BCQuilter's Weblog

When to replace your iron?

Posted on: 28 January 2011

I’ve been wanting to write this blog for awhile, but with life and all its ‘pleasures’ sometimes it is hard to do.  So with nothing to do today… well, I could be piecing, or quilting, or cutting, but well, you know what I mean.  Sometimes we just have to do what we have to do.

This post isn’t advice on when to replace your iron, although I was hoping to refer to some information on it.  But I can’t find anything on the internet.  I did once, but do you think I could find it.  Uh Uh.  No way.  No how.  So you will just have to bear with me, and allow me to, perhaps, entertain you, with the story of when I knew it was time to replace my iron.

I have to tell you, I love my iron.  Okay, maybe not love… but I really like it.  It is a Panasonic (don’t have the model #)  It has a nice weight.  It has a very pointy tip, great for pressing those small pieces when quilting.  Although I don’t use it, it even has a retractable cord.  It has an auto on/off feature, great when I do some piecing, and then come and do some pressing.  Sure, I have to give it a tip, to warm back up, if it has been several minutes, but it doesn’t take long to heat up.    And if I step out of my Quilt’n Room, and forget to turn off the iron, no worries, as I know it will shut itself off.

Well, my poor iron had a bit of an accident.  I know not how it happened.

To give you an idea on how the following events took place, I need to give you a quick description of my Quilt’n Room.   My room is “L” shaped, and at the foot of the L, is where the closet is.  In the closet I have my desk, and all compute equipment.  For the door of the closet I have a shower rod, with curtain loops, with curtain hoops with crimps to hold my design wall, which is a flannel sheet.   When I’m quilting, I can drag the sheet around my desk, and my design wall is usable.  When not using the design wall I can slip it back out of the way.  Behind my office chair is the ironing board and iron.   Where the top and the bottom of the “L” meet, the corner is where my cutting table is.  In the top of the “L” is where my sewing machine(s) and storage for fabric is.  Okay… do you remember where the ironing board is?  Right… right behind me.  Hee hee.

Now, I don’t recall, what I was doing, but as I swivelled to the left (towards the door), I noticed my iron was on some boxes… not on my ironing board.  I have no idea how it got there.  I have some ideas… mainly a kitty or two, who must have knocked it off.  It surprised me, as this had never ever happened before, in the almost 5 years that I’ve been quilting… or just over 3 years that I’ve had my Quilt’n room.

I’m sure you know what I did next… I picked it up.  Still puzzled on how it got to be where it was.  Then I gasped!

How did my iron become fuzzy?  Okay, it is a teflon coated plate… but!  REALLY!  Well, it was Christmas time, busy at work, and of course busy around the house.  I wasn’t planning on doing any quilting, so I left the whole thing until after Christmas.  Poor poor thing.  What was I going to do?  Was this iron even still available?  Well, I’ll just deal with it after Christmas.  That was my plan.

So Christmas came and went.  One of my gifts was a new iron.  (The other gift that is quilting related will be introduced in another blog post).  Then I got a respiratory infection on Boxing Day, which laid me up for 4 days.   Then it was back to work.   The puzzle of how my iron ended up becoming fuzzy still baffled me.  Remember where I told you where my ironing board is?  Well, the “butt” of the ironing board is against a wall, with a large window.  Near the wall, and behind me, I have a bag of polyester batting, I use for my stuffed critters – right now Sock Monkeys.  On closer inspection, I noticed part of the bag was missing.  The bag hadn’t been opened yet.  So here is what I think happened.

Kitty(s) playing on the iron board, knocked the iron over (it is usually at the butt of the ironing board, or the widest part).  It tumbles onto the bag of polyester batting, turns on, and melts into the bag and the stuffing.  Stuffing becomes adhered to the iron.  As the stuffing is being adhered, the iron falls again, moving about 2 feet forward to come to rest on some boxes.  And must have then shut itself off again.

It is now into the New Year, and I’ve pulled the new iron out of its box.  WOW!  Is it every shiny.  I had told DH what happened to the iron, and he bought me a new one.  It is a Sunbeam.  I wasn’t too sure about it.  The point on the plate is not very pointy, but the plate is much wider.  Great for pressing yardage, and lots of units.

It also has a auto off/on, but when it is off.. it is really off.  If you come to turn it on, you actually need to select the setting, before it turns back on.  It has a digital display for fabric selection.  And it has 3 steam settings.  I hardly used steam with the Panasonic, but I have noticed with the Sunbeam, that I do need the lowest steam setting, to press wrinkles out, and to press units.

I’ve been using the new iron for the past few weeks.  I’ve been working on a commission quilt.  A woman I know, bought Hawaiin fabric remnants from a seamstress in Hawaii who makes shirts.  The new iron and I have become friends.

