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Thread: Learning to Use Thimble

  1. #1
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    Learning to Use Thimble

    How did you learn to use a thimble? How were you taught to use it?
    Any tricks for someone who can't use a thimble but is learning.
    It comes natural to me but many can't seem to grasp the technique.

  2. #2
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    I don't feelx comfortable using a thimble. If I put it on one finger I automatically use the free one. Guess no one taught me how to use it. Consequently I rarely use one.

  3. #3
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Not everyone needs a thimble. No one taught me to use one; I just didn't like jabbing my finger, when I did hand sewing . . . so got myself one and stuck it onto my finger. I do prefer the leather ones, over the metal ones.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I had to figure it out for myself. It helped having a pretty thimble that I wanted to use. I ended up putting it on my ring finger for hand sewing, and once I got used to it, I can't sew without it. I've tried it on my middle finger but can't quite figure out how to hold the needle.

    For hand quilting, I quickly learned to use it on my middle finger - it hurt to push the needle unless I had the thimble on.

    Janet

  5. #5
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    I always have 2 on my right hand when I hand-quilt...a rubber thimble on my middle finger for going across or down and a strong plastic thumb thimble for going up

  6. #6
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    I have real trouble using a thimble, I don't seem to be able to sew in the usual way if I use a thimble. Also I have really small fingers and just can't seem to find a thimble that fits. Even extra small is too large, I did find one that is adjustable but I still could not get it small enough! So I am not sure if the main problem is not having a properly fitting thimble (tried a leather one way too big) Have thought about those stick on dots things has anybody tried those. Any help in using a thimble would be appreciated.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sewflower's Avatar
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    I've tried all different kinds of thimbles and still have trouble and end up not using any. The only one I had any luck with was the rubber kind. I have callous on my fingers so that helps. Don't know of any tutorials on thimble uses but have had different teachers try to show me with no such luck. Good luck to you
    Sewflower

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I've tried a few different thimbles, and like some, when it's on my finger I can't seem to get that finger to work so I use a different finger.

    I CAN tell you though that I was successful at finding a thimble that fits really well. I have very small hands. I purchased a size X-small leather thimble and it was too small so I soaked it in water and then wore it until it dried. Once dried, it was the size and shape of my finger.

    I just wish I could actually use the darned thing.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
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    I have the best luck with a leather thimble. Never liked using one until I took up english smocking. For quilting, I go back to using adhesive tape on my fingers.

  10. #10
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    Sometimes if one flattens a round thimble a little bit - it stays on one's finger better.

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    When I was very young I had two Aunts who sewed[one professionaly] and they made me learn. Now I cannot sew without one. I have several, but like leather best. I have also used the dots, but use 2 or 3 on top of each other.ha. Don't want the needle to go through. When I handquilt I use a very small one and they go through anything.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    ... so I soaked it in water and then wore it until it dried. Once dried, it was the size and shape of my finger...
    Wow, never thought of doing this. I like my leather thimble [when I use one] but it never fits. Thanks for the great tip!
    Nancy in western NY
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  13. #13
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    When I was 12 my grandmother who was a tailor told me I had to use one to learn to sew. Now I can't hand sew without one.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  14. #14
    Senior Member SittingPretty's Avatar
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    I found a leather thimble that I like, but I still had trouble keeping it on. Probably not a usual way, but I coated the inside with rubber cement. It stays on really well now, and I'm getting used to wearing it. I read once where someone wore it all day, and finally got used to it. Just a couple of thoughts.
    SittingPretty

  15. #15
    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    I don't feelx comfortable using a thimble. If I put it on one finger I automatically use the free one. Guess no one taught me how to use it. Consequently I rarely use one.
    Ditto! My mom always encouraged us to use a thimble, but I just never could. I did read somewhere that you should put your thimble on and leave it on, so you get use to it. They even suggested sleeping in it. I haven't tried that but it does make sense.
    Kathleen

