Thursday, September 27, 2012

Running with Scissors?

mary michaela murray

The right scissors can make your job so much easier.   What kind do you have in you sewing room?
I thought so!

Running with scissors was a big no-no as a child.  We where told never to run with scissors. Mothers and grandmothers for  hundreds of years would tell us horrible stories about kids that ran with scissors so right away I was afraid of the dangers of  this very sharp tool that now had to be respected and used with care.  We were taught to walk with the points down even across a small room.  After cutting we would lay them down oh so carefully and if small children came into the room, we would  remove these dangerous demons quickly to a higher shelf.   That's why dad could ever find the scissors - he didn't look up.

I remember my sister and I where sick with chicken pox and dad brought us home each a big box of paper dolls. It was like Christmas to me but trying to cut paper with those little blue plastic round tip scissors just made me so frustrated. So after a couple of hours try to cut paper with a stick, I quietly got out of bed, tippy-toed down to my mother's sewing room and "borrowed" her scissors.  That is when I learned that you aren't supposed to cut paper with mom's "good" scissors!  Searching for the "good" scissors was a weekly ritual in our house and someone usually got a spanking when the "good" scissors where found and it was usually me!

The problem I see with this shock and awe toward the mighty, sharp scissors is that it has created a fear that is associated with using them. Some of us still carry that fear.  I see it all the time in class.  The fear comes out in the kind of scissors we bring to class.  Old, dull, bent, rusty, the wrong size or some bought because Kmart had a deal.

It's as if, before we leave the house for a class, we open the family junk drawer in the kitchen (don't be ashamed, we all have one, even Martha Stewart) and just grab whatever we can find. In my house those scissors may have cut wire, quartered a chicken and dad probably cut his toenails with them. Yikes!
Then we get to class and struggle to make a clean, nice cut into fabric but all we get is a raveled,  shredded, mess. The other fear is the price. It costs too much.  $35.00 is way too much?  Well yes, if you're cutting your toenails with them, but not if you are creating a beautiful garment or quilt.   Now, would your husband or partner think about the price when buying a hammer, computer or new motorcycle helmet? Never!  We need the right tools for the job.  It took me years before I bought myself a good pare of  Gingers.  After my first cut I was hooked and I wondered why I waited so long.  I was afraid to spend the money on a tool for my little hobby.  Was I not worthy of the almighty, very sharp scissors?

We all go and get new blades for our rotary cutters but then come to class with the oldest, dullest scissors that don't even cut bread.

We can't sew without scissors. No rotary cutter will ever take the place of a good pair of scissors.  I want you to make sure that you have at least 4 good pairs of scissors in your sewing room.  I didn't get mine all at once. It is like a fine collection, you add one at a time. My dream sewing room would have 50 scissors at every station and then I'd fill the kitchen junk drawer with the Kmart specials.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Larger, heavy 8" dressmaker shears like Gingers. I have 2 pairs, one for fusible art quilts and one for regular fabrics.

2. Medium size with a serrated edge. I just got a pair of Karen Kay Buckley's new scissors that I love.

3. Small, sharp embroidery.  These are so sharp and pointy I have cut my fingers on them many times but these are a must for applique. I have them in every project bag.

4. Thread snips.  I like the models with the curved tips and keep them by the sewing machine at all times. Don't cut fabric with them, they are just for thread.  I learned that the hard way.

Now you can fill in your collection with your favorites. The more scissors, the better, and, by all means, get dad a new pair of toenail cutters.

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