This is a compilation of QUILTNET postings about quilting with custom made thimbles. All comments are the OPINIONS of the person who posted the message......................

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

From: Bill
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 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 !

From: Donna
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?

From: Sally
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 fit. ?

From: Karen
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.

From: Marina
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 designs on 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.

From: Anne
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.

From: Reggie
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!

From: Marina
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.