Before we get into this pressing subject 🙂, I wanted to remind you that anytime I post a technique with step-by-step instructions you can print all or part of the post for future reference. On a computer click on the “File” menu at the top of your screen and select “Print”. Then follow the prompts. On a phone or tablet there are options to do this also, but it varies from device to device. If this seems daunting – ask a young person 🤪.
And now for the topic of the week:
I’ve been noticing the latest, greatest pressing products at quilt shows recently are Wool Pressing Mats. Lynn sent me an email recently and it inspired this post. She asked if I had used one and what my opinion was. I had not, but it was a great excuse to jump in and make one my own.
Here’s a portion of Lynn’s email:
“My one friend swears by the press board and there are youtube videos showing how to make one. While my other friend says a wool mat is the way to go. I feel part of my problem, after investigation, is a regular ironing board allows the block to shift, whereas both a pressing board (covered in canvas) and a wool mat do not. The one con to the wool mat I had heard is that it allows the heat, especially the steam through to the surface it is on.”
I have never made a pressing board because I own a number of the June Tailor™ Cut and Press boards – and I’ve used them for years.
These mats have a slightly padded, yet firm surface covered with canvas. I must admit – I have been very pleased with them, especially when traveling, and the cutting surface on the back is great. My opinion would be: I highly recommend them!
So what about the wool pressing mat? My local shop, Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc, carries the Granny’s Legacy mats and I decided to get the larger size right off the bat, because I felt it would be more useful in my studio than the smaller ones.
The manager at the store (my friend Terrie) shared her thoughts about the mat: “I’ve found I have to be careful with steam as it does absorb and could go through to surface below. I do use steam on it (just not with the really nice dining room table below). I like it right by my machine to press those pieces right away with my small iron and continue sewing. I do keep it flat laying on a table.”
I enjoy reading other quilter’s opinions. I tried it for myself and here are a few of mine:
I placed mine on top of the ironing surface I usually use – a thin ironing pad laid on a formica countertop.
I knew this would be a “safe” surface, even if I used steam.
I am not a fan of steam when I’m piecing because it can cause distortion. I found the wool mat to work great without steam. It seemed to hold the heat against the back side of the fabric, giving me crisp seams more quickly ~ and without steam.
I also noticed the quilt blocks don’t slip around as easily as they do on my normal ironing surface. I’m sure Lynn will appreciate that!
In my research I read that the wool mats work with velvet or embellished pieces when placed face down, as the wool adapts to the uneven surfaces and doesn’t crush them. My friend Sue makes custom pillows. She did some preliminary testing of this theory and is cautiously optimistic.
I showed my mat to the quilters in my Thursday class and Eileen decided to get one. Here are a few of her comments:
“I bought a 13-1/2” square felted wool pressing mat made by Gypsy Quilting. This wool mat is fabulous! It really did press seams better! I was using steam and the mat did get moist all the way through but dried easily when I set it on its side. I won’t use steam next time and will see how that goes. It’s great! Thank you for telling us about it!”
Do you have a wool mat?
Do you like it? Any comments?
Do you prefer the canvas covered pressing boards?
I’m sure we’d all love to read any opinions you’d like to share. Please comment on this post so we can learn from each other!