peg bag is a pattern I have seen before, different from the one in my maternal family, but a very popular style I think. In her post about the peg bag, Julia writes that women remembered the peg bag as one of their very first sewing attempts, due to the ease of construction. And that women would embellish the bag, sometimes expressing their thoughts about the task for which it was to be used. Julia's peg bag contains excerpts from the stories from other women, and the text from a domestic manual on how to do the washing. The print has a faded look with oversewn text and stitching. Faded and with layers of meaning. As she says, "a simple metaphor I suppose for fading memories and fading clothes after continuous washes." 

There's something else I want to say and as I keep coming back to my unfinished post in the cracks of the day, this something else eludes me. Something about women's art and feminism and the domestic. The so called "new domesticity" has no appeal for me, there's nothing new about housework and the feminist in me resists the rebranding of the housewife, even if that's what I'd really like to be. Ah, that's where the rub in all this for me is, but I'll have to think some more about this later. There's a linen cupboard that needs to be sorted and bedding oranised for the guests from interstate who will be on our doorstep tommorrow evening after work.

But behold the peg bag, she is a beauty worthy of our admiration.  


  1. I always worry about spiders in the peg bags.
    Would you believe me if I told you that I am sans washing line, for the first time in my life?
    It's so weird. And hanging washing is one of the few domestic chores that I enjoy.

  2. I would.
    Yes, I quite like hanging the washing too. But only on a proper line outside, shuffling stuff on racks or in fromt of the heater just doesn't do it for me. I need the big line so I can be all pedantic about the order of things and colour code my t-shirts. As for folding and putting away... not a favourite task at all.

  3. I like that peg bag.
    Like you I leave the pegs to hand on the clothline. The wooden ones gradually rot. The pink,blue and white plastic ones that come in a $2.95 bag from the supermarket last long enough, until then get faded, then they crack.
    At leat for part of the week I just leave all the washing in a large pile against the lounge room wall and take clothing out of the pile as needed. Sometimes I tell the kids "This is where we're going to keep all our clothes now" which they always accept!! Last week we had a portacot set up in he lounge room for my nephew and it was very handy for holding all the unsorted washing.
    See, I can go on about washing related things for a long time too..

  4. really like this story, and the laundry bag, itself. will check out the link. it reminds me of an anonymous piece of embroidery at the american visionary art museum (, called the 'last will and testament.' the stitching is mostly chain stitch and the maker is rambling on about things she wants to see done differently in the world. it is just a 'word salade' of thoughts, much like the peg bag you have pictured. it inspired me to do something similar as a personal stitched journal that is still in the works.
    portland maine