Monday, October 7, 2013

Miscellaneous Monday

Not to be confused with Really Random Thursday. Ha...

I had no sooner gotten my block tutorial posted as the last stop on Amy's Virtual Quilting Bee

than Sandy from Upstairs Hobby Room posted this picture. Seriously. I love her version so much, and it was such fun to see the block in a different colorway. She used Kona Amber (dark), Butterscotch (medium) and Champagne (light) in her block.

This came in the mail and I can't tell you how much time I have spent just staring at it, examining it inch by inch. It is a masterpiece. I would love to give a full reveal now but I'm tempted to wait until Bloggers Quilt Festival. Unless I really can't stand it a minute longer and show you the whole thing first, and then again at the end of the month.
Please tell me why irons, which are so essential to our passion of quilting, cause us so many problems. I fell in love with this Hamilton Beach iron at the end of last year, so it's not even a year old.

And of course it started leaking the other day. I really like to press with steam, so the only choice is to keep the iron dry (which I know many of you do) and use a spray bottle, or purchase a new iron and start from scratch. I bought this one the other night based on the recommendation of my friend, Deborah.

I haven't opened up the box yet. I did a google search on how to clean steam irons and followed the directions of filling the tank with half and half white vinegar/water, draining, and refilling with water. Now the soleplate seems to drag and I can hardly move the dial--which seems like a really odd consequence of cleaning the inside of the iron!

So my question is: what iron do you use? What do you love/dislike about it? Are there any tricks for increasing the longevity of an iron, like draining the water each and every time you are done? Inquiring minds want to know.


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Heidi Staples said... #

Love that block, Cindy, and I can't wait to see your full reveal of that quilt -- gorgeous sneak peek! I think I used to have that Hamilton Beach iron too. Right now I have a Sunbeam Steam Master -- I'm big on steam too -- and so far it hasn't given me any trouble. I like the retractable cord on it, and it holds up pretty well with all the pressing I do.

Molly said... #

I live in So Cal with tons of yucky calcium in our water... it is a constant problem for me. I thrift shop all the time and have come across countless high end irons donated because they leak due to calcium. A few years back, against my better judgement, I decided to try to buy one and see if I could clean it and use it. I got a really nice newer looking Rowenta for $7.99. I purchased a sole plate cleaning kit from rowenta at target and got some vinegar and distilled water. Rowenta irons are designed to be used with tap water so bottled water actually damages them, but with the distilled vinegar mix I set it on self clean and got a ridiculous amount of calcium shooting out of the steam vents. After 10 minute the calcium stopped coming out, so I followed the instructions and cleaned the sole plate... and it worked like brand new!!! I used it for about 6 months, no problems, regular tap water, tons of steam- and then it clogged and started leaking... did the same treatment and it is like new again. At least having an iron that I can spend time fixing myself is better then going out to replace one all the time- and at the bargain price of $7.99 plus some vinegar and a $10 cleaning kit that lasts several uses... well you just can't beat that!

Sherry said... #

I have a Black & Decker classic. I love the weight of the iron. I have never put water in it. If I have wrinkles to get rid of I use Best Press and everything comes out.

Good luck with your iron.

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #

I go through irons like they are going out of fashion, so having worn out, mostly through hard water, as I'm too lazy to source distilled, I just stick to good brands but their cheaper ones and don't worry. Not the most economic option, but keeps me sane!

Carla said... #

The quilting on your quilt looks amazing! Very Angela ; ) I bought a 'shark' iron and the sappy thing quit on me!

Carla said... #

The question of the century!! I have the exact same Hamilton Beach iron that did the exact same thing after less than a year. For quilting, I now use an awesome antique GE iron that still sports it's original cloth cord. It get soooo hot and is nice and heavy...perfect for pressing down those pesky seams. Sometimes I use a squirt of Best Press if it needs more.

Melinda said... #

I also use a Black and Decker Classic. I love it - heavy, hot, lots of steam and when it starts to leak.....I'm only out $20 on Amazon.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said... #

I have your new iron... bought one in December when my Rowenta croaked. I like it quite well although my steam dial got stuck on my 1st one somehow so now I have 2! I don't use steam as much as I used to - mostly for pressing fabric before cutting, assembling blocks together and the final press before quilting.

