Just yesterday I decided that I needed to start another project, just a small one :) . I’d been looking at my thimble collection and then remembered a pattern in an American Patchwork & Quilting magazine from 2000. It is called “My Thimble Collection” and is a traditional charm quilt which features a repetitive block and never repeats the same fabric twice. There are 210 “thimble” shaped pieces in this quilt. I will definitely have a few pieces to cut. This brought me back to thinking about my thimble collection of which I have 68.

The cat thimble in the top left corner was my first collectible and a birthday present from Joan. I have collected thimbles on my travels, received them for presents and from others during their travels. They are made from a variety of things like bone china, ceramic, wood, pewter, plastic, antler, shell and seal fur.  One of the last thimbles I purchased was in New Zealand and is made from 35,000 year old swamp kauri wood. It sits beside my great grandmother’s thimble which is amazing as it has a needle threader and cutter attached to the side of the thimble.


The thimble at the top right is also a gift from Joan. It is made from seal fur and comes from Alaska. The one beside it was carved from elk antler here on Vancouver Island.

The one in the bottom middle square is an antique. It’s a size 0. It is one very large thimble. Perhaps large enough to plant some flowers in! I say this because I recently saw a website featuring thimbles as planters. They are lamenting the fact that thimbles get old, rusty and get thrown into the landfill. This made me chuckle because I don’t know too many people who use thimbles these days. And, what kind of plant would survive in a thimble? I decided that I was going to grow my own thimble garden. The last two thimbles I bought were blue & green plastic–my favourite colours–and I thought they’d be perfect for this.

My Thimble Garden

I went out into the backyard and got myself some moss. They are easy to water and sit right next to my desk in my sewing studio. Pretty easy to walk by and give them a spritz too. It kind of reminds me of the days of the “air fern.” Every little bit helps Mother Earth so don’t toss those thimbles, plant a garden or give them to a thimble collector. :)

FYI, here are the parts of a thimble: the crown or dome; the knurling, the indentations  in the body designed to prevent the needle slipping; the border, the area  below the knurling & above the rim; the rim, the bottom edge of the thimble.

Anyway, back to my Thimble Collection Quilt. The pattern calls for 2″ thimbles, I’m going with 3″ thimbles. I am interested in how long it will take me to get 210 different fabrics from my scrap bin and stash. When it’s done, I’ll post a picture.

Happy quilting…Valerie Raye

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One Response to Thimbles

  1. Joan says:

    Hmmmmm it must be time for me to purchase you another thimble.. I’d forgotten I’d bought you the cat one. I do remember the seal fur now that’s cool….