My Heizkessel Is More Eingebauten than your Heizkessel
November 10, 2006
The people have spoken. I am not talking about the election. I am talking about my new iron. This post is not for those whose iron cost quite a bit less than their sewing machine. It’s for My People. The Iron People.
Let us pause for a moment to reflect on all the good times I’ve shared with my Rowenta.
I think of my Rowenta as just one Rowenta, always the same, always the best. But in fact, my current Rowenta is not my first Rowenta. I have found that my Rowentas, while stalwart and majestic, eventually crap out on me somewhere down the line. Current Rowenta has started to display Symptoms. Maybe she has Iron Poor Blood. Maybe her soleplate is a little banged up. Maybe she’s ironed over one too many t-shirts with sticky decals. (I iron t-shirts. Shut UP.) But I’ve been concerned for her future. For our future together as Iron and Wife.
This concern was not uppermost in my mind until last Friday at Stitches East, when I was stopped in my tracks by a lady Product Demonstrator who emerged, like an angel, from a cloud of steam. Oh, she was good, this lady Product Demonstrator. She was just as good as that well-dressed Englishman you see demonstrating vegetable peelers all over New York City. (You know the one I mean? The gent who, if they ever make a movie about peeler peddlers, would be played by Anthony Hopkins? Who makes you question your whole approach to peeling vegetables?)
This woman had me at ‘hello’.
It’s not an iron. Please: it’s a dampfbugeleisen. Here are its features, which I don’t expect to convince any Sunbeam featherweight, “my iron is heated with a light bulb” philistines out there. You had to be there.
1. One-temperature ironing. No more thinking to yourself, ‘this is cotton but I want to crank the dial to ‘linen’ to really flatten the sucker”. You use the same–lower–temperature setting to iron ALL FABRICS. Don’t believe you can iron taffeta on the same setting as sackcloth? BELIEVE.
2. Because of the lower heat setting, you can leave the iron soleplate-down on a piece of fine fabric FOREVER and it will not scorch. I saw it, people. No more nasty brown ironing-board covers. The way is clear to get one of those ultra-fancy ironing board covers, because you’re not going to ruin it. O the possibilities.
3. Two words: Internal Boiler. Or, for those who enjoy German as I do: Eingebauten Heizkessel. Your heizkessel has never been so very, very eingebauten. This means that the tank that holds the water is inside the part of the iron that is hot. In regular irons, the water tank is separate from the heating unit, so the water has to travel to the heating element to make steam (much like a coffee maker, as I understand it). The fact that the water is IN the iron means that you have room for more water (refill less often) and you get:
4. STEAM LIKE YOU’VE ONLY DREAMED OF. You could open a thermal sanitarium with this thing. We’re talking Calistoga. Whoooooossssssshhhhhhhhhhsh. Continuous geyser action. No pauses for heating water (see point 3 above). Multi-purpose, too. Intruder in your sewing room? Don’t make any sudden moves; just point, shoot and melt the guy into a puddle.
5. No automatic shut-off. In my brief life as a quilter, I have learned that quilting is 10 percent sewing and 90 percent ironing. (I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I’m just saying.) The fabric processing needs of a quilter who believes in the almighty power of pre-washing (as do I, having been taken under the wing of the Old School Pre-Washers), are not to be believed. In addition to the ironing that comes of pre-washing, there frequently is the need to press a seam right after you’ve sewn it, so you can sew another one onto it. Sit down–sew–get up–iron. It’ s a BUMMER when you have to wait for the iron to re-heat because it’s gone and shut itself off. At that moment, you do not care that the automatic shut-off feature might be useful for details like not burning your house down. You want steam, and you want it now. And if you’re a big sissy who frets about house fires all day long, see Point Number 2 above. This iron ain’t that hot. And who are we kidding–I’m too much of a worrywart to really leave the iron on when I’m done. The automatic shut-off feature is a cruel manipulation of my fears. I won’t have it, I tell you.
6. An amazing ride–I mean, glide. This machine purely floats on the fabric. Your naps will be nappier, your creases snappier. Iron over a button, and both button and iron are okay with that. Despite the ease of ironing, you can iron through many layers at once. A stack of fat quarters? Whoosh whoosh, iron the top one and you’re done. Front and back of shirt simultaneously. (Although that would surely violate the Protocols of Ironing. Not recommended, but nice to know that we have the technology.)
So anyway, for these and many other reasons that would require a lot of analysis sessions to dislodge, I got the iron. Cheaper than therapy. Not to sound defensive or anything, but it’s not like I own a fancy pre-printed blocking board or anything. I bought no yarn–ZERO YARN, PEOPLE. And even with the iron, my wee Janome Jem sewing machine was such a bargain that I’m practically underspending on my batterie de quilting. Paltry really. Bare subsistence quilting happening here.
Watch the movie. Mock me. Judge me. I don’t care. I’ve got the Great Iron of Our Generation, and I know it.
I would post a progress picture of Lady Raspy, but all my shots remind me of Nora Ephron’s latest book. The neck of the sweater is going great, the neck of the knitter–not so much.
Happy weekend, my steam-iron warriorettes.
P.S. Did I mention that I don’t own a spinning wheel? Niddies–none? Noddies–nada?
Edited to add: To the nut jobs interested in buying this iron (I love you guys!): All I know is that you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax them at (413)323-7717. Insist on getting the ‘Stitches’ price–I’m told the ‘regular’ price is higher and you know, even we nut jobs have a limit!