Thimble Survey

My grandma Willie Ann, born in 1900, was an avid quilter who taught me to sew with a thimble as a small child back in Oklahoma. I have used a thimble faithfully since then. My finger feels “naked “ and it can hurt to sew a long time without one. After talking to other Connecting Threads staff members, I started to feel I was the only person who still uses a thimble. I decided to do a thimble survey!

Connecting Threads
We have 10 Connecting Threads staff members, including our graphic designers and marketing person. Of those 10:
3 use thimbles regularly (two metal, one leather)
6 do not use thimbles
1 does not sew  

Other Departments
Branching out into Purchasing, Marketing, and Accounting, I asked 7 more sewers:
2 use a thimble regularly (one rubber, one leather)
1 uses a thimble occasionally (metal)
4 do not use thimbles

Anecdotal Comments
Of the 10 thimble non-users, the main reasons were not liking the constrictive feel of a thimble, not needing one, and not knowing how to use one. Two of the non-users wait until they have a sore finger from sewing to use some protection.

It helps to know whether you use the end (tip), side, or pad of your finger to push the needle, because that is where you need the most protection.

I tend to push somewhere between the pad and medial side of my right middle finger and use a metal Open Sided Thimble that accommodates my longer nail. The dimples, which keep the needle from slipping, cover the entire fingertip area usually used for hand sewing.



A thimble with ridged, dimpled metal on the tip, such as the lightweight Protect and Grip Thimble, works well for those who push with the end of the finger. Natural Fit Leather Thimbles provide soft, lightweight, flexible protection over the whole fingertip. Both types provide grip on the sides for pulling needles through fabric.




Thimble Alternatives
For those who want some protection without the bulky feel of a full thimble, the reusable, self-adhesive ThimblePad, UltraThimble, and All-in-One ThimblePack are good choices. The All-in-One ThimblePack also includes a stainless steel needle deflector for the hand under the quilt when hand quilting.


Similarly, Poke-a-Dots are firm but flexible dots that protect against needle pricks and help with gripping a needle. One sewer, who regularly wears a thimble on her middle finger, also uses a Poke-a-Dot on her ring finger to push the needle through the fabric.

In addition to the Black Gold needles I discussed in my December 12th Notions blog, my other new favorite Connecting Threads product is NeedleGrip-It. These clear, flexible, self-adhesive dots provide skin protection as well as assistance with gripping the needle. Some of our staff members like to use NeedleGrip-It as a thimble substitute. The dots stay on even if you wash your hands and can be reused.

I plan to use a NeedleGrip-It on my thumb and index finger to help pull thicker floss or threads, such as #5 pearl cotton, through fabric when embroidering or doing big stitch utility quilting.

Our staff members have tried many of the above products; e
veryone has a personal favorite! You may already know what works best for you. If not, I hope these suggestions help!



  1. Naomi Funk - December 19, 2012

    I am one who uses a thimble. I would like to try the open concept one. I have a hard time finding one that will stay on my finger.

  2. Judith - December 19, 2012

    Responding to “Thimble Survey”. I am one who definitely believes in protecting those tender areas working with needles for hand quilting. I have tried many including the ones mentioned in this survey. I personally enjoy one of 2, and one being the silicone thimbles for griping and a metal open nail systel for comfort and protection. I have addressed this to my 8 yrs old granddaughter and have given her a small metal traditional thimble and she is aware of the other ones I use when I am showing her how to quilt her fabric. I was taught by my grandmother at the same age while watching her use the traditional metal thimble while putting cut up pieces of clothing, or flour sack fabric together for her crazy quilts. If I am fortunate to win the drawing for a white sewing table then I will use it for my granddaughter to sit at when she is visiting.

  3. Lou Ann Bucheimer - December 19, 2012

    I prefer the old fashioned type of thimble, and always use my Grandmother’s thimble for a few stitches, jut to say that I did. I didn’t quilt when she was alive and I know that she is looking down with pride that I have and use hers.

  4. linda harriott - December 19, 2012

    I like to use a thimble too,I use a leather one when quilting and a metal one for hand embroidery.I have small fingers and the best fitting one I ever HAD was a plastic freebie from a cracker. The open topped one looks like it would be good.Thanks for an interesting survey.

  5. Susan - December 19, 2012

    The only time I use a metal thimble is when I do hand quilting. However, sometimes when I want to feel where the needle is, for quilting or whatever, I will tape up the end of my finger with layers of white adhesive first aid tape. The needle will eventually wear through it, so I just retape and keep going. I do like the idea of a leather thimble, so I may have to try that.

  6. Vicki Krausz - December 19, 2012

    I have decided this is the year of finishing UFOs. I had a sudden surprise surgery trhis year and was so worried about all my unfinished projects that I decided to try to remedy at least some of this anxiety by actually FINISHING things. This dedicated Sewnatra table would certainly help with that. Thanks.

  7. Ann - December 19, 2012

    Thanks for all of your replies! It is good to know there are some other thimble users out there.
    Vicki, I think you maybe you meant to respond to the sewing table give away instead of my posting.

