As an avowed thimble-hater in my youth, I never expected to carry so many in my shop that I would actually use.
You may have heard me evangelize the merits of a sashiko palm thimble, either leather or metal, and seen me wearing both at a quilt show or teaching event. I do use these regularly and find they take the stress out of sashiko and allow me to sew for longer than I would without a thimble. They may seem awkward to start with if you are unaccustomed to them, but once you find the right balance and rhythm to using them they will become your go-to thimble for sashiko.
Which to choose, leather or metal? It really depends on the base of your middle finger on your dominant hand. If the base of your finger is very narrow and rings tend to spin around when you wear them, try the leather thimble with its adjustable elastic. If you have a medium-sized finger base, either will do. If your fingers are thicker or you have arthritic joints, you may prefer the leather and either adjust the elastic or replace it with ribbon to make it larger. I tend to use the metal one most as it is easiest to find in my sewing tool box.
Are they absolutely necessary? No, but if you plan to be sewing long lines, I wouldn’t do it without one. Short curves where you’ll only be picking up one or two stitches at a time will be fine without a thimble.
This leather fingertip thimble from Cotton Boll feels like wearing a glove. It is soft, pliable, and has a slit for your fingernail to poke through and comes in small, medium, or large. Cotton Boll is a Japanese company, but the thimble is made in the USA. Having grown up near a cattle pasture in California, this does not surprise me. Plenty of leather around here.
The tortoise thimble is armor for your finger, but with access for your fingernail to be free. I’m one of those people who fumble with metal fingertip thimbles, so I haven’t used this one. They do seem popular at quilt shows! They come in two sizes, medium and large. If you’re not sure which you might need, just ask. I’ll do my best to get you fitted.
This little ring thimble is what I use for sewing quilt bindings. Adjustable and comfortable, this thimble prevents me from stabbing my fingertips and bleeding all over my quilts. The one shown is from Little House. I currently stock these from Clover as the exposed brass turned my finger green and Clover plates theirs so that doesn’t happen. You can see a video of me using it to sew a binding here.
Yubinuki are beautiful handmade thimbles. I’ve picked up a few books on how to make them, but it may be a while before I have the chance to sit down and learn the finer points. Check out the selection of books at Pomadour’s Craft Cafe if you’d like to give it a shot! I also like this clever handmade thimble from May Sheung on Etsy.