One of the first steps in fusing fabric is to apply the glue to the fabric for 5-7 seconds with a hot, dry iron. Seems simple, right? But I have discovered that in different regions of the country, people count at a different pace. So 5 seconds in Alabama is not 5 seconds in New York City.
Therefore I have implemented the Chicago School of Fusing Method of Counting!
First, pretend you are Lawrence Welk. You are conducting the orchestra in a polka. The beat goes: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3. (Do NOT include the North Dakota “anda” between the numbers.)
- Count out loud. If you do this rhythm 4 times correctly, a total of 6 seconds will pass.
- Now draw a straight line on the non-glue side of the fusible web.
- Place the glue side of the fusible web onto the fabric.
- Place the hot (cotton setting) iron on the right side of the line.
- Begin the polka. Repeat after me: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3.
- As you begin your 1,2,3s glide the iron across the line so you end up with the line on the right side of the iron by your last 1,2,3.
- There! Not only do you have the correct speed for fusing but you can dance as well.
Would you like to be a certified Fusologist from the Chicago School of Fusing? Want to earn this coveted badge as a graduate? What does it take to be certified?
You can earn your degree in Fusology from the Chicago School of Fusing by:
For those of you who have taken a class with me and are already certifiable, you can print out your Diploma of Graduation from the Chicago School of Fusing today!
What’s the most important tool a fuser can own? Why an iron, of course! Without a hot iron, the fuser may have to join the Hot Rock School of Fusing in order to fuse fabrics.
So what is the best iron for making fused art quilts? Do you go with the expensive version with all the bells and whistles or the inexpensive version found at your local garage sale? Does price guarantee a good iron?
Waffle Irons by Laura Wasilowski
Here are my suggestions for picking out irons for all you fusing needs:
- Use an inexpensive iron from your local retailer for applying fusible web to fabrics. Never fill it with water. If you drop it or it stops heating, you can discard it with few regrets.
- Don’t worry about the steam holes on an iron. If you are only using it for fusing (not steaming), the holes won’t be a problem. As a good fuser you know too glide the iron when applying fusible web (rather than holding the iron in place) so the holes will never appear.
- Beware of the garage sale finds. Some bargain irons are treasures and some may have broken heating elements and can scorch your fabric or even start a fire! (Ask me how I know.)
- An iron needs to hold the cotton setting temperature while you are fusing. Automatic shut-off irons may drop in temperature when you step away for a minute. In some cases you have to bother with unplugging the iron to get it heat to the cotton setting again. (I hate automatic shut-off but it has saved my life several times.)
And this is important: invest in a good steam iron. After making your design, steaming the quilt top to the non-scrim side of the batting sets the fusible glue. Steaming makes it easier to stitch and bonds the fabric into place. This tank iron from Rowenta has been by my side for over 4 years and kept me from joining the Hot Rock School of Fusing.
Better jump in the car and get a move on! Today is your last chance to attend the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. Frieda and I have had great fun visiting with all our quilt friends like you at this show. Please stop in at the Artfabrik booth #1025 and say hello.
And don’t forget to see the Chicago School of Fusing exhibit too. It looks great as do all the other exhibits of wonderful quilts. Take note: if you can’t make this year’s show, reserve last week of March, 2015 for next year’s show. That’s in early Spring, when I’ll look fresher.
Pressing Matters by Laura Wasilowski on exhibit at IQF.
I hope you have the opportunity to visit the International Quilt Festival in Chicago this weekend. Be sure to check out the exhibit by the Chicago School of Fusing when you arrive. As you know, we are dedicated to the fine art of fusing and love all the fusibilites of fusible web. At our school, Pressing Matters.
Sprouts 2 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski
Yes, the CSOF (Chicago School of Fusing) is at it once more! You’ll see the work of members Frieda Anderson, Ann Fahl, Jane Sassaman, Emily Parson, Robbi Eklow and our latest inductee, August Wasilowski, on display at the International Quilt Festival this week. The IQF is held at the Convention Center in Rosemont near O’Hare. So why not fly in for the day and visit us?
Sprouts 2 by Laura Wasilowski
As Dean of Corrections at the CSOF, you’ll also see a few of my pieces on exhibit too like Sprouts #2. As the song says: “I’m proud to be a fuser from Chicago. The school that makes cool to cut and fuse. When you become a wonder under user, your work has endless possibilities.”