  8. Brenda Schiesser - December 19, 2012

    I have to use a thimble and love the leather type with the stretchy fabric that goes over the top of the finger. They are very hard to find anymore. I push with the side of my finger and the metal type just don’t work for me as they are for pushing with the end of the finger. Right now I am using a tough leather, end of the finger thimble inside of one of my favorite stretchy fabric ones because I’ve worn it thin and can’t find anymore.

  9. Jenn - December 19, 2012

    My grandmother taught me to sew with a thimble when I was young also. I use a brass one that has a rim on top, to keep the needle from slipping off the side. I’ve tried leather and plastic but have pushed through those. Some of those seams are tough. LOL! When my finger is cold the thimble will slip off some times but I breath down in it which warms it and adds a little moisture that keeps it from slipping off.

  10. Susan - December 19, 2012

    I am in the process of moving my sewing room out to the bonus room on the end of our garage. I need a cabinet for my machine. I am using a small table that I can’t even get my chair under. We all know how important it is to be comfortable while sewing. I love to spend all day at the machine,on the weekend when I am not working, or any time that I can. Thank you

  11. Marilyn Lessner - December 19, 2012

    For years I didn’t use a thimble either. One year for Christmas, after I was married, my mother gave me a special sterling silver thimble. I learned to use it and loved it. Unfortunately, I lost it and I was hearthbroken. But now I have my mother’s gold thimble which I use all the time. It is one of my fondest treasures from Mom!

  12. Sue Fahey - December 19, 2012

    Not only do I use a thimble for all sewing, I use my gramdmother’s silver thimble. Can’t feel comfortable sewing without it. Sue

  13. Ann - December 19, 2012

    I want to thank all of you for your responses. I have really enjoyed reading them and knowing there are other sewers out there with fond memories of learning to use a thimble as a child.

  14. mary ann vidulich - December 19, 2012

    My goal for this year is to start my first quilt. I just started to learn to sew in August and have done little things but now it’s time to do the big one…….Mary Ann

  15. Cindy Radtke - December 20, 2012

    Since finding the open thimble, the one you pictured first, it is now the one to get the most use. I use it especially when sewing down binding. I used to use a leather thimble, but since wearing out my favorite, I haven’t been able to find another to fit as well as it did. I do tend to wear a permanent callouse on the inside tip of my middle finger. My own built-in thimble.

  16. Connie - December 20, 2012

    I love my thimble, I have actually worn some clear thru.

  17. Vickie - December 20, 2012

    I also am a thimble user for embroidery and hand quilting. I use a rimmed metal thimble(x-lrg)on my middle finger and am still looking to find one large enough to fit my thumb. I’ve used leather and wrap tape for my thumb but they don’t last very long before they wear through and I get a very sore thumb. I guess I have big fingers. I will continue looking for something that works but I would really like to find a large enough rimmed metal thimble because I like them the best.

  18. Prairie Quilter - December 20, 2012

    I have always used a thimble. So much so that I don’t even realize it is in place, but I DO notice when it isn’t. I like the kind with the rim around the tip, since I use the end of my finger to manipulate the needle. This type works best for me to prevent the needle from slipping.

  19. Lavonna Campbell - December 20, 2012

    I use a Roxanne thimble and love it. It fits my finger perfectly. I tried using other thimbles before discovering this one, and they were always cumbersome and awkward. Using a thimble to quilt has saved my finger from the abuse it used to receive before I started using one.

  20. Ann - December 21, 2012

    Wow! Thimble users unite!
    Lavanna, I also love my Roxanne’s thimble. I am told CT used to carry them but you really need to try them for size which made them difficult to sell online. Our Open-Sided Thimble is adjustable and much less expensive, so it is a good alternative.
    Thanks for all the responses! Happy Holidays!

  21. Sharon J hoyle - December 21, 2012

    I want to do more quilting. Also, I would like to try new techinques. Teach both my mother-in-law and my sister to sew/quilt? It will and adventure.
    Happy Holidays,

  22. Josefina - December 21, 2012

    I use the Thimble Pad on my thumb when quilting. I find that pushing the needle with my thumb gives me more strength. On occasion, I would push the needle with an old-fashion metal thimble which I reach for and place on my index finger when there too many stitches on my needle. Tis only happens when its almost time to replace the Thimble Pad.
    I agree with the CT staffer who thinks thimbles are constricting that’s why I chose to use Thimble Pads.

  23. Susan - December 22, 2012

    I could never use a metal thimble because it always felt like I had a tin can on my finger – very awkward. But when I discovered the leather Nimble Thimbles I was immediately in love with it. It was like wearing nothing at all on my finger and is way less bulky than most other leather thimbles. It also seems to have some metal under the tip so the needle can’t poke through. I’ve been using one of mine for almost 3 years now. Most of my hand work is applique and for the last 1 1/2 years I’ve been using it for wool applique.

  24. web site - April 17, 2014

    Displaying Thimbles. Great selection of thimble racks and cabinets to display your thimble collection.

  25. Maureen Burns - March 3, 2018

    I’ve tried the metal open thimble and it is like having my finger in an iron maiden. Definitely not comfortable. I tried the Comfort Thimble and while it is very comfortable holes develop in them with under 30 hours of quilting time. I’m going to try the Protect and Grip. I prefer an open sided thimble and do have a Collins plastic adjustable thimble which has held up for years with no holes developing as yet. Even my Roxette, which I love, developed holes after 200 hours of quilting.