Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I’d like to introduce you to Barb Vis.  She has generously agreed to show us how she made her Scissor’s Fob or Scissor Keeper. I think you first saw it here on this post.   She said she got the idea for a Scissor’s Fob when she was attending a Sew-In and people were getting their scissors mixed up.  She decided to make a unique Fob so she would know which scissors were hers.  After she made a couple (next picture) she decided that the women attending the Sew-In and her other sewing friends needed a Fob too.  She made 17 Fobs that year. 

Here are several different ones that Barb has made.  The one on the left is made of wool.  The one in the center is made by using quarter inch hexagons.  Those tiny hexagons were leftover from a small quilt she had made.  The one on the right is made with cotton and fashioned in the log cabin style, using very small (about 1 inch) strips.  What a great way to use up those scraps!  Today we are going to concentrate on making the wool Fob.
The first thing you do is get your fabric.  Barb says that she likes to use real wool (not felt) as it is thicker and heavier and looks so much nicer.   She cautions you to get a good grade of wool that is tight and sturdy.  Then you decide what shape you are going to make your Fob.  Here Barb is using a 1-inch hexagon.  She traces around the hexagon with a chalk pencil to mark her design on the fabric.  She cautions you not to draw the designs too close together.  DO NOT CUT THESE DESIGNS OUT!  NOT YET!

 Leave the shapes on the wool while you decide on your embroidery design.   Barb said you can do anything you want.  “Whatever blows your hair back,” she said.  She suggested a heart, or an initial, but what I like best are her flowers.  She does her design free-hand.   She said you can use any floss, but she prefers silk floss.  She uses two strands of thread and starts with the biggest flower off to one side (not in the middle). Here she puts in three French knots (two wraps) with a dark pink thread.  She uses a size 11 sharp needle or sometimes uses a straw needle.  She prefers a shorter needle for the embroidery.

Barb suggests you use graduated colors for the flowers.  Here she uses a medium pink when doing the bullion stitch, which she tucks in around the darker pink French knots.  She uses anywhere from 7-9 wraps on the bullion stitch.  Then she uses a lighter pink and adds more bullion stitches.   She said you could use a lazy daisy stitch or do anything you want to create your design.  
After adding about three bullion flowers placed randomly, she then fills in with a feather stitch.  Then she uses her left over bits of floss to place French knots here and there among the featherstitch.  Barb said that instead of French knots, you could use beads here if you have some extra.
Now you need to redraw your hexagon (or whatever shape you are using) because sometimes the embroidery stitches will shrink or distort the fabric.  Once you have done that, you may cut out your designs.
Barb doesn’t just embellish the front, she also embellishes the back.  When she made so many for her Sew-In friends, she placed a different colored heart on each Fob so each person would be sure to know which scissors belonged to her.  Barb just used a buttonhole stitch around the heart.
Now you are ready to make the hanger and the tail.  When positioning these items, make sure the hanger is at a point and the tail is at the opposite point.  You could use many things for the hanger, but Barb uses floss.  She cuts about 45 inches of floss.  You can use two strands or more if you would like it thicker.  She said you want to make the hanger long enough to slide the hexagon through when you are securing it to the scissors.  “Grandmother always said you can cut off, but can’t cut on,” Barb laughed as she measured her length of floss.
Barb then folds the floss in half, knots the ends together, and puts her finger through the loop and twists it again and again until it gets so tight she can barely get her finger out.  Then she folds that in half and stitches the ends to the inside of the front hexagon.  Remember to put it at a point and that when you stitch you should stay on the back of the wool.  No stitches should show in the front.  
The Fob needs weight so it will stay out of your way when you are using your scissors.  For this, Barb strings beads and something that has weight to it.  She purchased a string of beads like above at a hobby shop.  A string like this has everything you will need to make several Fobs.  She cautions that you should make sure your needle is thin enough to go through the hole in the beads.
Barb uses nylon thread to string four beads, then adds the weight (square bead) and one last round bead.  Then she wraps her thread around the bottom bead and brings the thread back up through all the beads and attaches it to the inside opposite point on the hexagon. 
Now you are ready to put your Fob together.  There is no turning involved.  In the other fobs in a previous picture (the miniature hexagon and the log cabin) you sew those inside out, turn and stuff.  When you use wool, you don’t have to do that.  You just use a blanket stitch (your choice of color) and sew around the hexagon until you have about an inch to go.  Stop for a minute and stuff a little bit of wool roving inside the hexagon.  Not too much!  Barb said that wool roving has some weight to it and this works well with the Fob.  Then you continue using the blanket stitch to close your Fob.  
Barb said she has always been a sewer, and has been quilting for about 13 years.  She also makes dolls.  She said it usually takes her about an hour to make one of these Fobs.  She generously gave me this Fob!  I love it and thank Barb for it and for taking the time to give us this wonderful tutorial.  
When I came home and was putting this post together, I made this Fob by following Barb’s directions.  I couldn’t master the bullion stitch so did a lazy daisy on one flower and a stem stitch on the other one.  Everyone in the world must have these stork scissors, so the next time I go to Knotty Girls, I won’t have any difficulty identifying mine.  I can’t thank Barb enough for her generosity!  Let’s give a big Whoop! Whoop! For Barb Vis!!


tink's mom said...

This is a terrific tutorial. No more excuses for wandering scissors. Thanks, Selina

Barb said...

Whoop!! Whoop!! Wonderful tut!

Linda said...

Fabulous!! These are such a great idea!!

Mary said...

Love the Tutorial. I love the idea of the fob, I think I need to play with one. Thank you.

Allie said...

EXCELLENT tute and really darling idea! Thank you Caroll and Barb!

Ivory Spring said...

Thanks for the tutorial! What a cute idea!!

Thanks also for visiting me - it's great to hear from you! Happy Quilting.

JudyCinNC said...

Love this tutorial - great informtaion. Judy C in NC

Lynn said...

Thanks for the tutorial! These are really cute.

Stitches said...

Love, love this tutorial. I have been wanting to learn bullion roses on something small and now I have it..Wonderful job and thanks so much.

Nancy Page said...

What a fantastic tutorial. And a grand idea. Thank you for sharing. This would make a great gift as well.

Have a super great sewing and stitching day.

Mama Pea said...

Great tutorial, and thank you Barb! I had been one of the ones begging for a tutorial, so it's greatly appreciated! Love the fob you made, Caroll! It's a beauty! Can't wait to make one! These would make great gifts for sewing friends!

Maggie R said...

Love the scissor fob Caroll,
Gotta try it. Thanks for sharing

Michele Bilyeu said...

I just noticed your scissor fob tute link and borrowed both your photo and Barb's with a link to your tutorial on my 'Free Sewing Accessories' pattern list of links. Hope you get lots of visitors that are inspired by both of your darling fobs!!!


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