I started sewing as a child about the same time as Beezus did. And like Beezus, I never wore a thimble. Neither did my mother who sewed everything from curtains to maternity clothes to dresses for her daughters. She felt thimbles were too cumbersome.
I can't remember when I first learned to use a needle, but one of my favorite childhood memories involves a sewing bee. I was in second grade, and we lived at the end of a cul de sac in Anaheim, California. There were little girls living in the house on the other side of the street, and I remember one special summer when we would meet on the curved green lawn between the two houses and sit there all morning sewing clothes for our dolls. (Mine was an official Gerber baby!) No thimble was needed as we pushed and pulled our needles in and out of our fabric, our little tongues wagging as womens' always do when they are gathered together over needlework.
By this time I was also beginning to use a sewing machine. My first garment was a Mother's Day gift, an apron for my mom. I thought it was gorgeous -- I'd even trimmed it with lace that was shot through with gold thread. I was very proud that my mother kept it in her cedar chest because it was "too nice" to use for everyday cooking. (It wasn't until I was much, much older that I realized my apron was much too frail to actually use.)
I finally got my first thimble when I took home-ec in junior high school. It was a mandatory component of our official sewing box. I still didn't use it though. It never fit right, it made me feel clumsy, and when I tried to push the needle with it, the needle slid right off. But I could manage to whip stitch my hems without a thimble.
But many years later, when I first began to quilt, I finally had to come to terms with thimbles.
Because unless you're quilting with a stab stitch, you need a thimble for that rocking motion that allows you to load several stitches onto the tip of your needle before you pull it through.
At first I attempted to use an ordinary metal thimble. But I had the same problems with it that I'd had in junior high. Then I tried using a long, white, leather thimble that seemed to cover about half of my finger. It too was very awkward, and the eye of the needle was soon poking through the leather and into my skin.
|Fits like a glove!|
|Had to put this on my left had so I could click the camera with my right.|
Nowadays, using a thimble seems natural. I couldn't possibly blind stitch a binding without one! And sometimes, when my quilting is interrupted, I'll go off to deal with things forgetting that I'm even wearing a thimble. I guess we've finally bonded.
N.B. Bonnie Hunter is hosting a Thimbles Up! Linky Party today. Go see what she (and many other quilters) have to say about thimbles.