Monday, February 20, 2012

Thimble talk...

Bonnie Hunter is holding a thimble talk linky-thing...for what it is worth here is my take on thimbles....

I was an off-again-on-again thimble user until I took an applique class with Pat Campbell. It is sort of uncomfortable I gripped. "Grow up and get used it" was her response (said with a very sweet but take no prisoners southern accent.) So during break I bought a very pretty solid silver thimble then tried to use it back in class. It still was awkward. Pat looked at the thimble and said, "it will look nice on shelf."

So she gave me a few pointers on thimbles that have served me well. First, put it on your finger and shake you hand. Not a wild "I'm being chased by zombie hand waving" but a bit more than a Queen of England wave. The thimble should stay on your finger. Second, the dimples on the top of the thimble should be deep. This is the part that will hold the end of the needle. This is even more important when I use the thimble hand quilting. Third, living here in the south it is very possible that I will need multiple size thimbles...just like there are rings I cannot wear in summer due to my hands swelling in the heat there are "season appropriate" thimbles too.

So my go-to thimble is the brass colored one with a magnetic top. I've had it for ages. It says made in England on the side. The magnet is particularly helpful when I am using tiny needles. I use this primarily for hand piecing and applique. The zinc thimble next to it is another all-around thimble. It is slightly flattened so fits my finger perfectly. I use this often on my right hand when I am hand-quilting.
My favorite right hand thimble for hand quilting is this very inexpensive Dritz Slip-stop thimble. I have it in several sizes. In addition to deep dimples there is a ridge on the outside to hold the needle in as I rock it.

If you find a thimble you really like buy six. I'm not just saying that because I own cats who love to play with thimbles. Thimbles have a way of traveling. They are left behind in airplanes, summer houses, and anywhere else you find a moment to stitch. Unfortunately most non-quilters don't understand the desperation in your voice when you call and ask if you left your thimble there. Even if you say it is your favorite thimble in the world and they aren't selling them anymore and you need to finish this quilt for ____ (fill in the blank.) Sure the person on the other side of the line will tell you they will look but really, you expect them to understand your need for a thimble? On second thought...buy a dozen.


16 comments:

cityquilter said...

i agree! i found one i liked and it was very inexpensive but i didn't care...i bought 6 and so glad i did...

Nifty Quilts said...

Thanks for the good advice and the Monday morning chuckle! I have been caught in the panic of losing my thimble at the beginning of a 3-day trip to an island with no stores. Luckily, I found a spare in my bag.

Janet O. said...

Such good advice. I wish I could find one I like so I could buy a dozen! My fingers do not taper much at the ends, so the tips of my fingers are thick. I have purchased some pretty large thimbles, but I can't get the right fit. The ridge on the end is a must for me. Can't hand quilt without it, but the best fitting thimble I have found doesn't have it. : ( I have a large quilt I need to get hand quilting and I dread the misfitting thimble drama again.

*karendianne. said...

Oh Sio, good post! You know, I only use a thimble for hand quilting but since I've taken up appliqué I know I need to use it for that. …and I still haven't taken to it so you can imagine.

Taryn said...

I've tried but cannot use a thimble for applique. I've used one of the inexpensive ones that has a ridge and it was the best. I was "fitted" for a silver plated thimble in Houston last fall and I will say, it turned out to be fabulous. It even made me try applique with a thimble again. That still doesn't work for me. It does get a little loose on the chillier days when my hands are delicate and lady-like.

NeverBored said...

I also like the inexpensive Dritz thimble with the ridge on top for my hand quilting. I've added one of the leather thimble pads inside the ridge/dimple of the thimble so my needle doesn't slide at all inside the ridge. It also keeps my thread from wearing through so quickly at the eye of the needle.

canuckquilter said...

I wish I had bought 6! My very first thimble, purely by luck, was just perfect. I've now worn a hole through it and can't find another just like it.

HoosierKitty said...

I love the magnet top thimble. When I use another kind I'm always disappointed that it won't pick up my needle!

HoosierKitty said...

I love the magnet top thimble. When I use another kind I'm always disappointed that it won't pick up my needle!

Libby said...

I use the thimbles with the blue casing on them. I bought mine at the lqs but dont know the name of the maker. I love them so much. I still have my first thimble..I wore a hole through it!
I think your thimble with the magnet is beautiful!

Paula TheQuilter said...

You and I could be fraternal twins when it comes to thimbles. My favorite thimbles are the ones you have mentioned.

Betty Lou said...

Good post. I have purchased so many thimbles trying to get one that would fit. My favorites are the old fashioned ones that were sized; sometimes I can find one at an antique mall or thrift shop. The next best is a blue soft plastic that I found at Hobby Lobby. I have four of them, two still in the package, just in case.

Kathie said...

I had to laugh cause I buy them when ever I come across them. I too like the cheap thimbles with the indented top and need it in a small size. When I find them in a shop I buy whatever they have left !
Its true thimbles have a way of hiding.
Kathie

MaryLu said...

My favorite thimble is the Dritz type with the ridged top. I must have a dozen or more, every pair of jeans usually has one, each sewing box, three or more in my sewing room, one in my purse, and three (that I know of) in my jewelry bowl where I empty my pockets at night.
I think I may need more--I can never find one when I need it.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Great post! I especially loved your advice about the fitting and to shake your hand about...but "Not a wild "I'm being chased by zombie hand waving" but a bit more than a Queen of England wave." LOL My DH is looking at me funny as I literally laughed out loud! :o)

Tonya Ricucci said...

I'm definitely a Dritz girl - love that same thimble. I never have a problem losing them, just using them so much I get holes in the top. Now seam rippers on the other hand... can never find one when I need one.