Quilt Iron(y)

Happy New Year readers!  I rang in the new year sewing on my Mystery Quilt En Provence, which is not such a mystery anymore.  While sewing and ironing, I ran out of my Faultless spray starch.  Things had shifted the week before in the closet where I put the iron up, and by moving a photo album I uncovered more starch so I did not make a trip to the store.  I used starch in my stash (never thought I would say that).

I sprayed my blocks, and using my trusty Rowenta iron, started ironing as usual.  When the iron hits the starch it outgassed a fresh smell, and for some reason I kept smelling cinnamon.  I pressed on!  Then when I got out a large piece of fabric, the starch spit funny out of the can.  My iron started just dragging on the fabric.  I looked at the bottom of my iron, and it appeared all the starch was sticking to my iron and not staying on the cloth.  And the smell, look like cinnamon was caramelizing on the bottom of my iron.  My first thought, my almost 10 year old iron was crapping out (as it has taken a few tumbles off the iron board).  So I quit using starch and filled my reservoir and used steam instead.  I sprayed a spot on my ironing board to see what would happen on the cloth (not on my precious fabric but on the ironing board cover).  Believe it or not, somehow the starch had oxidized in the can and rusted in the can, so no telling how much rust I spewed onto the cloth I was working with.  The date on the can said 2008…ooops.  I was able to clean the bottom of my Rowenta with my scrub daddy and cold water (after it had cooled off), and the bottom looked brand new again.  However, I found there are spots on the iron that just are not getting hot enough to get the wrinkles out.  My iron is dying a slow death.

In the meantime, after seeing many quilters on youtube videos go back to the old fashioned irons, I thought I would be on the lookout for an oldie (they don’t make them like that anymore).  I found one on Ebay, and it arrived Tuesday.  I plugged it in and turned the setting to cotton, and with no effort it beautifully ironed my QST.  I walked out of the room to get more to iron (as there was a backlog) and when I came back into the room I noticed the iron was turned up (by my roommate who was intrigued by this old new iron) so I turned it back down to cotton (there is a higher temp setting than cotton…who knew).  But, because this iron is old and a huge heat sink, the cool off time is much longer.  I did not know it would not be instant, and I ironed one more block and it singed the neutral a bit.  See the picture below, the bottom center.  There is a hint of browning on the fabric.epmqst

After this, I shut the iron off and made a note to self, that I can actually burn fabric with this new old iron.  I must be vigilant and very careful from now on.  An hour later I went to go put the iron up and because this thing is one huge chunk of metal, it was still hot to the touch.  I had to wait two hours to put it in it’s safe place.  For those of you who have an iron that does not eliminate wrinkles from your fabric without the use of starch, it is time for a new iron.  I recommend buying new used.

I am very excited because I have a new, useful quilters toy—er I mean tool.  If you are looking into buying a new iron, don’t go with sunbeam, black and decker, etcetera.  I recommend spending a few dollars more and getting a Rowenta.  However, make sure the Rowenta you buy is made in Germany.  Big box stores including JoAnn’s have irons made in China and Mexico which usually leak and crap out after a couple of years.  The great iron debate to purchase a new one and pay the extra price tag, or buy a cheap one and replace it in a couple of years.  Either way it is about the same money.

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