Precision Quilting Tools sent me a wool ironing mat to try out. I was skeptical that an ironing mat would make much of a change in my pressing. But, I often find that I wish I could press my paper pieced blocks a little bit flatter. I always use a dry iron when paper piecing and sometimes it doesn’t see like quite enough! These mats are made out of 100% New Zealand Wool. They claim to be a half inch thick, but when I measured mine, it’s actually a little bit thicker.
When you press, the heat of the iron transfers to the wool and heats it up too so it’s like you are ironing from both sides. Since I do not like using steam or starch when pressing my paper foundation work, this sounded like it might actually help!
For the past couple of weeks, I have been using the 17″ x 24″ mat to press my paper pieced Tell Me A Story blocks. I have noticed a definite difference. They do press flatter, as I had hoped! I am a little concerned about the ink transfer from my foundations to the mat. This happens on my ironing board cover. So far, I can’t see it on the mat. But, I have decided to use one side for paper piecing and the other for regular, so only one side gets dirty, to extend it’s life. I just placed mine right on top of my regular ironing board but you can put it on any other solid surface.
I also just ironed some yardage to test the pad and have been pleased with the results. You do get a wool smell when the heat hits the mat, but it’s not too strong or objectionable. It just reminds me of wool socks and sweaters in the winter time!
I’ve also noticed that the wool holds the fabric in place a bit while I am ironing, which is handy too. I am thinking that this will help with the stretching that can sometimes occur when pressing quilt blocks.
Precision Quilting Supplies tell me that the mats can also be used for blocking knit or embroidered projects because you can pin right onto them.
If you are interested, Precision Quilting Tools sells these on their web site, they can be purchased on Amazon, and hopefully, at your local quilt shop.