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?
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.