What is your most entertaining quilting story?   Would you share it with us, I know I would like to read about it.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT:  How often do you replace your iron.  As quilters, we actually go through (or should be), irons quicker than most typical home irons.  Think about it.  How many hours is your iron in use for your quilting?  For me… lots and lots.  Some days, anywhere from 1 to 6 hours per day, sometimes even more.  If you quilt, say 3 days per week, that could be upwards of 18 hours per week.   A whopping 900+ hours in a year.  The typical household iron is not meant for that kind of use.  Which means, it isn’t going to last 10 years, or 20 years, as it may have in days gone by.  Do you use your household iron for quilting, or do you have a separate iron?  And if anyone finds out when we should be replacing our irons, please let me know.


10 Responses to "When to replace your iron?"

This sure gave me a giggle Alice!! I’ve got 3 cats, of varying stages of curiosity. I could so imagine this happening here!! I’ve been fore-warned…Thanks for sharing! deb

I always worry that the cat is going to knock the iron down!! Glad you didn’t burn the house down;)
I’ve gone through more irons than any other appliance in the house. I’ve gotten expensive ones, cheap ones, and something in between. I find that no matter how much I spend on an iron, it usually lasts about the same amount of time. I can tell when the iron is going bad when it just doesn’t get hot enough any more.
Happy Quilting!!

Yeah, me too. Always seem to be replacing my iron. As a matter of fact, my current iron died just yesterday. One minute it worked and the next minute – pfft! Luckily, I have a backup (I always keep one on hand, LOL). Now I will have to go out and buy another backup!


I tried to replace my iron about a year ago. I hated the new one, so I’m still using the one that had the temp setting dial fall off. I have to unplug it to get it to really turn off, but so far, so good. (My mom has one that shuts off automatically and no matter how much you try to convince me that her $100 iron is better than my $10 iron, I’ll never believe you!) My iron is at least 10 years old, though, so I guess that says a lot for Proctor-Silex!

Oh my gosh! You are lucky your house didn’t catch on fire! I have a nightly routine of checking to be sure all outside doors are locked, and when I check the sunroom door, I also check to be sure the iron is unplugged; I do that every night! I had to buy a new iron in late 2009, and I got a Sunbeam SteamMaster; it says it is drip free, but I’ve never put water in it. I use a water spritz when necessary, and I like it just fine. The plug built in to my ironing board cabinet has a light and timer that cuts everything off according to the minutes timed. (Hide-Away Ironing Boards out of Tulsa, Okla; purchased from Home Depot) I love that feature, because I’m so forgetful sometimes.
It is good to hear from you again; missed you around here! Hope things are going better now, and I’m glad to know you are still quilting. I’m so glad you had no more damage than losing the iron. Happy quilting! Can’t wait to see the commission. —“Love”

My new iron, purchased just a few weeks ago, is a Panasonic. So far, so good. The last couple of irons I had both had digital features, and both lasted only eight or nine months. (They were Black and Decker.) One of them beeped all the time — when it was ready to use, about to shut off, etc. The beeping drove me crazy.
I still do a fair amount of household ironing, although I’m not as bad as my mom, who still irons tea towels!
The Hawaiian quilt sounds very interesting. Be sure to take pictures.


I’ve just remembered the Maytag cordless iron that I bought five or six years ago. (Even on sale it was quite pricey.) I thought it would revolutionize the way I ironed. It was slow to heat up on the base, and I could never even finish one of my husband’s dress shirts before it needed to recharge. The same was true for a tablecloth or any new piece of fabric more than a metre in length. All that waiting around was very frustrating. Sadly, it just stopped working one day!


he he he…
I had my basic (very basic!) Black & Decker iron for about 15 years before it died, and it didn’t really die it just started spitting out rusty water one day. Which really wasn’t nice when it came to ironing white shirts….. 😦 It was used for quilting and the domestic stuff, and personally I’m glad it didn’t have the auto on/off thing (but that’s just me!). The new iron is a Kambrook Steamline and so far is doing it’s job nicely. 🙂

One time several years ago, I was piecing and had the iron right next to me so I could iron (duh) and all of a sudden flames came shooting out of it! Luckily, I was sitting right there at the time. I unplugged it right away and the flames stopped. That was scarey! It must have been in 2007, because that’s when I bought my Rowenta (at JoAnn’s with a 50% off coupon) and I have been very happy with it. It turns off automatically. Last week one day it was making some noise and and DH pressed the steam button and that seemed to help. I used my travel iron for a few days and then went back to the big iron and it was fine yesterday. I have to clean it out every once in a while and I’m sure I don’t do it as often as I should. I also love my travel Rowenta (that I also bought for 50% off). It works great in the camper!

Hi Alice, Great post. I’m so glad that the only thing wrecked was the iron. I’m not a big fan of the irons that don’t totally turn off.

I really liked my Black and Decker, but the cord gets really hot. So about 3 years ago I went out a bought a Rowenda (on Sale). It took me a long time to get used to it and have to unplug because it has that feature that it doesn’t totally turn off. I still have my B/D and wish I knew someone that could fix it.

Good to hear from you. Connie204

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