Thursday, February 21, 2013

Changing Old Habits

For my 1st seven years of quilting I was addicted to steam. My Rowenta iron was always full of water and ready to go! I am so impressed when I take out a quilt top now how those seams are still perfectly FLAT! I never used starch, always steam.

When I started quilting again in late September I quit using steam. I think my Rowenta had been dropped one time too many as it started spitting and occasionally spewing gunky water where I didn't care to have it. I cleaned it, but think it was too late.

I read raves about Mary Ellen's Best Press and how using a spray bottle of water was better than steam. I have both handy and use them on occasion. Other than ironing fabric for a NewFO (which doesn't happen a lot around here!) I'm not sure exactly when to use to use starch.

Just before Christmas my Rowenta started smelling like it was burning. I didn't have a lot of time to decide on a new iron so went with a mid-level $$ Black & Decker Digital Advantage. I don't love it like my Rowenta, but I like it fine. I use it mostly dry, but will bust out the steam when needed. Mainly to press a quilt top before sandwiching it. And, I'm obeying it when I get the CLEAN message on the display!

I also sewed over pins ALL the time. My Pfaff never seemed to mind, I never broke a needle and rarely bent a pin. I like to use the extra fine pins so that might have helped. Both Jukis are not so pin friendly...
so I am trying to remove my pins as I sew up to them but I am finding that habit much harder to break than my steam habit. Having to pack up one of these machines for a service call due to a pin bit or needle tip somewhere it doesn't belong scares the you-know-what out of me!
Today's tactic.

Are you addicted to steam, a fan of starch or do you sew over pins? Do tell! I'm linking up at...
Live A Colorful Life


  1. I hadn't tried pins with the Juki yet. Thanks for the warning. I am a pinner too, so I hope I can break the habit.

  2. I love steam! And would use starch too...because
    Ellen's Best smells so good. I like to hover over the steam and take in the fresh scent. However, I usually only use starch when biased edges are an issue.

    Pins....I avoid using them at all....although they are useful when doing fiddley piecing.

  3. I love steam and the starch alternative spray -- I don't know that you are supposed to use them together but I do like the way that my room smells afterward. I have a viking and never sew over my pins unless I am doing a curved piece but I try then to not sew over them. I do however need a new iron so any tips are welcome

  4. I love to use starch when I am doing a job that is on the bias. I love to have the fabric crisp so that I know that it will not move under the sewing machine needle. I am doing more dry ironing than before just because a steam can make your strips stretch some. As for the pins, I love to pin but now if I am sewing across the block, like in your picture, I pin going along the sew line. My fabric still stays in place and I don't have to remove the pins until I am done with the sewing part.
    By the way, just found your blog and enjoy looking at all that you have done. Great job.

  5. I like steam. I usually keep the steam setting somewhere in the middle. I have an old Rowenta that I've had for over 10 years. Dropped a few times. I don't know what I'll do if it ever dies.
    I don't use starch a ton. Usually only on tricky bias seams. When I hand stitched a hexagon and diamond quilt I used lots of starch. Otherwise - meh.
    Pins, I never sew over pins. Ever. I've broken needles, and have had the tip fly at me! It also dulls your needle if you hit them. I just pull them out of the way.

  6. I like steam too but for some reason quilters in my area think it stretches the fabric and I got out of the habit of using it for pressing seams.

  7. I use steam most of the time because I like it flat. Starch only when dealing with bias. And never sew over pins.....ditto the comment above because a needle broke and flew towards me a long time ago. I also steam edges after binding if there is any wavy areas. See steam can be useful!

  8. Love your blog. Visiting from really random thursday. i just don't pin!! I have never used starch but see that it could be amazing

  9. What's a pin? LOL!
    That's how rarely I use them. But I starch the back side of each block when I press it and everything lies so nicely and flattens down.

  10. I seem to use steam, unless I run out of water and am too lazy to refill! I also know a thing or two about bent pins as my Janome doesn't care for them.

  11. I use both the water and the Best Press (helps control bias). My Rowenta has been on its "last legs" for a while. Dread the thought of buying a new iron. Probably will go the B&D route, too. I do not sew over pins. I use a bamboo skewer as a stiletto. I really don't want to spend $$ repairing my machines....and you are so right about Juki machines and Juki will hit every pin, I am sure!!!

  12. So funny to read this...I've been trying to use pins less as well and I just tried Best Press for the first time last week after friends have raved about it. I love how crisp and flat it makes everything - works much better than plain water or steam for me!

  13. I still sew over pins sometimes. I find that if I pull them out as I sew, I pull the fabrics a little out of whack. Of course, a normal person would STOP sewing, pull out the pin and then continue. But I am all pedal to the metal around here. Lately I've been pinning in a way that the pin tips will fall just short of the 1/4 inch area I plan to sew.

  14. I love steam. The Best Press is awesome on shot cottons because they need a bit more body and it works just great. I found that the best thing is to use the Best Press before I cut them out. And I sew over pins. Oops...


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