Monday, February 20, 2012

Thimbles

Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville is having a link-up for thimble discussions and I thought I would join in. I think it is a great idea because when I first started hand-quilting (I am self-taught) I really was clueless about a lot of things (not just hand-quilting either ha..ha..) When I started out I just used thimbles that I had received from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

See all of those thimbles - none of them really fit my fingers properly and they weren't too comfortable either. I ended up using the smaller closed-end thimble for my middle finger and I used the larger open-ended thimble for my thumb when I was quilting away from me. I think the open-ended ones are called tailor's thimbles and I am not really sure if I was using it the way that it was meant to be used but I used it in a way that worked for me.

I also would use finger condoms (you know, chefs use them when they cut their fingers) to help me to pull the needle through the layers if I needed extra help. Believe me these thimbles were very clumsy and annoying to use but they did help me get the job done. Since then, I have found these wonderful thimbles that are made by Clover and I love using them so much that I made sure to buy a second one just in case I misplaced the one I am currently using.

I definitely do not want to be thimble-less and I definitely do not want to go back to using the other ones. These are made of flexible rubber so they are very light and they fit and grip your finger regardless of it's shape. They have a dimpled metal end to grip the needle for pushing - there is also a raised edge to stop the needle from sliding off the end. I am also able to use the side of the thimble to help me grip the needle if I need that extra help to pull the needle through the fabric. I do not use any protection for my finger under the quilt because I like to feel the needle. If the needle digs into my under finger I know that my stitch will end up too big. When the point of the needle just barely touches my finger I know to make the next stitch. I have a bit of a callous on that finger but nothing that is really noticeable.

I hope that what I have shared will help others that are just starting out with hand-quilting. I love to hand-quilt and now that I am doing it without a hoop or frame I find that I have really good control and it is even more relaxing and enjoyable.

10 comments:

blauraute said...

Dear Ellen,
very interesting to read this. In Germany there are several personnes who collected timbles. In "better" souvenir-shops you can buy timbles with pictures from towns or regions.
Molly is so cute and your houses are great.
Have a nice week and take care
Roswitha

vtquilter said...

Thanks for sharing about thimbles. I may have to pull one or two out and try them on my next hand quilting project.

marcella said...

Your favorite thimble looks really comfortable. I haven't seen that particular one before.

Missy Shay said...

When I was trying to hand quilt for the first time, my fingers kept getting "sweaty" and I was having a hard time pulling the needles through. I'll have to be sure to look for the thimble you use to see if that helps!

canuckquilter said...

I haven't seen this style of thimble. I'm in the market for something more comfortable so I'll have to look for this one.

Teresa H in Indiana said...

I love the Clover thimble! I usually forget that I even have it on.

Linda (Petey) said...

I recently bought this Clover thimble when I was binding my last quilt and my finger got so sore I needed one desperately! Best one I think if you hate the feel of a thimble. I hadn't thought about using the soft rubbery side to grip the needle! Thanks for the tip.

Jan Hatchett said...

I like the look of that Clover thimble. I haven't seen one like that, but it looks comfortable. Thanks for posting. It is fun to have some hand quilting posts to read!

Sarah Martin said...

Wow, lots of good info here! That Clover thimble looks just the ticket.
I will have to try it.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I hand quilt exclusively, so I'm always thrilled when I find a fellow hand quilter (it seems there are so few these days?). I have a question that I hope you can help me with. I too need to just barely feel the needle touch my under finger. However, if I develop a callous, I cannot feel the needle until it digs through the callous ... the callous has no feeling. When that happens, I have to take a break from hand quilting until it softens up and my skin returns to normal. How do you manage to feel the needle touching your under finger with a callous?