ChristaQuilts said... #

I love those blocks and yes I definitely want to see more of that mystery quilt! You can show it to us again later :-)

I use a Rowenta iron and love it. They usually have them at Sams club for a good deal. My only problem with irons is that I drop them and break them too often, LOL!

Anonymous said... #

I, too, have been on the hunt for an iron that behaves itself: mainly that it doesn't spit gunk out onto light-colored fabric. I researched online, read reviews, and finally settled on a T-Fal Ultraglide, 1700w through Amazon. It was about $45. if I remember correctly. Lots of people swore by it - tons of steam, easy spray, no leaking/spitting... well - lots of steam, but also plenty of spitting. I use tap water, as instructed, and it still misbehaves, especially if the iron is hot and I add more water. I guess I'll have to suck it up and do the vinegar clean-out, but it's supposed to be self-cleaning - guess it -does - spits out when it feels like it! Besides the spitting problem, the T-Fal has an overthick handle which makes my hand tired if I do a lot of ironing in one session, but it does have a swivel cord, which is very handy.

I had an expensive Rowenta for about 20 years which finally gave up the ghost, then went through a series of cheap irons which caught fire (burning a hole in my ironing board - that was an exciting day!), stopped heating, etc. I like the advice from Molly in California. I don't really mind a bit of work (as in, cleaning up a good-quality iron) but I sure get tired of the sweeping promises made, then not delivered on!

I'll keep an eye on this post, hoping for the best solution!

Catrin Lewis said... #

Your sneak peek made me take a deep breath, I can't wait for the full reveal!

When it comes to irons I had a few arguments with quite a few ranging from cheap to middle of the range none of which lasting more than a year
I gave up eventually and bought a Phillips for £70 - it's lasted four years so far so actually works out as the cheapest option. I am lucky though that I live in a soft water area so don't have limescale to battle x

Swedish Scrapper said... #

Wow, I love that butterscotch block! Pattern plus color, super! It'll be nice to see the rest of the quilt too, that you showed a peek. My iron is a Phillips, Azur. I have no idea if it's called the same thing everywhere, but I like it because it has a really good steam function, long cord, automatic shutoff, and it is heavy, so the weight helps with pressing in my opinion. It also glides well.

OPQuilt said... #

I buy irons based on the number of steam vents. Most of them aren't too complicated. It heats, it doesn't. Most irons prefer tap water because it helps with the steam process.

I use a 50/50 combo of tap water and distilled water, because, like Molly, I live in SoCal and have really hard water. Been doing this for 20 years.

When it starts to get draggy, get out the iron cleaner that comes in a tube and purchased at JoAnn's, squirt someone on a folded up piece of rag, and stroke over your hot iron. Do this several times (2-3), then put the iron down on another rag and steam its guts out to clean to vents. A shot of steam button helps with this process--I do it like 10 shots.

Back to normal. The coating is wearing off my iron, but it has a bunch of steam holes and I love it. I bought another one at Target (again, lots of steam holes) and it works fine too, but my old one is still going strong, so I just bring it out for Quilt Night parties at my house. Which you'll be to, in November.

Very cool!

Fun to see your blocks! You're a star.


GeeGee said... #

When the soleplate of your iron begins to drag, ball up a wad of "Reynolds cut-rite wax paper" and iron over it several times with hot iron. Then iron a piece of paper towel to remove excess wax and you are good to go. It will glide easy again.

I use a Rowenta, never use steam so I have no trouble. The best iron I ever had was a Remington but I guess they stopped making them or went out of business, I can no longer find one.

Mary said... #

Oh irons are a real pain! I go through about one a year. I think it is because I leave it plugged in all day. I buy cheap irons now. I like the Shark at runs about $30.

jeifner said... #

Sara, from Sew Sweetness, did a great iron review on Sew Mama Sew. The comments are also well worth reading.

FlourishingPalms said... #

I made my iron purchase about three years ago, strictly based on a Consumer's Report study of irons. The one that came out #1 was T-Fal. It wasn't easy to find that brand, but I have been thoroughly happy with mine. It uses up and produces lots of steam, with three settlings, and I've never had a problem with leaking. I think I spent about $50 on it. I highly recommend it.