December 15, 2012 – Note: Since writing this post I found a supplier so titanium-coated squissors are now once again available!
Some time ago I wrote about a workman’s (or needlewoman’s) tools, and in particular about my new toy, the Lowery stand. Today I’d like to tell you about another piece of equipment I use for pretty much all my projects: squissors.
As you can see, squissors are a cross between scissors and tweezers. Unlike scissors, they are open by default – this means they can be a bit difficult to store. I keep mine two of mine in the packaging they came in, which has a card back that slides in and out of the plastic front; the third one came with a handy little flexible plastic widget that fits over the tips, keeping them safely together. Squissors come with straight or curved blades; I use the straight-bladed ones, having once tried curved blade scissors with a singular lack of success.
The squissors shown above are the ones you’re most likely to find in shops or online. They are my third pair, and I keep them for back-up. They are fine to work with, and I’d be perfectly happy with them if it wasn’t for the fact that my first pair of squissors are even better. I didn’t know they were anything special when I bought them; in fact, I wasn’t sure squissors were really going to be my thing. But the shop that I was buying some supplies from at the time happened to sell this particular brand: Dobra Craft titanium squissors.
They are gorgeous! I mean, they’re very pretty to look at with that sort of oil-on-water look, but that’s not their main claim to gorgeousness. It’s the fact that they are sharp to the tips, and (according to the information I found about them) self-sharpening, so they should last pretty much forever. They are also very, very accurate. Well, that partly depends on the hand that holds them, obviously … but I found that if I tried to do the same thing once with my stork scissors and once with squissors, it was always easier, quicker and more accurate with the squissors.
But before you all run out to your local needlework shop (if you are lucky enought to have one) or fire up the browser for some online shopping, I have to tell you some sad news. Dobra Craft are no longer Dobra Craft, they do surgical instruments only now, and the people who took over from them appear to have discontinued the line. Shops which according to Google sell titanium squissors turn out not to, or not anymore. One shop had just one left, which I immediately snapped up. Should you find a pair anywhere, grab them and hang on to them! Should you find a shop that has a dozen or so left, let me know and I’ll get the lot for Mabel’s Fancies.
So what if you can’t find titanium squissors for love or money? I’d still advise any Hardanger stitcher to get a pair of the widely available ones – as I said, they are good in their own right, and will make cutwork a lot easier. And how do you use squissors? Well, it has to be said that you have to get used to them, and a few practice snips on some left-over scraps of fabric are definitely a good idea, but once you’ve got the hang of it it soon becomes second nature.
One thing to bear in mind is that, as with so many things in stitching, there are often several "right" ways of doing things. Some people prefer to keep the scissors parallel to the fabric and cut all four threads bordered by a Kloster block in one go. Personally I always advise people to hold the scissors/squissors at right angles to the fabric, and snip the threads one by one. I also find it helpful to turn the work so that the Kloster block sits to the right of where I’m cutting, but again, others will not turn the work at all. The thing to do is to try out several ways, and see which works for you. Below are some pictures which show how I do the cutting; they also show how to hold the squissors. Why not get a pair, have a try, and let me know how you get on!