Circular Clothesline Efficiency

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Earl Mardle
KeyNet Consultancy

How do we guarantee that that a rotary clothesline is carrying its maximum load of washing, regardless of the composition of the load and without doing complex mathematical calculations.


This pattern is being constructed as a model for pattern creation. I am interested in how we reach patterns or sets of rules with high invariance that are still adaptable to new situations. What does such a pattern look like and how does it reach a firm statement of itself without reaching into dogma, prejudice or unfounded assertion.

How do we reach such a statement that is both exclusive enough to be clear about when to apply it, and simple enough that most people encountering it will be able to apply it without difficulty?


A Rotary clothesline is a very efficient use of yard space, providing many metres of hanging space within a relatively small footprint and, because it rotates with the wind, it regularly changes the relationship of the clothes to both wind and sun, promoting even drying and reducing fading.

However, the problem is that loads of washing consist of many different sizes of garment, from socks to bedsheets and the length of line between the supports shrinks from the outer to the inner round. Some units use only one length of cable, creating a spiral line in which no length is the same as any other.

A simple, rules based method for hanging out the washing is needed to ensure that the line is providing drying at the most efficient level possible.


Starting with the largest item in the load of washing, hang the item on the shortest possible stretch of line available. This may be a complete stretch of line between two supports, or an unused stretch of line that has not been completely filled by other pieces of washing. Repeat until all items other than socks and underwear have been hung. Then fill in the spaces using the socks and underwear.

Where an item exceeds in length the longest stretch of line available, it should be folded to fit.

This method will work, regardless of the number of supports or the mix of sizes in the load. If there are any items left over at the end of the available stretches of line, the household needs a smaller, or cleaner, family.

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