Hello all, Mary Ellen here.
Let’s narrow this discussion down to one of a quilter’s most basic tools: scissors. How much will you spend on a pair of scissors? How much is too much?
I own LOTS of scissors, and I do mean lots! Probably would approach 50 pairs or more if I counted all of them stashed around the place-the sewing room of course, but also the kitchen, the medicine cabinet, my teaching kit, the garden shed… Not all of them are expensive scissors. Some are, but I’ve noticed that the quality of the scissors isn’t necessarily commensurate with the cost of the scissors. Some of the kids Fiskar scissors that I have from my school teaching days are of better quality than some of the newer sewing scissors I have purchased. And by quality, I am talking sharpness, retaining their edge for long periods of time, and cutting all the way out the the tips of the blades.
Some of my scissors get babied–cleaned, oiled, polished and sharpened regularly. Many don’t. Some of them need that babying in order to perform well. Many don’t.
My most prized scissors are those that I was given by my dad’s mom. In particular, a pair of Wiss pinking scissors. They aren’t the best cutting pinkers that I own, but there is definitely a sentimental attachment, and I “admire” them for still working reasonably well after probably 70 years of use. Who knows how long Grandma had them before they came to me? They were the first pinkers that were totally mine, back when I began to take sewing lessons at the local Singer store (remember them?) and was making my own and my dolls’ wardrobes.
My most expensive scissors are Ginghers that I purchased for myself when I started to tailor suits and coats. Back then I didn’t know the details of why all of the tailoring instructors and experienced sewists swore by Ginghers, but their recommendations convinced me that I needed a pair of long blade tailoring scissors for cutting out my patterns. Those scissors are probably now 35 years old and working as well as the day I purchased them. I guess the amount I paid for them, which seemed outrageous at the time, has been well worth the investment.
I found this pair of videos about a company that still makes hand made scissors in Sheffield, England (the home of stainless steel BTW) (click here). I love hearing craftsmen who are proud of their work tell their stories. I’m considering buying a pair of their scissors just because. (available on Amazon of course!) They will outlive me I’m sure, so I’ll need to find a next generation sewist who will appreciate them when I pass them on!
Do you have a scissors story to tell? Share in the comments please. Take a look around at your collection of scissors, because I’m not done with this topic yet.