How to Upgrade Your Pressing on a Budget

I recently found myself back in the U.S. using a cheap ironing board and a basic iron to do my pressing. I was frustrated and having issues with getting a perfect press on some half square triangles. At home, in India, I use a wool pressing mat and a basic iron, but the wool pressing mat seems to make a huge difference.

I wanted to upgrade to a wool mat and a different iron, but when I started looking at the irons other quilters were using I realized they weren't in my budget. I wasn't ready to drop $200 on an iron. I am guessing a lot of you are with me. So what's a quilter to do?

I decided I needed to find a middle ground and upgrade, without spending an arm and a leg.

For starters I looked for a new wool pressing mat. I love the one I use in India, but it's small. I have been wanting to get a larger one. I knew I could easily pack a wool ironing mat to travel with me back to India. So I decided to get a Precision Quilting Tools 17 in. x 24 in. wool mat. This is the one I bought here.

It's wider than my ironing board, but still fits well enough. If you do buy one I want to warn you to make sure you only use it on a heat resistant surface. I have heard of people cracking their granite counter tops because they were using the wool mat on top.

A wool pressing mat works almost like a double press. It's magical if you ask me. The heat from the iron is absorbed in the wool mat, which radiates back from the bottom giving the fabric a press sandwich. It's well worth the money if you ask me.

Now for the iron...

I have heard a lot about Oliso and seen other quilters using and loving their irons. However, their large iron runs around $200, and I'm not ready to drop that kind of cash on an iron. 

I realized a lot of the frustration I was having previously was with pressing smaller units and blocks. The iron I was using didn't have a very good point on the end which made it hard to press seams open. Since my issue was more about pressing small blocks and not large areas I decided to look at mini irons.

I ordered the Oliso M2 Mini Project Steam Iron. This set me back $60 which is much better than the $200 their larger iron costs. I wasn't sure if I would like this model. Instead of having a handle to hold onto you grip the sides because it is so small. I have to say it took a couple days to get used to, but now I love it!

This iron has helped so much with pressing smaller quilting blocks and seams!

I only have one complaint, when I added water to the iron it ran out the bottom when I set it up straight. It could be operational error because my daughter threw out the instruction manual before I could read it. A rubber pad came with the iron, so maybe I'm not supposed to place the iron upright when I have water in it?

If you know the answer to that question let me know. I need to do a little digging.

All in all, my ironing upgrade cost me $48 for the wool mat and $60 for the mini iron... so $108. I'm super happy with my purchases. When I need to iron a larger piece of fabric or a whole quilt I use the ironing board and the regular sized iron. This works just perfect for me.

This post contains affiliate links from which I may get a percentage from purchases.

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