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Thread: How did you learn to use a thimble?

  1. #1
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    How did you learn to use a thimble?

    There are some in my hand quilting classes who seem to not be able to use a thimble. I am wondering how others learned. I learned many years ago trying to hand sew patches on my military uniforms. Had to. How did you learn. Please don't tell me you you didn't have to learn because you don't use one..lol

  2. #2
    Junior Member BDawn's Avatar
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    Everyone who sewed in my family used a thimble so I started using one when I was about 10 years old embroidering napkins and this was a long time ago. I cannot pick up a needle without picking up a thimble also. Leather thimbles are my favorite though I have different style and types.

  3. #3
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    I'm not sure my answer will be enlightening...

    I learned out of sheer necessity after I had poked so many holes in the tip of my finger that I had to wait a week to do any more quilting! The first half dozen thimbles I tried didn't feel right (too small, too large, dimples on top not deep enough to "hold" the needle). As I was about to despair I found a cheapo plastic one that fit perfectly, and I could finally stop concentrating on keeping it on my finger and focus on my stitches. That worked for about a year, then the plastic wore through (unbeknownst to me) and I put a really deep hole in my finger, and was right back where I started...I now have a metal thimble wrapped on the outside with several layers of masking tape to stop it wearing blisters into the neighboring fingers.

    I also learned to thumb quilt, with a thumb thimble, for when my hands got too sore from regular quilting.

    Synopsis: maybe provide a really wide range of thimbles for your students to try (metal, plastic, leather, all different sizes) and have them focus on what they feel is the issue with any given thimble (is it sliding around? is it pinching? is it rubbing the inside of the fingers beside your thimble finger?) For me, if the thimble isn't so comfortable that I forget I'm wearing it, it just isn't going to work.

    Alison

  4. #4
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I was taught hand work by my great grandmother and my 2 grandmothers, all 3 used thimbles, don't know at what age I started, I was too young to remember. LOL I do remember them wrapping white first aid tape around my finger until the thimble fit. Still use it every time I pick up a needle. (the thimble, not the tape, LOL)

  5. #5
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    binding. It was a must.
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  6. #6
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    My DMIL use to fuss at me because I didn't use a thimble. We kept trying all kinds. I finally found one that is metal on the end and rubber or silcone on the base that goes on the finger. I don't know if I would have ever learned if we hadn't found that thimble. I had a tough callous on the first finger of my right hand from sewing without one. It has finally gone away. I still have to remember to get the thimble when hand sewing. But it brings back happy memories of my DMIL who passed away a little over a year ago.
    Last edited by Vera39760; 07-20-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    You said please don't tell you... so I won't...

  8. #8
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    I like the others learned to use one because of the holes in my finger. I started with metal but now I am seriously in love with the stick on leather or plastic ones. I keep many styles in my store so that people have options as we all have different needs when sewing. Great question!
    Peggy

  9. #9
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    My grandmother was a tailor and she always sewed with one on those heavy men's fabrics. She taught my mother to sew and they taught me at the age of 10. Had my own treadle sewing machine. To quote Grandma Demory "if you can't use a thimble you aren't sewing". But I must admit although I can hand quilt I hate poking my finger on the underside, but I love hand binding. If you want something hand bound send it over. PS I prefer leather thimbles
    Cheryl Robinson
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    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

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    I made up my mind...I'm a doc and couldn't run the risk of loss of fingertip sensation. I put a thimble on and wore it 24/7 until. It didn't feel weird anymore.
    Life may not be the party we planned for,but while we are here we should dance!

  11. #11
    Super Member sweetpea's Avatar
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    It is all my mother-in-laws doing She taught me quilt and she said you have to use a thimble. it do not take long for me to see that she was right. boy I miss her I hope she would be happy with my quilting now. I'm sure that she had to token out what I put in when I first started .
    Scrapy quilts have more love in them.

  12. #12
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    The only way to load my needle in hand quilting, is to use a thimble. Embedding the thread end of the needle under my fingernail taught me very quickly to use my thimble.

