Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I love my iron

Now don't think I've gone all weird and am in love with doing laundry, far from it. BUT, as a tatter, my iron is a pretty special tool. Case in point. Yesterday I finished a snowflake design that I though was looking pretty good until I finished that last join and I knew that this design just wasn't going to work without some serious blocking. Blocking is not my favourite thing to do. I accept that as a tatter, it comes with the territory, but I don't have to like it.
As I slapped the snowflake down on my ironing board and pinned it out it occurred to me that this little job is made easier by the cleaning feature on the iron. Since the kettle is usually hot from making a cup of tea, I usually just pour a little of the already hot water into the iron and by the time I have my "cotton tea towel that doubles as a pressing cloth" on the board and the lace pinned in place, the iron is steaming hot. A quick swipe of the iron across the board to check it out and then the cloth gets folded over the lace and the iron on top. A quick push of the cleaning lever and a spray of boiling water hits the cloth covered lace. The feature is meant for cleaning out the iron and I use it for that too, but in short spurts it works gteart for wetting the lace. Then I leave the iron on it for a few seconds to mostly dry it out. I pull the pins, cover it again and give it another quick press. Instant blocking. I love it. I always use a pressing cloth on lace because I've used steam irons before that spit out scale. If I anything goes wrong the damage happens to the pressing cloth and not the lace. I've overdone the pressing before too. The pressing cloth has the scorch marks to prove it, but the lace is fine. The ironing board has 2 covers and 2 pads on it. That's because I scorched the first one. My old board had an asbestos cover, made back before they knew the dangers of asbestos, could tale any amount of heat, but the new one couldn't and I forgot. The double padding makes for easier blocking. I just angle the pins in and with the pressing cloth between the pins and the iron I can zap it with a lot of heat without scraping the finish off the iron or damaging the lace.

The iron was a gift from my honey about a bzillion years ago. I wondered about it when he got it for me since I was single at the time and all my clothes where the non-iron variety. I suppose when he saw me steaming hair ribbons with the kettle he figured I needed an iron. I guess he didn't know that velvet ribbon can't be ironed. At any rate, here I am, years later, very thankful that it makes blocking lace a 5 minute job.

Upon hearing that other people are using this technique, I reflected on the times NOT to use this method. It's fine for cotton threads. Don't use it on tatting that incorporates blending filaments. They are plastic and they melt. Don't use it if your tatting includes plastic beads. I always use glass. I didn't once. Thankfully I was using a a paper towel as a pressing cloth, so there was no harm done, except to the tatting.


Vinnie said...

Oh Yeah!
I love my iron too.
I so much hate blocking and hiding the ends.
The iron press works so well to put things into place.

Kathy Niklewicz said...

This is an excellent tutorial with some great advice! I haven't done too much blocking and I'm not really sure where my iron IS at the moment (somewhere in my still disorganized craft room!), but I'll print out this post for future reference!

Kitika said...

I have the exact same iron.. and I always wondered what that clean setting was for. I just assumed that it was to clean the iron.. like a self cleaning oven thing. Mine also has a nasty habbit of spitting out scale, which I unfortunately didnt realize until after blocking a huge tatted black collar... ah. live and learn right? Thanks for the tip on this, I'm going to have to try it out for my next piece!

Sharon said...

The cleaning feature is meant to regularly flush the scale out of the iron, so that the steam holes don't get clogged. I use it for that too, each time I use the iron. I once had a piece of very wrinkly lace that I kept wetting by hand and pressing but it took forever and in impatience I hit the clean button to soak the lace. It worked like a charm and I've used it that way ever since.