Sunday, October 16, 2011

I lost a friend today (spoiler, not a person)

Can I write a whole post about irons?  Let's find out.

Today, my iron died.  The old Rowenta made a funny smell, and then it started cooling off and wouldn't get hot again, even when I shook it.  This tipped me off that something was wrong.  The light was still on, so I took it to my boyfriend, who knows about things that run off of electricity.  He pried it apart, did some stuff (yes, I was there, no, I don't know what, exactly) and confirmed that it was dead.

Now, this particular iron was sent with me to college by my mother.  She assumed I needed an iron, because I had clothes, I guess, plus, I think she wanted a new one.  This one might be as old as I am.  She probably remembered, like I do, me ironing my Dad's handkerchiefs (really, handkerchiefs-geez Dad was in his 30s, not his 80s!?) with that same iron when I was maybe seven years old.  I remember ironing shirts, too.  I'm sure she had to redo those!  However, by the time I got to college, ironing was not my thing, and I don't think I touched the thing but once or twice except to move it with me to the 14 different places I lived over the next 10 years.  If it didn't come out of the drier looking good, it either went away or I wore it wrinkled.

All that changed the day I decided to start quilting.  I reluctantly figured out that that iron and I were going to become best friends, and I used the hell out of that iron, although I still didn't iron any clothes.  At first, I pressed all my seams open...I don't know why.  Seemed like a good idea.  I also actually ironed my fabric and my blocks!.  As in, scrubbing, back and forth, back and forth.  Ohhhhh, I didn't know it at the time, but I made my life very difficult that way.  Matching seams and sewing blocks together seemed impossible.  Then, I started reading blogs, learned about "pressing" and eventually took a class on accuracy.  Half of that class involved an iron.  It was the first time I heard of setting seams and I also learned the correct ways to press seams to one side, press fabric, and press a completed block.  Man there are a lot of things that a quilter needs to do that require an iron.

For the past two and a half years, for worse and then for much better, that iron and I have been daily companions.  Now, she is no more.  And I need a new iron, pronto!  Can't do a thing without an iron.  But how do you pick an iron?  They all seem comparable from $30-$200.  Stainless vs. non-stick sole seems to be a big question.  Wattage, vertical steam (who cares?), auto-off.  They all have all these features.  Brand name?  (Keep in mind I'm looking at Target and Wal-mart here.)  Black and Decker, Sunbeam, Rival, Rowenta, Hamilton Beach.  Who knows?  Any advice would be appreciated, even though I already bought a cheapo to get me through.

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