Which iron for quilting?
What is the best iron recommended for piecing?
I would like something heavy and that does not automatically turn off.
And must it be a steam iron?
We are of the same mind!
I use a Rowenta Professional (DX8900) for the reasons you mention:
- It does not shut off automatically. I plug it into a light strip with either a light or a fan (depending on the time of year), that helps me to remember to turn off the iron when I leave the room.
- It is a heavier iron. I iron a lot of fabric during the course of a year. I hand dye fabric for sale and the ironing is my last quality check before the fabric is ready.
Given how much I iron, it's not unusual for me to wear one out every year or two, so I've tried a lot of different brands, but continually come back to Rowenta.
Now, when you've got a good Rowenta iron, you've got a good iron.
Unfortunately, several that I have owned have started to leak or spit after time. This is a frequent complaint among Rowenta users. So the verdict on Rowenta seems to be either you love them or hate them...there's not much inbetween.
Pressing as much fabric as I do makes me appreciate a heavier iron. It seems counter-intuitive, but the weight of the iron does most of the work to press things into place. You don't need to apply any force to get a good press job. So my preference is a heavier iron.
Steam vs. Dry
Personally, I like a steam iron. Even for paper piecing.
There are many who don't.
But, it is a personal preference. For me, I like to be able to 'block' quilt blocks into shape if needed and the finished block just seems crisper and flatter.
Those that don't like to use steam feel it makes you more likely to pull your units and quilt blocks out of shape, that the excess moisture can cause fabric to bleed (if it's going to bleed) and it can shrink unwashed fabric. Those reasons are just as valid as mine in favor of steam. So really the decision is yours.
Regardless of whether or not you use steam, you still have to be careful and not press too hard, too long in one spot, or you will 'shine' your seam allowances.
I hope this has not muddied the decision making process for you. You are likely to get a wide range of answers depending on how much the quilter wants to spend and how often and how long she uses her iron.
Good luck in your choice.