Taking the time to iron and starch fabrics before you start a project builds a solid foundation for the rest of the process – I love crisp edges and strongly believe that they make creating so much easier. Today we are sitting down with Michele Muska, who works for Oliso Smart Iron. I got my hands on this iron and absolutely love it. I am so happy to be chatting with Michele today. Grab yourself some tea, coffee, or maybe even some wine, and let’s talk about creating.
Tell me a little about yourself!
M: I live in North Central Connecticut and just love New England! I have 2 boys and I’m now a grammy to 2 of the most adorable girls!
Gardening, crafting, and cooking are truly a passion for me. I also have written columns and craft/quilt projects for magazines in the industry. Recently my feature on silk flowers is in the What Women Create Summer 2021 and My Patchwork Jeans feature in the Spring 22 issue. My book Quilting The New Classic was published by SoHo Publishing in 2014.
My website is: michelemuska.com
I have a custom stitching business – hand stitching is really my first love.
Oh my gosh!! That is wonderful. All these things take a lot of time and are incredible achievements. I’ve been wanting to create a book but can’t decide on the way to do it.
OK… I live in a desert and would love to see pictures of your garden. I’ve always loved outdoor gardening, but over the pandemic, I became obsessed with indoor plants. They’re now my sanity. Do you have indoor plants??
M: I have a few, but they usually end up at my mom’s house next door since I kind of forget about them!!
Are you a crafter / quilter?
M: I have been a maker ever since I can remember. I love all crafts, but it seems like I always return to fiber-related projects ie: quilting, felting, flowers, stuffies, and hand stitching/embroidery.
Quilting is a big part of my work world so it’s great that I can be in an industry that supports what I love to do as a hobby.
It is so wonderful when those two worlds, work-life and creative outlet, collide and thrive.
Where is Oliso located? the Bay Area
I Googled it and think it might be in California? That’s pretty wonderful. I love how we can work in one location for a company in a completely different state.
M: It really is. Especially now that I have 2 granddaughters and love spending as much time with them as possible.
M: Irons are such an important part of garment sewing and quilt making – as well as crafting. I worked in the craft industry for Simplicity and their craft brands for 16 years prior to joining Oliso. It was a natural fit working for an iron manufacturer since I am very connected to the industry they serve.
What inspired the smart iron?
M: Ehsan Alipour, the company owner and the inventor of the smart iron, was challenged during his graduate project at Stanford to take an everyday product and change it for the better. His mom and aunt were sewists and he thought that he would like to make their life easier!
Oliso wants to Surprise, Delight and Simplify your life.
That is truly fascinating!! He turned his college project into a business. I love ironing with the smart iron and have to say they do all three of those things for me. They also put a smile on my face with just the way they look.
M: Well, it looks like Oliso did its job then!! So happy you enjoy working with them.
What makes it smart?
M: The TG iron collection has an iTouch handle that when gently touched will raise the feet into the iron so the soleplate drops to the pressing surface. When you release your hand from the handle it raises the iron back up and the iron will remain horizontal. This is not only a safety feature with the iron not standing upright but is also ergonomic by saving your wrist from picking the iron up and down. It also has a lower center of gravity and will remain on the ironing board even when bumped to a 30-degree angle.
Yes!! I have experienced that bump and the smart iron stays. Love that!! I have the illusion that I can move 100 things at once. Picture this: me moving the iron, iron board, rotary cutter, and small cutting mat all at once. I like to wrap the cord around the board so I don’t trip on the cord. But I would suggest to the reader to move them all separately. LOL.
Why do you make a superior iron?
M: We believe that making an iron that is concerned not only with safety, but also ergonomics, sets our iron apart. We are constantly striving to improve our iron as seen by the new features in our TG1600 ProPlus model that is out now. It now has the diamond-coated ceramic soleplate like the mini iron so it glides over all types of fabrics and makes for easy cleanup, especially with fusibles!
I got one at QuiltCon!! And it’s even better than the first one. By the way- it was so nice meeting you in person at QuiltCon. I am so happy that I have a photo of us from your booth.
What is your favorite iron out of all of the ones you make? Is it because of color?
M: I think it is now the mini iron… I love the diamond-coated ceramic soleplate for working with fusibles. I make silk flowers with a fusible product and the mini is perfect for that. But when I’m quilting I like to use a lot of steam and the new ProPlus has a continuous steam and steam burst so I just love that. Both are available in our 4 colors: yellow, pink, turquoise, and orchid. I think my favorite color is the one that matches the project I am working on at the moment. Makes for a great Instagram photo.
I too love the mini!! It’s so easy to use. I’ve been working on my ironing board a lot. I have a medium-sized home and during the pandemic, my husband has taken over the kitchen as a home office. So if I want to watch TV as I work on my sewing projects, I take the ironing board to our bedroom and work there – trimming, ironing, and planning.
How long have you worked for Oliso?
M: Since May of 2019. But I’ve owned an Oliso for over 10 years and have known the owners for just as long. We are a small company and wear many hats!
What do you do for Oliso?
M: I am the Director of Content and Community Relations. I also work on the Product Development Team, Marketing and sales.
Many hats indeed!!
Where are the products manufactured?
M: The Products are designed in the US at our headquarters and manufactured in China and Japan.
What is your favorite project to make?
M: I love making fusible silk flowers with our mini iron!
Michelle, they are beautiful!!
What other products does Oliso create?
M: Besides our fabric care collection, we also manufacture kitchen products: Sou Vide, a food Vacuum Sealer, and all the accessories.
How can we subscribe to your newsletter?
M: You can find our sign up at the bottom of each page on our website: www.oliso.com
Thank you so much for chatting with me today. It has been a delight to collaborate with you on projects like the Sew-A-Thon. We’ve been planning this interview for a year or more. Thank you for your patience. I can’t wait to see what you will create next and what Oliso will come up with next.
I’m a little tempted to see what a food vacuum sealer will do… Someday I’ll get into growing more veggies and dream of having my own small greenhouse. But I think my other crafty dreams will trump the chef and green thumb card.
If you have any questions about the Smart Iron or Michele, put them in the comments and I’ll update the blog post with the answers.