There's something about autumn and earlier, darker evenings that beckons storytelling. Maybe it's the thought of sitting near the fireplace with a good book or sharing a warm beverage with someone and catching up. In any case, we've a little backstory about scissors for you. Have you ever wondered why there are so many scissors in the shape of cranes? 

Little crane (or stork) scissors are most often used for embroidery; to snip thread. And, indeed, that makes sense since these small tools date back to the 18th century, when they were used by midwives. At that time, rather than blades, they had clamps on them and were used on umbilical cords.

The clamps were fashioned in the shape and design of these birds because they symbolized fertility. Since storks would migrate after the summer solstice and return in the spring, their journey was thought to mirror the nine months of pregnancy. Also, they nested on rooftops, so seeing them swoop down from the sky to a house is where we likely got the imagery of a stork delivering newborn babies.

Some antique stork scissors reveal a baby in a womb hidden behind the bird's midsection when the blades, or clamps, are splayed. Now, you may or may not have experienced childbirth, but most of us know that there can often be some waiting involved.

Midwives, experienced in these matters, would arrive prepared with a kit of tools that also included embroidery. This gave them an activity to do in between tending to their patients. Since their embroidery kit and medical kit went hand-in-hand, it's reasonable that there may have been some overlap in their use. Hence, crane embroidery scissors!

Tips & Tricks

  • try moving the paper as you cut, rather than your hand and scissors
  • cut with the bottom part of the blade (not the tips) for a clean cut
  • for paper, use scissors that aren't too big, so the cutting area isn't too far away from your hand (this gives you more control)
  • clean gummed up scissors with Goo Gone; let it sit on the blades for a minute before wiping off
  • use paper scissors for paper and fabric scissors for fabric; don't use these for opposite uses - you'll end up dulling the blades or simply not able to cut well

What will you be snipping this week? There's certainly a lot of making going on around us, and we'll be discussing more craft ideas later this month. But before that, I'd like to share another one of my favourite activities at this time of year - next week!

Until then, enjoy the comforts and pleasures of autumn!

October 11, 2022 — Antoinette D'Angelo


Debra said:

Dear Antoinette: I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy my Tuesday mornings reading your Tuesday’s Tonic…….also always love visiting your Fig Street so many beautiful things….enjoy your run,hope to see you soon in the store thanks again!!!

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