I’ve been organizing a quilt along coming late September of this year with Havel’s called “I am Enough” (if you are not already signed up you can do so by clicking the button above). I thought it might be nice for you to get to know Havel’s even better just in case they might be new to you.
Today we are talking with Shelly Ast, who happens to be WONDERFUL. I’ve asked Shelly many questions about Havel’s and about several of their products in particular.
This is going to read like a proper interview. I hope you enjoy!
Interview with Shelly
Hi, Shelly! I’m familiar with the story of Havel’s Sewing, but for those who are not do mind sharing it?
Havel’s Inc. is a multi-divisional company that started in the medical device business in 1981. We specialized in everything sharp from surgical blades to needles so it didn’t take long for our owner, Elsa Schmidthorst, a longtime quilter and sewing enthusiast to come up with the idea for Havel’s Sewing. Elsa recently passed away but she was the true inspiration for the Havel’s Sewing line. We now have 3 divisions: Havel’s Inc. Healthcare, Havalon Knives(our hunting knife division) and Havel’s Sewing.
What is your job and title at Havel’s?
I am the Sales Manager for both the Havel’s Inc. Healthcare Division and the Havel’s Sewing Division.
Where is Havel’s located?
We are located in Cincinnati, Ohio
Tell me something you love about Havel’s.
I feel like because we have so many different products innovation is always important to us. I have a great group of co-workers who I enjoy spending my days with. We are always open to new ideas whether they come from us or from customers who make suggestions. We are big enough to be able to make amazing products but also small enough to feel more personal.
We really wanted to make a product that was not only functional but comfortable to use. We had many prototypes until we found the one that was perfect for what we needed. The color was also something we really wanted to get right and I think we did.
Havel’s offers more scissors than I’ve ever seen one company have. Which one’s are the best sellers?
Am I right about the difference between “snips” implying your fingers are not inserted and “scissors” your fingers are inserted?
That would be a great way to define it. The snips are used more for getting close to the fabric and the stitches.
What is with the different length of the same scissors? Why would you choose different sizes?
We like to have a variety of lengths because everyone has a preference. Some people really like the smaller size because they feel they are more easily controlled while some people like the longer scissors to get more cutting done quicker. My personal favorites are the 7” Sewing/Quilting Scissors but each one has their own merit for sure.
the Dura Snips (click image for more details)
Is the reason for the curved tips so you don’t accidently snip your work? Or is there another reason that I don’t know?
That is exactly the reason for the curved tips, so if you need to cut a stitch close to the fabric you are less likely to poke a hole in your fabric.
I was reading that the Hardanger Scissors are for cutting in tight places. Can you give me a for instance of what kind of project you might use them for?
The Hardanger scissors are most commonly used in embroidery or applique because of the very fine needle work that is done. They help with precision.
The duckbill scissors are for applique work, but what kind of applique work specifically? I’m trying to understand them better.
The rounded part of the blade keeps you from cutting the base fabric when appliqueing. You can trim super close to the applique and not risk cutting the fabric.
Havel’s also has a pair of Iron On Applique Scissors. I do a lot of iron on appliques. What is it about those scissors that make them better for the job?
They feature a vertical curve and rounded bottom so it keeps the fabric safe. They have long handles so it makes cutting around corners pretty stress free. All of our scissors cut all the way to the tip which also makes them great to use.
You sent me a pair of the 7″ serrated scissors for cutting fabric. Those are the single best scissors I’ve ever cut fabric with. Do you get a lot of comments like that about Havel’s scissors?
It’s funny you say that, these are also my favorites and they cut so nicely. The most common thing I hear people say is that they hadn’t ever tried our scissors but once they do they will not use anything else. We are not as well known as some of our competitors so a lot of people are skeptical about giving them a try, but once they do, they are hooked! We offer sharp, high quality products at a very reasonable price. Sometimes inexpensive is misread as cheap, what we offer are high quality products that easily fit into a budget.
What is something you want quilters to know about Havel’s?
Havel’s makes the highest quality products and we do a lot of research to make sure that is the case. We are also very well known for our customer service, we guarantee you will like what you buy from us or we will make it right. If anyone ever has any questions or problems I am just a phone call or email away. I personally answer all phone calls or emails and will do my best to get you the answer you are looking for.
I’m doing a quilt along for Havel’s starting late September. Are you as excited about this as me?
I am so incredibly excited for the quilt along. It is the first one we have ever participated in and I cannot wait to see all of the awesome quilts that are made. The response so far has been amazing and I really appreciate you doing this for us. Not to mention the I am Enough Quilt Pattern is beautiful and has such a strong meaning, especially right now.
My Own Opinions
I used to collect pretty scissors, but since trying Havel’s Sewing products, I’m pretty much stuck on them. I don’t feel like they can be beat for sharpness. Some of them are for specialty work that I don’t get to do very often, but some of them I used on the daily.
Here’s a list of my very favorite products of Havel’s and what I use them for:
The 4 3/4 Snip-Eze Embroidery scissors – This is the very best thing that happened to me for hand sewing. I use them for EPP, embroidery, and hand quilting. They are small, but I don’t have to stick my cramping fingers into them. They are sharp. I also have the 5 1/2 Curved Tip scissors, but I’m too stuck on the Snip-Eze to give them a try. I’ve stashed those in my crochet bag (I don’t get to crochet as often as I’d like) and put the Snip-Eze into my hand sewing bag which I do often.
The 7″ Serrated Fabric scissors – Omigosh. If you tried these, you would love them too. They are the best scissors. I keep them at my machine and use them to cut the odd piece of fabric, like binding or whatever. They are great.
Both rotary cutters – Obviously we use rotary cutters pretty much daily. I use the 45 mm the most, but I use the 60 mm for trimming my quilt after quilting. They are better for thicker needs like batting.
The rotary mats – I’ve got the big and the small mat. They are nice and pink! Naturally, the big one is my favorite, but I got the little one too for when I’m trimming blocks. It’s small enough to place my block on the small mat, trim one side, and then rotate it around and trim the other. It’s very helpful!
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