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Thread: Thimbles?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lizzytish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Eastern USA


    I started making a grandmothers garden quilt, I work on it as I watch tv. It is my real first experience with hand quilt making. I sew binding on by hand but that's about it. Because of all the hand sewing I have been doing, my thumbs and middle fingers are very sore and are splitting. These are the digits I use to push the needle with. Being left handed I can sew with both hands.
    Can anyone suggest a good thimble/thumble (is that even a word) that you have used and liked.
    Thanks a bunch.
    may you be in heaven before the devil knows your dead!

  2. #2
    Senior Member quiltin-nannie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    NW PA
    I use "Ultra thimble". It's a little metal disk, smaller than a dime, that you attach a little sticky pad to and place on the area of your finger where the needle hits. I just couldn't use a regular thimble. I tried all kinds before I came across this one. I use it for hand applique and always use it to sew on bindings.
    Good friends are like stars; you don't always see them, but you know they're always there!

  3. #3
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    If you have a local quilt shop most carry a variety of thimbles. You really need to go in and try them out to see what type you like. I have a John James for my index finger that I like. Funny that you should ask about a thumble, they do exist because I have an antique one. It has the top open and I believe it is a tailor's thimble for the thumb. Do you call it a thumble if it's for your thumb?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Sturbridge, Ma
    I started a thread some weeks ago asking how quilters learned to use a thimble. You might look for it. There were some interesting comments.
    I use a cheapie....with a depression in the top. I learned way back when I was in the Army and sewing on patches. Had to learn to use one as it was so hard to sew through the patch. I'm still trying to decide how to teach one to use the thimble.

  5. #5
    Junior Member cad_queen_2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    soutwestern ontario
    i use an old brass thimble, i don't remember where i got it from. i wear it on my middle finger of the hand that holds the needle.

    my sister can not use a thimble. she swears by duct tape. she wraps pieces of duct tape around her finger. it works for her, but i can not use duct tape.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Central Jersey
    I use moleskin, you can find it in any pharmacy, walmart, target, ect. You can cut it to any size to fit your fingers. I have tried a couple thimbles andI just can't get used to having something like that on my finger. Tonight while sitting and getting ready to work on more of my Grndmothers Flower Garden I happened to notice my moleskin sitting there and decided to give it a try, well it worked, it's cheap and I will continue to use it and recommend it to those who just can't work with a thimble. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...LOL Good luck.

    Grab a bull by the horns and enjoy the ride....

  7. #7
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    I've used most of the "methods" mentioned above. Have an assortment of things I've tried. I end up with the thimble pushed to the side. When the finger/s get too sore to continue, I stop for a couple of days and the fingers are healed. Makes hand quilting a very long process. I know about the thimbles that are tailor made for the thimble finger, but don't want to spend that kind of money for something that may not work for me. I might say, I have not tried the duct tape but have tried bandaids.
    One step at a time, always forward.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Central Pa
    I just use a thimble for my middle finger so my thumb and middle of my other hand (from feeling it from the bottom) are rough and poked. I know they have rubber like things you can put on these fingers but I'm assuing you wouldn't be able to feel the needle. For the middle finger I push with I just use a regular thimble. Took some practice but finally got it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    I do primarily handquilting and a lot of it. I use a leather thimble. I wear it on my right middle finger and another one on my left thumb. They are made of deerskin and have a small plastic disk inside that is located where the needle usually lands. There are several leather thimbles around. The one I like most is tan in color and all leather. There is also one that is gray and has a blue elastic insert. The gray one is heavier leather and not as flexable. Before I became a quilter almost 40 years ago my mother tried to get me to use a thimble when I sewed. It was not until I became a quilter that I did. Now I even use it when I am sewing on buttons.

  10. #10
    Super Member humbird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    This is an interesting site for making a thimble. I have not made one, but thinking about trying it. I also have problems finding the "perfect" thimble, and I've been trying for over 50 years!


  11. #11
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    I don't remember the brand, but the body of the thimble is rubber and the top is the regular metal thimble top. I really like these to grip the needle as I am pulling it out of the fabric. I use a regular all metal thimble on my bottom hand. I bought them at a LQS but you can also get them online. They come in different colors according to size.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    I use the typical, run of the mill thimble you can get at Jo Ann's or a quilt shop. I use a size larger than the one that fits like a 'glove.' I don't know why I do that. ; ) I use one on my right index finger and I say 'ouch' every so often because the needle hits my left fingers in just the wrong place. I've thought about trying a new thimble, just to try something new, but when I quilt, I do so with the tip of the thimble and not the sides.
    After a while, you'll come to miss it when you're not wearing it!

  13. #13
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Phoenix, AZ
    Quote Originally Posted by mike'sgirl View Post
    I don't remember the brand, but the body of the thimble is rubber and the top is the regular metal thimble top. I really like these to grip the needle as I am pulling it out of the fabric. I use a regular all metal thimble on my bottom hand. I bought them at a LQS but you can also get them online. They come in different colors according to size.
    I believe it is made by Clover. I really like it but I need the small size and they are hard to find. I'll have to try online. I do know when I see a small one (orange) I grab it like a life line, LOL. The metal indented top is perfect for pushing and the silicon body helps it stay on my finger. I also use the rubber finger tips (I threw away the box but they are white) on my index finger to pull the needle. Really helps you get a good grip.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  14. #14
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Fox Valley Wisconsin
    The only thimbles I have been able to get used to are the leather ones. The thin leather ones work, but I wear through them quite quickly. Many years ago I found one of the goatskin thimbles at a quilt shop. It has lasted me for years...she is from the same state as I am. She also makes wonderful pincushions

    Here is a link to the website of the maker:

    She has some great pincushions too.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Englewood, CO
    I really like the little round stick-on leather thimbles. Regular thimbles get it my way, I can't 'feel' what I'm doing. With the little dots, I can put them exactly where I need them.
    I really like the stick on metal discs as well. They come in both a bumpy and a smooth version. I like the smooth for under my work and the bumpy for pushing.
    The sticky on these products allows them to used many times before having to replace it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    Blog Entries
    Decades ago, my uncle made me a thimble Joshua tree wood and asked me to USE it. I have used it faithfully and take joy that he was so pleased to see that I found it comfortable and useful. Typically, I use this at home and one of the leather thimbles previously described when away from home. I don't want to chance losing this thimble and he told me before he died that I was the one and only person he knew that used the item. Conan Fisher, deceased, collected wood and made beautiful thimbles which are really works of art. My everyday thimble is thicker walled because it is one the first prototypes. Some of his specialty thimbles are in museums in Europe.

    I have found this thread interesting. Thank you for sharing and giving links.

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