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Thread: Can you hand quilt without a thimble?

  1. #1
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Can you hand quilt without a thimble?

    Can you hand quilt without a thimble? I have sewn all my life, though I have only been quilting 3 years. ButI have never been able to sew with a thimble. It just isn't comfortable and it seems to get in the way. I think I might be interested in hand quilting, but can it be done without a thimble, or is that just a dumb question? It sounds real dumb right now. I guess the question should be "Can I learn to use a thimble, even though I have never been able to successfully use one."

    Or maybe I should ask "Does anyone do hand quilting without a thimble?"

    Hmmmm, well, I am still going to ask. Can you hand quilt without a thimble? I never even thought of using a thimble until I watched some videos as I was trying to figure out if I could do it if I decided to try.

    Thanks for any comments that might be helpful...

    Dina

  2. #2
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    The real answer ........... whatever works for you, is the right way to do it!


    I'm like you and am thimble-challenged!
    The only hand quilting I have done are for mini quilts ... sans thimble!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  3. #3
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    I find it difficult using a thimble. I suspect that I would probably do more hand quilting if I could get used to using one. It's a bit chicken and egg!

  4. #4
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    When I first started using a thimble, I found myself going for a different finger, and really had to concentrate on the one I was SUPPOSED to be using. I finally got it, an am okay now with the thimble. If this is something that is really bugging you and you feel as though you cannot get past it, how about trying a bandaid on that finger? You may forget that it's there and you can get on with your sewing. Give it a shot. It never hurts to try.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

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  5. #5
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    When I first tried to use a thimble I kept that finger up in the air and not down where it was supposed to be. But, MADE myself use it and found that it is a very useful item. Don't know how you can not use one truthfully. The eye end of the quilting needles are very sharp and would go through a bandaid quickly. Maybe you could quilt one stitch at a time but that would take a lot of time.
    Nikki in MO

  6. #6
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    There are so many thimble options now. I use a clover leather one. Very comfortable and easy to use. You can do without you'll build up a callus on whatever finger your pushing through with but I have found I don't quilt as long without one. Everyone is different.
    *Rachel*

  7. #7
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    I hand quilt and don't use a thimble. Of course I don't do a rocking stitch either - I do a stab stitch with my right hand on the bottom and left hand on top. I've got a good callous on my finger that pushed the needle through. When I tigers a little sore, I put a bandaid on it and that helps. My finger sweats in the thimble and the smell of the metal drives me nuts.

  8. #8
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    It took me a while to get used to the thimble. Now I am so used to it, I find myself driving with it on, going to bed, getting in the shower... I tried almost every thimble under the sun and did not like any of the metal or plastic ones. I really like the leather Clover thimbles.

    You might try dabbing a layer or two of super glue on that spot on your finger. It will protect your finger and won't drive you crazy - at least until you're done quilting, lol.

  9. #9
    Super Member janedee's Avatar
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    I do hand quilting all the time and it took me a little while to get used to a thimble, but these days as I tend to use a silk batting so the need has gone.

  10. #10
    Super Member Lilrain's Avatar
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    Glad to see I am not the only one, always having people ask me "Where's your thimble?"

  11. #11
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    Hi Dina,
    yes, you can quilt without a thimble. I think it's a matter of the technique you use. There is no wrong or right, whatever works for you is okay. I have never got used to a thimble and because I am self-taught my way of quilting is not the "regular" rocking stitch. I do single stitches, but not stab stitching. Maybe you are interested in seeing how it looks like, here you can find some pictures:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...g-t142087.html

    Enjoy your hand quilting time!

  12. #12
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Yes . But I have long finger nails and use them .
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  13. #13
    Super Member CindyA's Avatar
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    I use a rocking stitch and could not do it without a thimble. Stab stitching would seem to take a long time. But like others have said, try different things and do what seems most natural to you. There are probably lots of good videos on youtube to get different ideas.

  14. #14
    Senior Member willis.debra's Avatar
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    You can hand quilt with or without a thimble. You can get used to using a thimble. It is totally up to you and what you find comfortable and workable. I never used a thimble before quilting. I use one all the time now on my middle finger. I also quilt with my thumb and I don't use a thimble. None fit. I push the needle with my thumbnail. Do what feels right to you.

