Scissors…Oh, My. It’s Worse Than I Thought, Part 1

(Just the fact that I wrote this and then had to divide it into two parts says pretty much all you need to know about My Scissor Collection. I know. Kind of scary.)

So I wanted to talk about scissors this morning because I have just the tiniest bit of this Scissors Thang that is the result of having grown up totally left-handed in a time when left-handed scissors were a real rarity. I didn’t have a pair of true left-handed scissors until I was middle-aged. In the meantime, I suffered through using right-handed scissors all through school. It sounds like nothing, but if you’re totally right-handed (also right-eyed), try using a pair of true left-handed scissors to do some finely-detailed cutting, and *then* come back and scoff.

Now, if you’re going, “Huh? ‘True’ left-handed scissors?” then you’re either 1) right-handed or 2) very young. Back in the day, you could get what were called left-handed scissors, and they had grips that were adjusted for lefties, but they weren’t *sighted* for us: you looked at what you were cutting just the same way right-handed people do. True left-handed scissors have you looking along the other blade, in true left-handed fashion. They’re tough to get used to after a lifetime of making do, and they’re a ton of fun to hand to a right-handed person and then watch them struggle to figure out what’s wrong. Cruel but satisfying; you can then say, “See? This is what *we* deal with every day.”


Anyway, so I wanted to talk about scissors because I’ve been trying to replace the ones that were stolen in my sewing bag, and I went around the house gathering them up to show y’all and then went “Whoa.” I had no idea there were so many kinds of scissors in this house. So here they are, and I’ll tell you which ones I like and why.

Freeman-Zachery scissors


This first bunch, below: school scissors for little kids, bought at a back-to-school sale for 50 cents each. These are fabulous for snipping stuff, esp. thread, and the rounded ones are good to carry in a bag because they don’t have sharp points to jab you when you’re digging through there looking for your keys. I stash these all over the house. You can use them for snipping stuff out of magazines, for trimming loose threads, for any kind of non-exact rough cutting. Some of them actually work pretty well for more precise cutting, but I wouldn’t rely on them–the quality is variable. I’ve taken the rounded ones on the plane; security just turns up their noses at these sad little scissors, but they can come in really handy.

Freeman-Zachery scissors 2


These are Kai scissors, bought years ago for cutting rubber for mounting rubber stamps. They cut through rubber very well, so I use them for that sort of cutting: thicker, spongier materials that require steady, sharp blades. For cutting sheets of rubber, they’re the best I ever used.

Freeman-Zachery scissors 1


A selection of scissors my mother gave me one year when I was bemoaning my lack of specialty sewing scissors. I don’t even know what they’re supposed to be for–there are appliqué scissors and one with a little indentation that I think is made for cutting off thread. I just use them for general snipping.

Freeman-Zachery scissors 3


My good Gingher scissors. I keep the shears in the protective sleeve and use them ONLY on fabric, and then only on fabric for which I need a really good pair of scissors. In other words, these are The Good Scissors. I also had the tiny stork sewing scissors, but they were stolen, too.

Freeman-Zachery scissors 4


Fiskar’s teflon non-stick scissors, for cutting sticky stuff that would stick to the blades of regular scissors. I use these when I use the Xyron machine for making stickers or labels. Before I got these, I’d use regular scissors and then have to clean the blades with fingernail polish remover. These are much better.

Freeman-Zachery scissors 5

Really sharp-pointed Fiskars scissors. I use these for cutting out letter appliqués and tedious tiny bits of fabric, so they would be good for tiny collage bits, too. Do NOT drop these in your toes. They always seem to land point-first. Guess how I know this.

Freeman-Zachery scissors 6

OK–I see that, once again (and what a surprise, right?) I’ve gone way over the word limit here. So come back on Wednesday to see and hear about the (embarrassing) rest of My Scissor Collection.


Yikes. Two posts to cover the scissors I own. That’s scary.


Creative Collage Techniques_160In the meantime, you might enjoy checking out Creative Collage Techniques, by Nita Leland and Virginia Lee Williams.





Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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