  13. #13
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    owww!I hate it when that happens!
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  14. #14
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I still haven't learned how.
    I've tried numerous times and nothing seems comfortable.

    I think I need a tutorial!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  15. #15
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    I started off with layers of electrical tape for a thimble and wore it everywhere all day long. It's a compromise between no thimble and a metal thimble, and the tape sticks to your nail so it won't come off.

  16. #16
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    When I started using a thimble I very carefully held that finger up out of the way as I was sewing. Finally I started actually using the thimble as I was sewing. Now I like using one. I took a quilting class using the two thimble method- I really like doing that method.!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by francie yuhas View Post
    I made up my mind...I'm a doc and couldn't run the risk of loss of fingertip sensation. I put a thimble on and wore it 24/7 until. It didn't feel weird anymore.
    I found what I think is the lightest, most natural feeling thimble, the "Nimble Thimble", and wore it until it felt "normal". It is a small black leather with a metal disk in the end and an opening for your fingernail. After wearing that one and getting used to it, I have gone on to tougher ones, but it is a great beginner thimble.

  18. #18
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    I just kept trying. The holes in the end of my finger made it a requirement. Finally finding one small enough to stay on the end of my finger helped. Of course, just reshaping one that is too big helps too.

    There was no "magic" formula for me. I just kept putting it on and making myself use it.

    I don't hand quilt, but this was when I was doing binding by hand.

  19. #19
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    After trying nearly every thimble on the market 15 years ago, I finally found a thin black leather thimble from Nimble Thimble. I wore it around the house for several days, as much as I could, until I quilt worrying with it like a dog with a new bone. That's how I learned.

    (Now I don't wear one because I have so much nerve damage that I can hardly feel the needle in my hand at all, to hold or to poke myself. Sorry, Holice, had to say it! )

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  20. #20
    Super Member d.rickman's Avatar
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    I must have 20+ thimbles, but the one I prefer to use, is sterling silver, which I had fitted by my dad the jeweller, many years ago, it is a little worn however it still works and is very comfortable to wear, sometimes forget I'm wearing it.
    Quilting People are the Best, Have a great sewing day!
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  21. #21
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    First time I rammed the eye of the needle under my finger nail, I learned real quick. I have small bones structure and it was hard to find a thimble that fit. My grandmother taught me to wrap bandaids or tape or gauze around my finger then put the thimble on. My little niece has her own sewing case that has a few different thimbles. She keeps them in her backpack along with some little projects like yo yos and hexies. And she also uses gauze for her thimbles.

  22. #22
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    I think we were encouraged to use a thimble when we had sewing in our home ec classes - way back in 1955-1959! Plus my mother used one. So of course, I learned to use one, too.

    Mom would flatten her thimble into an ellipse instead of leaving it round. Seemed to fit better then. She also taped the inside of another one to make it fit better.

    I think I finally figured out it was easier - and way less painful - to push a needle through fabric with a thimbled finger than a bare one.

  23. #23
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    I am working on my first hand pieced/ hand quilted quilt and have purchased several thimbles. I am hand piecing with a Clover leather thimble on my bottom hand and no thimble on the top hand. When I get ready to quilt it, I will probably use the same leather thimble on the bottom and try to find one that works for my needle hand.

  24. #24
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    I don't remember. It seems I was born with a thimble on my finger!
    Cindy

    Curator of an 1889 Singer model 27 Fiddlebase Treadle, a 1951 Singer Centennial Featherweight, a 1956 Singer 401A, and a 1982 Bernina 830 Record.

  25. #25
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    Great answers. I guess I learned from watching other quilters. I hand quilt and when I first started, my fingers hurt so bad I wanted to cry and my husband said why do you do that if it makes your fingers hurt so much and my reply Because I love hand quilting. My fingers finally toughened up so I started using the thimble. I really have to search when I need a new one to find one that is comfortable for me. Thanks everyone.
    Pat
    Patsy

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