Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”. I get many comments and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group. Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog.
Today’s question comes from Sue. It ended up being a REALLY long answer so I am only answering one question today. Here’s what she asked:
“My question, is I am looking for a good, heavy-duty, and HOT Iron…Wondered if you can give a testimony on the kind you use, such as, do you like it? does it get hot enough? and given a choice, would you buy another one just like it, if something happened to it? Do you use Steam ?? Thank you, and will look forward to your answer…”
This one has me laughing. I’m not laughing at the question…I’m laughing at the answer I am going to give.
My current favorite iron is someone else’s reject. Here’s proof. See my iron? See that sticker on top. It says, “WORKS”. My iron came from the thrift store. I buy thrift store irons ALL OF THE TIME. Two dollars usually buys an iron.
Typically I have a couple here and when one dies, I grab another. I prefer irons that do not have auto shut off but I didn’t have any on reserve so I did buy this one when I saw it. My iron died, and I pulled this one out. It turns out, I really like this one…even with auto shut off. (I didn’t realize I should have dusted my iron off before taking a picture…ugh. Keeping it real.)
I actually keep two irons. One upstairs…one downstairs. As I told you, I don’t usually buy new irons but with Covid, I’ve not been to the thrift stores and no longer have a stockpile of thrifted irons. My downstairs iron died last April so I bought an iron off Amazon. HERE is a link to the one I bought. I looked and looked online to try to find the iron I loved best but couldn’t find one and this is what I settled with.
It’s a Shark brand.
It’s an okay iron. Not the favorite I’ve ever had but okay.
Here is the story of my favorite iron EVER….This is a blog post I wrote back in October of 2011…
“When we went to see Bonnie Hunter in Storm Lake our daughter Kelli and I set up an ironing station. People used her iron and my iron. Time and time again people would ask Kelli where she got her iron. Everyone commented on how hot it was and how lightweight it was. After all those comments, I decided to give it a try…..I loved it.
Kelli kept telling people that it was a cheap iron and she wasn’t positive where she had bought the iron at. The line to use Kelli’s iron was always long….the line to my iron..NOT.
My iron was not a real expensive iron…maybe $40. It has auto shut off. It has a retractable cord…or did have a retractable cord. It doesn’t work anymore. The iron is only a year or so old….but I have never liked it. It doesn’t heat up very hot. If I have a truly wrinkled piece of fabric the wrinkles never come completely out.
Kelli has been coming home for sewing days. Because she hates my iron so much, she has started bringing her iron. The last time she was home she came with this….
an iron for ME!! I love it! We tried it out and boy am impressed with it. The wrinkles are gone with just one past of the iron. With my old iron I would almost push the iron down into the fabric and even then they wouldn’t come out. Even though it’s bad manners, I asked Kelli how much the iron cost…she said right around $10. It just amazes me. The iron is super lightweight. It heats up super hot and does an amazing job.
I didn’t believe that it was so cheap so after Kelli left I went on Amazon to check to see if she was joking or if it was the real price. It would be just like Kelli to spend more and not tell me. Here’s the iron she bought for me…Continental Electric CE23111 Steam Iron. She was telling the truth…it’s $11.53.
I am hoping to give my new iron a little workout today. I know for sure that from now on…no more turn themselves off irons. No retractable cord irons. No expensive irons…it’s cheap Continental brand from me from now on.”
So as I was writing this “Ask Jo”, I thought to go back and look up this old blog post. I was THRILLED to see that I had included the model number of the iron. I ended up going on eBay and happily they had a few with that model number. I bought TWO!! I’m going to take my current irons and put them on reserve. I’m going to be ironing with the Continental irons again. YAHOO!!
I don’t hate my current irons, I just really love the other ones. Kelli did too. In fact, Kelli called me the day her iron died as she was super sad.
This cheap iron was the best iron I ever had. She heated so hot and was awesome. It was super lightweight too. It died after four years or so and I couldn’t find another one. That’s when I went to buying thrift store irons.
So the things I look for in an iron:
-I prefer light weigh
-I prefer inexpensive
-I prefer no auto shut off
-I prefer a point at the end
I NEVER use steam. I’ve never put steam in an iron. I think they last longer with no steam. Also if you’ve followed along with me on the blog, I iron very little. If I can finger press, I do. My personal belief is once I put heat into the fabric, the fabric has less give. Remember I am the QUEEN of fudging and not sewing perfectly. If I don’t iron everything so thoroughly, I can flip a seam. I can tug the fabric a little to make the seam match. I can relax the pressure on the fabric to make the ends meet.
Once the top is finished, I iron the heck out of it with starch…but until a block is finished, not much ironing happens in my world.
I know I am the rare breed with this and most people iron a lot more than do. I also am really lazy…ironing takes time. I’m content with the quilts I make with my lack of ironing.
I always think back to my grandma sewing with sad irons and quilting by hand. I am positive she didn’t jump up and iron every little piece. She made amazing quilts. So I’m sticking with my Grandma and doing very little ironing.
I want to encourage you to make two quilt blocks. Iron the heck out of one. Use steam. Make the next one and don’t iron as much. Iron if you NEED to but ignore it when you can get by with it. Only do a FULL complete iron once the block is finished. Check the results. See what you like better. Take into account everything…time, accuracy…everything. See what you like and whatever method that is, go with it! For me, it’s not much ironing with no steam and using starch on the finished top.
I want sewing to be fun and enjoyable for you. I want you to find YOUR method…not my method…not the method of some teacher you went to a class with. Find yours!! If you love steam. STEAM!! To make sewing truly enjoyable, I think it’s important to find what you love.
You can probably see why I initially laughed when Sue asked the question. My answer is probably as unconventional of an answer as you’ll even hear.
I’d love for everyone else to let us know your iron opinion in the comment section.