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  16. #16
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    The only finger I am comfortable using a thimble on is my middle finger. I don't hand quilt so I just use this for pushing the needle.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  17. #17
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    I had never gotten used to a thimble even though I did lots of hand sewing as a young girl. When I wanted to learn to hand quilt I knew I would have to use a thimble. I progressed to what I use now. I started with a "Nimble Thimble", a small black leather one with a metal disk in the tip and a slit for a finger nail. I would wear it around the house just to get used to it. I quilted with it until I poked the needle through it one to many times, then I started looking at other thimbles. I then tried the plastic flesh colored adjustable open thimble, that worked great for quite awhile, I then bought a "Roxanne Thimble" I liked it a lot in one way but not for another reason. It is made so that you use the pad of your finger tip not the very tip, I really liked quilting that way. What I don't like about it is the shape of the cut out for your finger nail. It is very narrow. I guess my nails are kind of wide and if I let them grow at all (even a miniscule amount) the nail hits the edge of the thimble and it hurts. After learning to push the needle with the pad of my finger it was hard to find another thimble that worked like that, but I did. It is made by clover, it is a bronze color and it is adjustable. It looks alot like Roxannes. I love it. Even though I got used to using a thimble for quilting, I still couldn't use one for other hand sewing, (weird I know). I now use the little leather stick on "dots" when hand sewing.

  18. #18
    Super Member dublb's Avatar
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    I used ta think that I couldn't use a thimble. My fingers would git sore & I'd have a thimble w/me at all times, but they were always fallin' off. I didn't realize that the problem was my small fingers. I would try ta buy the small ones & they fell off. Then I bought the XS ones I they were way too tight! One day I saw some thimbles at a thrift store & 3 of
    em fit. When my fingers got sore I put 'em on & wow what a difference it made. I could stack those stitches as quick as lightnin'. Boy do I love ta hand quilt!
    Bev
    My initials are BB, so dublb is double B.

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    I have tried and tried, and just cannot get the hang of thimbles. I use the little faux leather adhesive dots on the ends of my fingers. They work wonderfully and really save the tips of my fingers from stabs and callouses, but they are getting harder and harder to find.
    Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most!

  20. #20
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    Another self-taught thimble user here. And like many others, had plenty of trial and error finding one that I could actually use. I finally found the Thimblelady thimbles. Somewhat similar to Roxanne's in that they are open-ended but more cone shaped with a larger open top. And like Roxanne's, you push with the pad of your finger - not the top. I started with their plastic one to confirm size and style and have since bought 2 of the stainless steel ones. They are about $35 I think. The plastic about $10. Their sizing instructions I find to be very accurate. I hand quilt with the thimble on my middle finger and a rubber finger tip (the kind used to count money/paper from the office supply store) on my index finger to help with needle pulling. If I'm not mistaken there are videos on her website for use of the thimble (along with her very long needles) which are helpful. I originally saw the demo on the Alex Anderson show. I have also used her needles but find them a bit bendy. That might be because I use W&N batting. I now use Roxanne #11 betweens for quilting. Very sturdy and keeping the sandwich loose can get some nice small stitches. Good luck with your quest.

  21. #21
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    I can't imagine hand quilting without a thimble! Ouch!

    I used to use a leather thimble until I pushed the eye end of the needle through my finger.

    Believe it or not, my current favorite is a decorative ceramic thimble that happens to have a deep dimple. I also have an antique brass one that fits pretty well.
    I guess the key to successful thimble use is finding one that fits without interfering with movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    How did you learn to use a thimble? How were you taught to use it?
    Any tricks for someone who can't use a thimble but is learning.
    It comes natural to me but many can't seem to grasp the technique.
    I tried many thimbles
    without success. Finally, the leather one works for me. I also use the underthimble when hand quilting. For me it took practice, practice, practice.

  23. #23
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I use ThimblePads, the little (3/8") self-adhesive leather dots that stick right on your fingertip. I do a lot of hand stitching, often through several layers of fused fabrics, and these pads have never slipped, never been penetrated and never failed me. They also work perfectly as a grip to pull the needle through any tough spots.

    On the rare occasion that I hand quilt on the frame, I also wear one on my 'under' hand. They let me feel the pressure of the needle without actually sticking my finger. They can be reused four or five times before they stop sticking tight. I love them!
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  24. #24
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    Glad to see that I am not the only one who can't use a thimble!!
    Pam Riggs

  25. #25
    Senior Member Toni C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    I don't feelx comfortable using a thimble. If I put it on one finger I automatically use the free one. Guess no one taught me how to use it. Consequently I rarely use one.
    HAHAHA and I thought I was the only thimble dummy. When was young (in grade/high school) I embroidered so I got used to not using a thimble. Now I can't seem to get the hand of it LOL

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