  15. #15
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    I have tried using different kinds of thimbles over the years but just can't get use to them. I hand quilt without one. I admit some times my fingers look like pin cushions but I've never drawn blood and after a day off of quilting I am back quilting again. I am just use to it. I do remember once at a quilt show someone was selling sterling silver thimbles and that particular one I tried on did feel great but at the time I was not willing to spend $65.00 for it.
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

  16. #16
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    Can, do, and will hand quilt without a thimble. Of course, the fingers get sore and calloused but it works for me.

  17. #17
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    You can quilt without a thimble but why? I don't want a callous on my finger and pin pricks hurt. The best thimble I have used is this one:
    http://stores.delphinesquiltshop.com...ble/Detail.bok
    The Clover silicone thimble is a favorite of mine too. http://www.clover-usa.com/product/27..._Grip_Thimbles I forget I have a thimble on and that's how I lose so many and have several in the bottom of my purse. LOL
    Last edited by BellaBoo; 05-06-2013 at 06:25 AM.
    Got fabric?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borntohandquilt View Post
    Hi Dina,
    yes, you can quilt without a thimble. I think it's a matter of the technique you use. There is no wrong or right, whatever works for you is okay. I have never got used to a thimble and because I am self-taught my way of quilting is not the "regular" rocking stitch. I do single stitches, but not stab stitching. Maybe you are interested in seeing how it looks like, here you can find some pictures:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...g-t142087.html

    Enjoy your hand quilting time!
    Her handquilting is absolutely exquisite!

    I also like the Clover silicone thimble - Clover calls it a "Protect and Grip" thimble - it has a metal top and soft sides that mold nicely to one's finger. It comes in various sizes. I think it costs $9-$10 dollars -

    I prefer to hand sew with a thimble - but it did take some getting used to.

  19. #19
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    I hadn't used a thimble before I started hand quilting. I tried out several different ones,then put it on my finger and wore it all day around the house. After a couple of days,it became second nature.
    Life may not be the party we planned for,but while we are here we should dance!

  20. #20
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your answers!! I feel better. Now to see if I want to hand quilt...and if I want to give the thimble another try...

    Dina

  21. #21
    amh
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    I love to hand quilt and can't imagine that one would try to push that needle through layers of fabric without a thimble.

    Having said that, I remember learning to use one and did all of the things mentioned -- used a different finger, stuck the thimble finger up in the air, etc. It was the pain of pushing the needle through several different layers in that rocking motion that finally made that thimbled finger stay where it should be and used as it should be. Practice practice.

    As an althernative, there are several new types of thimbles now. I've tried several and because I learned with the good old metal one, that's what works for me. However, if I was learning now, I would pick one that was a little more hip and stick with it till I learned how. In my opinion, my hand quilting is tigher when my thimble is on.

    There are no rules. If it works for you not to use a thimble, then don't. As long as you are getting the result you want and you are happy with the result, the quilt police should leave you alone.

    Aileen.
    Aileen
    Saskatoon SK Canada

  22. #22
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I can't hand sew anything without my thimble...... but I have changed the style of thimble I use over the years. I now use a leather thimble with the round metal coin that is strong enough to push the needle through the layers. I think it stays on my finger the best. The old metal ones slip off too easily and I spend too much time putting the thimble back on.

    Let us know how you do.... finding a method that will work for you.

  23. #23
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I hand quilt large quilts without a thimble because I have a lessened sense of touch - I can't feel the needle as it is, a thimble is very confusing! I use -- HORROR! - the underside of my fingernail to push the needle with my rocking stitch. Granted I rarely load more than 2 stitches, usually just one at a time, but I have *never* forced the needle eye far under the nail and hurt myself. I also do not use a thimble on the under hand and just build a callus on the under finger pad.

    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
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  24. #24
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    I heard once that you can use a back side of a spoon instead of a thimble.

    Never tried it.

  25. #25
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    I was made to use a thimble when a little girl by my Auntie. Now I cannot sew without one. Try something. You will end up running a needle up your fingernail or into the pad of your finger.

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