A Stitcher's Supply Guide: Scissors and Needles
Let's talk about sharps! We can't do embroidery without needles and scissors, right? I mentioned this over in my "About Me" page, but I have a thing with collecting. I have seashell collections, plant collections, feather collections, aaaaaaaand a scissor collection. I've tried lots of different kinds of snips so far and want to share them with you. I'll tell you which ones I've found to be sharpest, which I think are cutest, and where you can get your own.
If you read to the end, I'll also show you my needle. That's right, I said NEEDLE--singular. I've had the same needle for my entire stitch journey and I guard it like it's a precious gemstone. Of course I have other needles but this one needle is just the best and I'll tell you why.
One thing that is really important when working with fabric is having a great, sharp pair of shears. Big scissors with long blades, sharp from hinge to nose, that's what you want when you're looking for a solid pair of fabric shears. I grabbed mine at Michael's one day just walking down the scissor aisle--the rose gold handles really screamed my name. I've had other pairs of fabric scissors with shorter blades but they just didn't feel as nice as the really long blades do.
I also have my eye on these gorgeous shears from Studio Fig. Don't they look so sturdy? It's always good to have a back-up...
The really important thing to remember with fabric shears is to ONLY use them on fabric. If you start using your shears to cut paper, tape, cardboard, and for other random household needs, they'll get dull. Dull scissors don't cut fabric well at all. I keep a pair of plain scissors at my desk for paper and that sort of thing so that I'm not tempted to use the fabric scissors. So, take it from someone who's ruined at least three pairs of fabric scissors and do your best to keep them sharp!
Now, onto thread snips! They are all so stinking adorable, it's no wonder I have more pairs than I need. What I really look for in embroidery scissors though is for them to be adorable AND sharp. Embroidery is my job, so I don't want to waste precious time with thread-cutting problems. I've compiled a list of some snips that are both sharp and cute, so you won't be thwarted by dull blades.
My sharpest ever scissors have been my Gingher Stork Embroidery Scissors. I didn't buy them when I first started stitching because I didn't know if it was worth the investment, whether I'd stick with stitching, etc. Then one night I sent my hubby to Joann's to get a thread I was out of and he surprised me with the stork snips. #besthusbandever Anyways, they are so, SO worth it. They are incredible sharp, have a nice leather sleeve to protect them (and let's be honest, you), and the fact the the bird beak cuts the thread is just too perfect. I asked some of my other stitchy friends and many of them agreed that these babies are the way to go.
So maybe you don't have a bird obsession and still want a sharp pair of snips? I've got you covered there too. My other snips that are super sharp are these ornate, flowery ones. They are seriously sharp and have such a smooth cutting motion to them! One of my gal pal's gifted mine to me, and I know you can order them off of Amazon, but you can ALSO get them from a really cool, small business, Warm Crochet. And don't we all like to support are fellow makers, dreamers, and small businesses when we can? She has these gorgeous snips in four colors and they are totally affordable. BONUS: I'm giving away this gold pair over on my Instagram (@larkrising), so go enter to win them if you want (I even took them out and tested them to make sure they were sharp. They are!).
So let's talk cute snips. My absolute favorite snips for looking cute are these little ones from Purl Soho. They're called Putford Scissors and I want them ALL. I have three of the seven colors so far but I'd love to have the baby blue and yellow too! They're stubby blades are sharp but not long, so they cut embroidery thread really well but don't stab me when I go to pick them up. They travel really well too!
Since I'm a sucker for anything even remotely Harry Potter-related, I also love these unicorn snips by Brynn and Co. She has tons of super cute and unique snips to choose from--I have my eye on several different pairs from her shop as well.
If you're looking for a more industrial, no-nonsense vibe, I highly recommend these 18th century reproduction scissors by Cheswick Company on Etsy. They are sharp and have bigger handles than most of my other snips, so they're easy to use when my hands are feeling puffy (because heat waves and pregnancy are things that happen).
Lastly, I want to talk about those thread snippers that look sort of like tweezers. Many of my fellow embroidery friends LOVE these. So based on those recommendations I ordered a 3-pack from Amazon. I've used them a few times over the past week and here are my findings:
They are super sharp! So sharp, in fact, that I'm a little bit afraid that I'll stab myself with them. I have no injuries to date, but I'm really clumsy and drop my scissors several times a day, so I'm worried about hurting myself or my furniture. I'm also slightly paranoid that my toddler will get hold of them and do himself an injury. I find it problematic that they just don't close all the way. I suppose I could store them in the plastic sleeve that they arrived in, but that adds extra hassle. These are really easy to use because you don't have to wedge your fingers into any tiny handles, and I predict that having a pair sitting on my desk will be super handy for when I get to work there, maybe just not practical for all the time. However, if you're an adult who does not need to juggle toddlers and embroidery, and you do not drop every third thing you touch, I totally recommend these. Bonus points because they are ridiculously cheap.
Now, on to needles. This is a photo of my little work-horse, she's a Dritz size 22 tapestry needle (I know, not even meant for embroidery!). She stitches almost every single piece I make and if I lose her I'll cry. Reasons why I love her include:
The eye is big enough that I never have difficulty threading all 6 strands of thread on the first try. I HATE wasting time because I have so little of it to work with, taking several tries to thread my needle is definitely not on my to-do list.
She's dull. Remember when I just went on and on about how sharp I like my scissors? Well, I actually love my needle to be dull (unless I'm stitching a tiny necklace or something). Let me explain...when I'm embroidering and it comes time to push my needle up through the back of the fabric, I often drag my needle along the back until I get to just the right spot to push it through. If I do this with a sharp needle, it can catch and potentially snag the fabric. A dull one slides cleanly across until I'm ready for it to go through.
She's just the right length. A needle that's too long or too short can make it tricky to do some stitches, like stem or chain stitch. Online they can be found on Amazon as a pack with size 18.
Thanks for reading friends! Hopefully this guide helps you find some snips or needles that work well for your embroidery journey! Happy stitching!