Monday, January 12, 2009

Thoughts on thimbles

I have a “thing” for thimbles, especially old, silver ones with intricately carved designs. And for thimble cases, and all the beautiful little “accessories” you use to quilt. I think I make more beautiful stitches when I use beautiful tools. I certainly feel happier when I use them and look at them. And if you are going to spend hundreds of hours hand quilting, why not use a lovely object to do it?

My mother gave me the antique thimble in the photo above, which was her grandmother’s, I think. See the wonderful silversmith’s markings just above the bottom rim? And those wonderful swirls like the stars in Vincent VanGogh’s painting? I adore it, but it is a little small for my finger, and it has a slightly domed top, which is not ideal for hand quilting.

I spurged a few years ago and purchased the silver thimble in the photo above. It is made by by T.J. Lane, a silversmith who works with her daughter and son-in-law (who are based in western North Carolina). The thimbles are made entirely in the United States, a rarity these days. Even though it was expensive (I think I paid about $60, and prices have gone up since), I have not for one minute regretted the decision to purchase it.

I adore this thimble. It fits perfectly, it is beautiful, and the flat top with the little rim holds the needle and pushes it in and out smoothly with every stitch I quilt. It looks old, and interesting, and it is hand made. (I am increasingly interested in purchasing hand-made items of quality, and not machine-made, mass-produced items that are often of inferior quality.) When I am not using it, it is still a thing of beauty.

A little while after I purchased my thimble, I bought this pretty silver thimble case to wear around my neck when I am quilting. This way, if the phone rings and I have to get up and leave my project, I can stick the thimble in the case and take it with me, so the cats don’t decide to play with it.

Here is Max, reclining in his bed (my younger daughter’s doll bed, purchased from a Tennessee artisan by my mother). He thinks it was made just for him.