Scissor Talk! A chat about embroidery scissors
Post updated: 4th March, 2018
We all know how important it is to use the best tools we can, to get the best result. This covers our needles, threads, fabrics, and scissors.
Scissors seem to be something of a collectable for embroiderers! We seem to just love ‘having’ scissors. Some are pretty, some have a special meaning. And others are neither of these two things, they are just practical and do a good job!
I am no exception to this slightly odd characteristic, and have a number of scissors too. So today, I thought I’d go through my thoughts on three scissors I own – Sojou, Ernest Wright, and Kai.
What I look for in a pair of scissors
I used to not pay a great deal of attention to the real particulars of embroidery scissors. As long as they were sharp enough to cut the thread I was happy!
But since working with a slate frame and the hands-free elbesee frame, having a pair of scissors that can cut the thread neatly, and very close the fabric, is very important. This is because I am using the waste knot method of starting, and a couple of back stitches to finish, each thread. So I need to be sure there is no thread left on the top that hasn’t popped to the back after cutting it off. With the frame being so tight, it does ‘pop’ to the back. But you don’t want to leave too long a tail, otherwise it either won’t all pop to the back, or will get caught up in your stitching.
So lets have a look at these three brands of scissors!
These are scissors that I would pop in the ‘pretty’ category of scissors. Mine are the stunning, beautiful mother of pearl scissors. For me, I just love having them on my work table!
But, a pair of embroidery scissors needs to be more than just pretty. They need to do their job too! These scissors do a good job, however you aren’t going to be able to get nice and close to your work with them. Their tip is just not sharp enough. But, for general embroidery work, they do a lovely job.
Ernest Wright Embroidery Scissors
Ernest Wright scissors are still hand made here in England! Their curved embroidery scissors are some of my favourite scissors. I have two pairs – one for cutting out stumpwork elements, and another pair for cutting threads. They have a sharp tip, and because of the curved edge, you can get nice and close to your fabric.
I also have a pair of their 10cm embroidery scissors. They too have a very sharp point. The point isn’t as fine as others, which I do find makes it a little hard to cut close to the fabric.
I have purchased goods from their stall at the Knitting and Stitching Show, and have also purchased through their website. They are lovely in person, and the online experience was just as pleasant! I had my scissors very promptly delivered, and they were well packaged. If your scissors need sharpening, they did say at the show that they do offer that as a service, however I wasn’t able to find this information on their website at this time.
Another pair of ‘practical’ scissors. These have become one of my favourite pairs of scissors of late. For my silk shading piece, cutting the threads right on the fabric is critical. And these scissors allow you to do that. They have a very fine, sharp point, which allows you to get a lovely crisp cut.
The big downfall with these scissors is the difficulty in actually getting your hands on them! I’m not sure if it is just a shortfall in supply at this point in time, or if it is a common problem. The RSN Shop currently only has the curved edge scissors in stock (until close to Christmas). Amazon seems to occasionally have them in stock, however they aren’t always the cheapest option. I recently purchased mine from My Fabrics, which actually runs out of Germany. Despite this, even taking into account postage, it was still cheaper than Amazon!
I also recently purchased a pair of Prym scissors from Sew and So thinking they would be another brand to try out. I was a little surprised to find they are actually Kai scissors under a different brand. The ones I purchased are their professional, 10cm embroidery scissors. Again, they are wonderful and sharp, but for me, they are a little too large (just as the Ernest Wright ones are), for getting that very close cut to the fabric. They do however come in 9cm variety, which would probably be what I was after for my needs!
There are many more, very good brands of scissors out there!
This is a very brief look at only three brands of embroidery scissors out there. There are of course many more, very good quality scissors out there. And we will all have our favourite. Or maybe a few favourites depending on what we are stitching. My Sajou scissors are my favourite for non-slate frame projects where I don’t need to cut nice and close to the fabric. They are also my favourite when working with crewel wool fabric. Why? I don’t know! It’s habit most likely, and nothing more. And as I mentioned, Kai scissors are now my favourite pair of scissors when working on a slate frame, or when I need to get a nice clean cut close to the fabric.
And lets not forget the ‘specialist’ scissors
The scissors I’ve noted above are all ’embroidery’ scissors. But sometimes, we need something a little more specialist for our needs.
When cutting out stumpwork elements, you should keep the pair of scissor you use for that purpose just for that purpose. As you are also cutting fabric, the scissors will wear a little quicker. I also mentioned that I use a pair of curved scissors for this purpose. This is of course up to you, but I have learnt that it does help to get a closer and more accurate cut when using scissors with a curved blade.
Cutting stumpwork wire should also be used with a pair of scissors you have dedicated to this use. But an older pair that you might no longer use for cutting threads is more than sufficient for this purpose.
When completing gold or metallic work, you should again use a pair set aside for this purpose. I purchased my little pair from The Golden Hinde here in the UK, but I’m sure there are also many other stockists. These specialist gold work scissors have a serrated edge, which is supposed to make it easier to cut the metal threads. However, I have found a dedicated, sharp, curved edge pair of scissors works better, as it allows you to get a crisper, cleaner cut, and also cut smaller pieces.
I have never completed any whitework, so I’m sure someone can help out on this one, but I’m sure with all the delicate work and cutting involved more than a steady hand will be required!
And now over to you!
Do you have a scissor obsession too?
What are your favourite scissors?