Monday, February 20, 2012

{Post #916} Thimble Time!

Bonnie is having a link-up Monday about thimbles.  I have used many different kinds of thimbles.  For a long time now I've just used the cheap ones available at Mary Jo's or Wal-mart.  Here is a pic of an extra large one.  I used to use this size, but now a large fits more comfortably.  The good thing about this type is that it is inexpensive and widely available.  What I like about this is that it has a deep grid on the top as well as on the sides to keep the needle from slipping out.

I hand quilt without a hoop (I used an oval and a border quilting hoop in the past that I will be selling at the next yard sale).  I baste about every 4 inches across the quilt.  I find that going hoopless helps make the hills and valleys necessary for getting a good stitch.  The hoops were helpful for when I first started.

Using a thimble is unnatural at first.  You must make yourself use one until it is second nature.  My children have teased me when I am looking for my thimble and it's on my finger.  A good book on hand-quilting is one by Ami Simms.  I have loaned mine to a friend, so I don't know the exact title.  Like any new habit or hobby, at first one has to follow the instructions step by step until it becomes natural.  

It's all about habits.  One other seriously strong habit I have developed is putting my needle in the top of my shirt/blouse/jumper when I am waiting to rethread or just "setting it down".  I haven't lost a needle in many years due to this little habit.

I don't wear an under finger covering.  Like others whose hand quilting stories I've read, I know when I feel the needle on my finger (or callous), it's time to start the needle back up through the quilt sandwich.  Obviously the needle is not pushed down hard enough to draw blood.  

Probably the most helpful tool in my hand quilting is my chatelaine.  See it here.  A dear friend made it for me, after which I hand-quilted these beautiful antique blocks, given to me by my father-in-law.  

The chatelaine keeps all my supplies together, and I finished this in record time.  I quilted inside each string (because some of the fabrics were very fragile and I felt they needed the stability).  Then I hand-quilted "X's" in the sashing strips and Baptist fans in the outer border.

I hand quilt a lot of the quilts I make for my own family, especially table runners and wall hangings.  I love the softness it gives the quilt as well as the control for where the stitches are made.

Here's two more of my hand quilted projects:

Best advice about hand quilting is practice, Practice, PRACTICE.



Ruth said...

I use that same thimble. It works best for me. Last night I was looking for my needle....I was holding it between my lips!

Ellen said...

Wonderful projects!

marcella said...

Beautiful hand quilting!

Kristy said...

What gorgeous quilts! I see you do mark your quilts. What do you use? Does it come out with washing or brush off? Thanks for sharing today! K-

Leeanne said...

The three P's is what I tell my machine quilting students. The difference between an good quilter (hand or machine )and a 'newbee quilter'.... is Practice.
I really enjoyed your post.

Me and My Stitches said...

Funny - I use that same thimble. I have tried some others and none work as well for me as that cheap one! Gotta love that! I recently bought a border hoop - because it seemed like such a good idea...but I can not for the life of me, figure out how to use it!? Can you help?

Jan Hatchett said...

The chatelaine was such a thoughtful (and useful) gift. How nice to have a friend who would make you one. It is quite pretty, too!

Your apple core quilt is gorgeous! Did you hand piece that as well?

MaryLu said...

I have the same thimble as you. I just love your apple core quilt! You do lovely work!!