This is a compilation of QUILTNET postings about quilting with custom made thimbles.
All comments are the OPINIONS of the person who posted the
Custom Made Thimble FAQ
These are the responses I got to a thread on one of the textile newsgroups
about custom-made sterling thimbles. Marina was planning to have one made,
I think -- hopefully she'll let us know how it works out! Enjoy...--Lara
Lara wrote: " What a marvelous idea!.... My husband and I made our own wedding
bands using lost-wax casting, where you carve wax into the desired
shape.........It seems like it would be fairly easy to cover your thimble
finger in some thin heat-resistant substance, dip it in melted wax to get
the perfect shape for your finger,.... Then proceed as usual > with
lost-wax casting. It's a great idea...wonder why we never thought of it
before....at any jewelry supply place you can buy sheets of wax in various
thickness..just wrap it around your finger ...there will be a bit of work
involved in shaping the tip...but that will allow you to have dents
orwhatever you've always wished thimbles had at the tip...take the wax
thimble to a place that makes custom jewelry...look under jewelry
manufacturers in the yellow pages...the castings are suprisingly
cheap...don't go to a jewelry shop...theyre too expensive.
I can't wait to make my own...and posibly some Christmas presents !
I've been following this thread with interest, because my husband
does custom jewelery work, and could easily do thimbles. I have some
questions, though: By "custom" thimble, do you all mean one that's made
to exactly fit your finger, or one that just fits "pretty well" and is
custom-shaped on the outside? And how many sizes do thimbles come in? I
know that I've got two at home--one of which is too big, and the other of
which is too small. So there must be a third size in between them. Is
there some sort of standard size chart, or are they just sized by
inches/cm? How much would you be willing to pay for a "custom" silver
thimble? Is silver the best material, or would steel, bronze, or something
else be better?
My mother bought a silver thimble in The Netherlands which I
inherited. As I remember, thimbles come (came?) in ring sizes. I love this
silver thimble -- it is comfortable and seems to wear very well -- it's in
its second generation of use, and only the Delft painting around the
bottom(open end) is wearing off. I have a steel thimble that I use when
the other one is in some other part of the house, and, while I can't think
of any logical explanation, it is not as comfortable.
Oh, p.s. - I remember Mother saying that the silver was soft enough to
bend a little and shape to your finger over time, providing a naturalcustom
A good question, and one that might only be answered by experiment.
It's possible that a thimble that's an exact fit might fit TOO closely,
and one could have problems with the finger sweating, the rim of the
thimblecutting into the finger, or whatever. The degree of "ease" needed would
have to be worked out empirically.
I don't have much problem finding brass thimbles that fit. But I
would like one with deeper indentations on the top, to keep the needle from
sliding out when quilting. And I've seen antique thimbles with fancy
the sides--there are "collector's" thimbles with similar designs, butthey
don't come in sizes. So I want a fancy silver thimble that fits!
Thimbles usually are sized using ring sizes. I don't know howmany
ring sizes there are, but a jeweler should know. I just saw an ad that had
about 10 sizes listed, full and "half" sizes (9 1/2, etc.)
It was for a brass thimble with an opening for a fingernail, I have short
nails so I don't need that, but a lot of people probably would. It cost
$25.00 (from Quilts and Other Comforts). For a fancy silver
version, I'm sure you could charge more.
My favorite thimble is a standard store-bought variety, rather
large sized for my stubby fingers, that looks as though someone stepped on
it, only slightly. In other words, it isn't exactly round in cross
section. Neither is the end of my finger, for that matter. Maybe fora
really special, custom thimble, an oval shape should be tried. I have an
antique silver thimble that is also great to use, but the slightly
squashed one is the one I look for first.
This is a great idea. I used to work in a foundry where jet engine
blades were made using this technique. They were incredibly intricate,
hollow Mwith holes and vents leading to various external surfaces on blades
only3 or 4 inches long. If anyone has a go at this they may find it easier if
they melt the wax out (by applying heat to the mould) prior to adding the
molten metal. Leaving the wax in and then using the heat of the
molten metal to melt it out could result in impurities getting into the
metal which would weaken the finished casting.
I think a (heat resistant?) glove worn over the finger while the
wax is applied will make the internal diameter of the thimble that little
bit bigger, and give some room for the finger to "breathe".
Rob waffling on about this and that - just for a change!
I promised to post the custom thimble info when I received it(this is from
someone who advertised in Quilters newsletter).
Her name is Lisa Wood. You send in $20 and she sends you a kit to
make a plaster cast of your finger. When you return it, she makes your
thimble. The price is $120 for sterling silver, and she'll also work with
gold, which is about $380 based on the current price of gold. If you don't
like your thimble, she'll take it back for a full refund. It takes about
4-6 weeks to get your thimble made. She'll add custom features and says the
metal is extra thick so it won't "break through" during use.
She has photocopies of a few designs but will also make any idea
you ask for. (I don't know if she charges extra for those or not). The
designs she includes are all florals, as far as I can tell. (the pictures
aren't very clear).
To receive your own info from her, write to: Lisa Wood, 132 S.
Oneida, Rhinelander WI 54501.