Sunday, July 01, 2007

Quick quilting question

I'm about to start hand-quilting my baby quilt -- yesterday I basted the quilt sandwich together. I've never used a thimble and I don't own one, so I'll have to get one. What kind do you use? Plastic? Metal? Leather? Is it purely a personal preference, or is one kind clearly better for quilting?

I hope you're having a good weekend. Bill and I went out to our dream double bill last night: Annie Hall and Manhattan on the big screen. Awesome.

15 comments:

PurlingPirate said...

I think it's personal preference. Especially since people hand quilt differently. Some people sew towards themselves, some quilt away from themselves. Some use their thumb, some their middle finger, some their first finger. It's kind of like knitting! Everyone has their own style, none of wrong, just different.

Daphne said...

Definitely personal preference. Here are some things to consider: Fit/size. I have large fingers so not all thimbles fit on all my fingers. The sweat factor: anything that covers more of your finger means a sweatier digit. I also have sensitive skin on my hands so the thimble I thought I'd like best (a longer leather one with elastic back) actually gets uncomfortable pretty fast. Coverage: The more coverage, the less likely you are to stab yourself (ah! needle death!) when you go to press the needle through against it. Cuteness: Everything Clover makes is cuter than anything anyone else makes. Variety: get a few in different sizes and shapes! They're not expensive.

All that said, I have been using the Clover ones more often, even though they're slightly tight on my fingers. I like that they're open (less sweating) and have stretchy leather bits, though the plastic sometimes hurts my nailbeds. Also, the simple fact that they're an open shape means it's easier to throw one on my pincushion and carry it across the room when I'm moving from the official sewing area to the unofficial crafting area (aka the sofa).

Oh and I found the "needle pullers" very helpful at times. They're just little circles of texturized rubber (sometimes you see garlic peelers based on the same concept) but really, when you can't get the needle through, they're invaluable.

amanda said...

I might be a freak about this but I don't use one. I've tried metal and leather and even though they both fit my finger, I just didn't like that I couldn't feel the needle! Very disorienting. I think I tried them both to get enough of a feel for them, but they still didn't work for me. So, I went without. A wee bit painful at first, and my middle finger did end up callousing over a tad (just a wee tad!) but I much preferred to go without ultimately.

If you'd like to try a few out, I'd recommend going to a quilt store with a quilt sample (or the real thing, depending on how comfortable you are lugging it around!) and trying all the options. Most quilt stores will probably let you do this and you won't end up buying thimbles you don't need or might not be able to return, depending on the packaging.

Happy quilting! Can't wait to see it :)

Stacey said...

I agree with everyone else - it is personal preference for sure. I use one of the rubbery ones and love it - can't stand the metal one. I guess I just like it to conform more to my finger...

ingrid said...

The quilting ladies in my neck of the woods wrap a piece of masking tape around their "thimble finger." That way, they can feel the needle, but it doesn't prick them (and it's inexpensive!).

carolyn said...

personal preference and it can be hard to find one you're comfortable with, so when you do - stick with that one no matter what anyone tells you!! :)

djb said...

I once knew a man who collected thimbles. He was a fashion designer. Who knew there were thimble fanciers!

Kirsten said...

I used to love a leather one which had a little metal disk in it. There is nothing as painful as jabbing yourself with the dull end of a needle, and that metal piece prevented that. Then I fell in love with the blue rubber thimbles that are actually used by admin assistants. Try them all, it's definitely a personal thing and has nothing to do with quilting vs. sewing.

laurel said...

Totally personal preference - like Amanda, I never use a thimble. I was never taught how to sew using one, and when I've tried they just get in my way. I just let the callouses build up and go from there :-)

Since my main problem with thimbles is that they seem cumbersome and get in the way, if I were to try one again I would look for one that fits really closely - probably leather or rubber.

jill said...

My favorite is a leather one that covers the finger almost to the middle joint. No metal disk in it, just leather. I've also used band-aids and a blue foamy tape used by horsepeople for something. Oh, and some notion departments might still carry a stick-on thimble that is a dot, cushiony and comfy once you find the spot on your finger that needs it. Don't remember the name of them but they came in a package of many.

As with everything else, play around and have fun. You'll find what works. ;o)

normanack said...

I hate the feeling of a thimble over the top of my finger -- something about how it hits my fingernail, even though I keep them short.

So I use a ring-type thimble: it's a leather circle with an indented metal disk on it for where the needle hits.

I use the thimble on my thumb under the quilt, and my middle finger on top.

By the way, I have several quilter's thimbles in different styles that I don't like, plus an extra of the leather ring thimbles. If you'd like them, let me know, eh? (free, of course. To pass on if you don't like them, either.)

Dana KBS said...

I have an ultra-cheapo ($.99 at JoAnn, I believe) metal thimble, and a leather one, too. I use the metal one to push the needle down and I use the leather one to protect my "under" hand. Good luck! And fun movies. Ah, to live in a big city.

Anonymous said...

I use the same configuration as my mother did -- metal thimble on the middle finger of my top/needle hand as well as a leather one on the thumb (increases the number of directions you can quilt in...). I can't seem to use anything on the underhand though -- I need to feel the needle coming through and find it difficult to keep the stitches nice and tiny if I wear a thimble. YMMV.

Kate

Christina said...

I have absolutely nothing useful to say about thimbles, but I just had to pipe up about Annie Hall+Manhattan - oh yeah!!

chez shoes said...

Same as Christina - I don't know from thimbles, but that double bill gave me a little pang of jealousy :)