So here's a little story about the new wooden stitch rippers that are now available in my shop...
When I was first developing stock ideas for Beyond Measure in 2015, I knew that I wanted to offer alternatives to the mass produced plastic tools that are most widely available for sewing. And apart from scissors, pins, needles and thread, I would say that a stitch ripper is an essential piece of kit for most of us who sew! But so many are plastic and designed to be thrown away after they go blunt; I knew that a wooden alternative with a replaceable blade would be better.
So I set about creating one, sourced some blades, asked my lovely woodturner to make some handles and the first couple of batches, produced way back in 2016, sold quickly to rave reviews.
However, the next delivery of fittings we ordered caused problems and didn't fit so well in the inner tube sections that were provided. It was frustrating but I knew I couldn't put these out there to the public.
I did extensive research into other options that were available and bought some samples. When they arrived I saw that the metal parts still had plastic inserts and rings. They seemed stiff to use and the rubber bits pinged off after a while. I imagined customers impaling their palms as they tried to remove the blades (yes I do worry about these things - I'd hate to put an end to people's sewing days, or get blood on their creations, or get sued!).
So I put them in a box and shelved it all for a bit. They sat there for ages, taunting me, as I carried on with other stuff. Months, then a year and another went by - the box got dustier and I felt awful about the money I had wasted and frustration that I couldn't find a solution. There seemed to be a glaring hole in my shop...
Until one day I was playing with the Japanese Screw Punch - such a simple but neat tool! With a satisfyingly simple fitting....I wondered if something similar could work for the ripper...
I blew the dust off the box, consulted engineer friends and quizzed local tool merchants until I eventually found the kind of collar I was after - plastic free, fully adjustable and allowing the blade to be removed fully and replaced with minimum waste. We made up some samples and they look gorgeous - I hope you agree!
At the moment, the blades aren't reversible like the old ones but I feel that the overall design is less wasteful and more reliable than the other fittings
The blades should give you many months or even years of cutting power but they can be easily removed and replaced if needed. I used one for some very delicate unpicking this week ( black thread, stretch stitch and lycra!) and the blades are nice and fine and easy to control - threads unpicked with no holes in fabric!
You could also possibly use the handle to hold other pointy things, making the tool more flexible and useful than the other styles. We've even included a little tin to store the blades and other bits and pieces.
And the handles are extra beautifully tactile - not too big, and just the right size to fit in your palm.
I'm really happy with these and I hope you will be too! Please do let me know what you think! And if you have one of the old style rippers from circa 2016, please do let me know if it's still sharp - I may have some extra blades in a box somewhere....