Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Remember those Goldwork Scissors?


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Back in January, when I was talking about various needlework tools, I featured a pair of goldwork embroidery scissors. They were new to me, and I hadn’t actually used them yet to cut real metal threads, but I previewed them here and got some excellent feedback from readers who use them.

Well – finally! – last week I had a chance to use these little scissors that feature a very fine serrated blade, so I thought I’d share my impressions.

Goldwork Scissors

The idea behind goldwork scissors is that the fine serrated blade helps to maintain a grip on the threads and give a better cut. What I found when snipping bits of purl and pearl purl was that there was actually a difference in the feel of the blade as it held the metal threads. To make sure I wasn’t just imagining, I switched back and forth between the goldwork scissors and my standard (fine bladed) embroidery scissors that I normally use to cut metal threads.

Yes, there was definitely a difference in “feel” – the serrated lower blade did indeed seem to “grip” the metal thread a bit and hold onto it, which I think made cutting the metal threads maybe a bit “easier,” but not enough that there was any WOW moment to be had. Whether or not the scissors actually gave me a better cut, I couldn’t tell. There didn’t seem to be any noticeable difference in the two cuts from the two pairs of scissors.

Goldwork Scissors

So I don’t think goldwork scissors are an absolute necessity, personally. But I will admit this: there’s something nice about having a pair of scissors that are specifically made for goldwork. They’re gold, they’re not easily confused with my other embroidery scissors, and I’ll definitely use them specifically for goldwork. I also thought the reflection of the metal thread on the surface of the scissors was pretty neat.

Goldwork Scissors

Speaking of goldwork! See this mess?! I have three boxes of metal threads that I’m sifting through and re-organizing. After pondering the metal-thread-storage-question (they should be stored out of light, in acid-free materials safe for storage), I finally buckled and bought some “archival” boxes and will be getting this mess organized in the near future. I’m planning to take some photos and maybe work up a few short goldwork tutorials while delving into this part of my recent reorganization – so look for those in the future! (This is why it takes me so long to clean things up!)

Do you suspect there might be something going on here…. like the desire to do something with metal threads has completely conquered and I’m off on another spur-of-the-moment, gotta-do-this-now kind of project? Ahhhh. No, no! Please! Where’s your faith in my self control?!

I assure I won’t be starting a goldwork project before the end of this week!


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(11) Comments

  1. Mary: Last summer, I bought a pair of electrician’s scissors from the Micro-Mark catalogue (they sell miniature tools and supplies for building dollhouses, train sets, airplane models, jewelry, etc.)and they work great for cutting metallic threads used in Temari and other needlework. I suspect the blades are wider and perhaps thicker than your new scissors, but I’ve had no trouble cutting exactly where I want and getting close to the canvas without cutting anything else I didn’t want to cut. Have you tried anything like these? You can find them at http://www.micromark.com/Electricians-Scissors,8290.html.

    1. Hi, Janet – Thanks for the link! I haven’t seen these scissors before, but I’ll definitely look into them. I’m always looking for just the right tools, and these look like they’d be pretty handy! ~MC

  2. Hi Mary~ I am really, really, REALLY jealous of your goldwork stash! I need to do more shopping it seems 🙂 Question: Have you used the iridescent beetle wings for anything? I saw Alison Cole offers them for sale, and I’ve seen them referred to in a few books, but have never seen how they looked in a piece.

    Mary Martin

    1. Good morning, All! Thanks for your comments!

      Gail, you’re right – it’s something that’s been brewing – but more along the lines of “I really want to do that project” rather than “I’ve got an idea” – it’s a kit! 🙂

      Elizabeth, yes, that’s the biggest advantage to having a dedicated pair of “goldwork scissors”!

      Mary – Good question, and I’ll cover that later this week!

      Hope everyone has a terrific Monday. Mine’s off to a whopping start, as my car died last night. Yippeeeee….!


  3. I use my gold goldwork scissors for cutting all substantial metallic threads and wires. I like to use them for this so as to avoid any possible damage to my regular thread scissors as they strain against tougher materials.

    Not that I have many goldwork threads…

  4. Spur of the moment project for you, Mary? More like another idea that’s been lurking in the background and the re-organizing of gold threads has put it on center stage. You’ve got quite the collection, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you re-organize them.

    Thanks for the reminder about Micro-Mark, Janet. I’ve bought things from them before, but it’s been a while. They’ve got some wicked sharp and pointy tweazers too. All sorts of wonderful tools for working on small things, usually better quality and less expensive than what’s in most craft stores.

  5. I hate to admit it but when I saw your pictures of all the goldwork threads and such, your blog faded into the mist. Oh, all that beautiful sparkly stuff. Ahhh. Don’t organize it too much; it’s so pretty jumbled up like precious jewels. How do you keep from adding a bit of gold to all your projects? I tend to add metallics to everything and it’s ridiculous after awhile. Must be my advancing age. Next thing you know, I’ll be wearing sweat shirts with sequins. LOL

  6. Mary
    We will see if you find no inspiration to do a goldwork project while you are straightening your threads.

  7. After reading your review on your goldwork scissors, I decided to take a closer look at mine. Dear Husband gifted me with a pair from a tackle store (Gander Mountain maybe?) & would you believe they have finely serrated blades!?! They were not expensive & they have stayed sharp so no complaints. I would mention that I entered the testosterone sanctum myself last year & purchased a pair of hackle pliers for a bobbin lace project. But now I wonder if they would work nicely to tame a springy piece of pearl purl. Hmmm.

  8. LucySusan, I enter the sanctum myself actually quite often, its amazing what you find while waiting for the husband to do HIS shopping. I am fortunate that mine is willing to drive me to my favorite needlework shop and takes a nap while waiting for me!!!!!!!!
    Mary, the only thing about using the “Gold Scissors” is that I don’t want to use my good scissors on metals just like Elizabeth. I like to have the right tool for job, even though I do not have gold “threads” i hope to do some goldwork someday and will have the gold scissors to use.
    Cathy S Remus MI

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