A few weeks ago, my blog focused on choosing a thimble. I had planned to do a follow-up the following week but other topics captured my attention. Let me talk about, finally, my favorite thimbles.
I’ve used a variety of thimbles over the years. I used to use one type for quilting and another for piecing but now use the same for both. My favorites are sterling silver thimbles by Tommie Jane Lane which provide air circulation and accommodate long fingernails.
TJ Lane makes exquisite handmade thimbles which are little works of art. For me, the rims on her thimbles are the perfect midpoint between too straight and too round which makes it just right for both quilting and piecing. They don’t have a rolled edge which will dig into my adjacent finger. The “dimples” go all the way down to the bottom and they are just the right weight without being bulky.
Tommie Jane’s thimbles and sewing tools are made from sterling silver or 18K gold sometimes in combination with special steel components such as needle threader wires, cutter blades and stilettos. While sterling silver is soft and with much use will show wear, TJ does a wonderful job repairing her work, for just the cost of shipping, making it look like new.
If you have been in any of my classes or been into the Studio, you will notice that many of us wear our thimbles and sewing tools as jewelry. Did you know that in the nineteen century it was common to give a thimble instead of an engagement ring? While none of ours were given as betrothal gifts, they are beautiful and can be worn hanging from chatelaines.
I am a digitabulist which means I collect thimbles. (It sounds a little scary but is a wonderful trivia question.) I’ve collected antique thimbles for years and often use them. I am especially fond of Dorcus thimbles. They were created by Charles Horner in 1884 to solve the problem of steel needles piercing soft silver thimbles. Horner used a steel core covered by silver inside and out. The result was a thimble as pretty as the traditional silver thimble but more durable.
As I look at my antique thimbles, I love to think of the many quilters and sewers who collected and cherished them before me. However, for the most part, generations of quilters made do with simple, inexpensive supplies yet created wonderful works of art with them.
While sterling silver and antique thimbles can be costly, there are also many good, very affordable ones on the market. Clover makes a very nice open-sided adjustable thimble with a comfortable smooth edge and is made of brass.
As I have said before, what is most important is to find the one which is just right for you.