Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year


I really can't believe how fast this year has gone.  It just seems like yesterday that I was stood in the porch at our last home, taking this picture for one of my earlier blogs back in 2009. 

These little guys were part of our decorations year on year but I haven't been able to put them out this Christmas.  I couldn't find them.  I know roughly where they are - they are in a box.  It's the location of the box that's the puzzle. That's the trouble with moving house, things don't tend to stay where you saw them last.  I know they will turn up - eventually. 

2010 has turned into a year that none of us here at chateau Simply will forget in a hurry. It's left a large and sometimes painful dint in all of us.  But, we are all still together and we are going to get through this bad patch. We have each other and that's what matters.  There are people out there suffering pain and loss to such an extent that what we have been through is insignificant.  My heart goes out to them, especially today.   

I'd like to raise a glass to wish peace, happiness and goodwill to all.  Here's to a happier and prosperous 2011.  The year when some, if not all of our hopes and dreams can come true.

Bye for now

Olly

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Cute Surprise

One of the main drawbacks with internet shopping is that you can't always tell what you are going to get.  All you have to go on is a picture and a brief description.  Now I love the internet.  To me shopping has never been easier.  My Christmas shopping is nearly all done and I haven't had to stand in a queue once! It's great! You don't get soaked when it rains or slip over on icy footpaths.

My thimble collection owes its size to the internet.  There's no way I could have got anywhere near the 300 plus that I have without the internet but even I know that, sometimes, you don't always get what you expected.

Take these little penquins for instance.


Cute aren't they?  Really sweet. The description read large penguins.  I assumed that it meant a thimble with a large picture of penguins so into my checkout basket it went.

As always when I get a new thimble through the post, I'm filled with excited glee.  When I opened this one I was also totally gobsmacked...


It's not large - It's huge! I've photographed it with Goofy so that you can see the size difference. Goofy is the standard size.  I wasn't expecting that. They are adorable though aren't they?

Bye for now

Olly

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Cross Cutting Themes

As well as collecting thimbles, I also have a soft spot for teddy bears.  I have quite a few thimbles with teddies on from my very first thimble:


To a few of his friends:




I also like to dabble with stitching. Cross stitch mainly with a little bit of quilting and more recently, I’ve even tried a bit of knitting.

So you can imagine my delight when not one but two opportunities to overlap collecting thimbles with stitching came along.

The first -


A cross stitch teapot thimble which cuts across three of my all time favourite things.

1. It’s a thimble. 2. It’s a picture of cross stitch. 3. It’s a teapot. Did I mention that I also have a soft spot for teapots? I have 8 all together so not quite as obsessive as thimbles – yet. ☺




The second -

This Japanese Thimble from Chloe Patricia’s site Ma Mercerie. A thimble that you can stitch yourself. How cool is that?

This one is the beginner’s level and is my first attempt and is only half finished.



The stitching isn’t as neat or as close together as I would have liked. It’s a wee bit small for my eyesight and I don’t have a decent magnifying glass. If you’re reading T, Christmas present idea – one with a built in light please. Wink.

Bye for now

Olly

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bakelite

Bakelite (pronounced bakerlite) is a heat resistant resin made, in basic terms, by mixing phenol with formaldehyde. Originally used for insulation in electrics its chemical name is polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride and it was invented or discovered by a Belgian chemist called Dr Leo Baekeland back in the early 1900s.

Over the years since then it has been used for a whole range of items from telephones, jewellery, door handles, light switches, radios, kitchenware – just about anything that could be made out of a mould.

Bakelite has a unique sound. If you tap two pieces of Bakelite together you get a kind of deep, heavy clunk, rather than the slightly faint jingly clink you get with modern plastics. It’s more solid construction also makes it feel heavier than other plastics. You can test for Bakelite with metal polish. If you rub a small area with the polish using a cloth, Bakelite will leave a yellow mark on the cloth.



Here is a Bakelite thimble. It is chunky, a bit heavier than my other plastic thimbles and has a slightly brown marbled effect colouring. Having said that, it's not really easy to tell for sure if it's authentic Bakelite. There are no dates on this thimble so I have no idea how old it is.  It could be Fakelite.

Fakelite, as the name suggests is “fake” Bakelite. Fakelite is made in a similar way to Bakelite but is a modern equivalent sometimes used to deceive buyers into believing they are buying a piece of vintage Bakelite.

I’m not a Bakelite expert so I can’t tell the difference.  I’m not too bothered anyway. I don’t collect Bakelite or Fakelite - I collect thimbles and in that respect at least this one is definitely the genuine article.

Bye for Now

Olly

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Frogs "Ribip Ribip"

You may remember from a few posts back that I was looking out for Kermit the Frog. Well, eBay didn’t disappoint and although it did take a while, I now have a Kermit to go with Miss Piggy, Rowlf, Gonzo and Fozzy.



The Muppet section of my collection is still missing something though. Possibly Scooter or maybe even Animal. Or how about the old guys from the balcony. Never did catch their names. It’s amazing how the list of thimbles on my wish list keeps growing. The more thimbles I get, the more I seem to be missing. ☺


It’s also amazing how easy it is to get side tracked. While searching for Kermit, I came across this cute little froggy.


It’s from the Thimblecraft by Shirley collection. Which then led to this one, also from Thimblecraft by Shirley…

And I always thought frogs were supposed to turn into Princes not flowers!

Bye for now

Olly


Sunday, 26 September 2010

"Underground Overground Womblin' free....."

"The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.  Making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind..."

These guys are the Wombles.  As the words from the theme tune above say, they collect rubbish from the common, take it back to their burrow and recycle it.  Tobermory, (the one with the clipboard and apron in the top right corner), can make just about anything useful from the things humans leave behind.  Clever Chap.  My Favourite was Orinoco. (Top Middle).  The laziest Womble of them all, always trying to get out of working and just sit down for a quick forty winks. He was also the hungriest Womble, always thinking of his stomach, hence the sandwich in his paw! 

Originally characters in a children's book series by Elizabeth Beresford, they were turned into a BBC Children's TV show back in the 1970s.  The man behind the voices in the TV show was Bernard Cribbins, a British comedy actor better known to some these days as Donna Noble's granddad in Doctor Who. 

The theme tune was written by Mike Batt, who was also responsible for "The Wombles" pop group and some catchy Womblin' tunes that hit the charts in the 1970s - "Remember your a Womble"; "Womblin' Merry Christmas" and of course "Underground Overground". 

A true all round classic!  

Bye for Now

Olly

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Wedding Anniversary Present

T & I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary tomorrow.  For an anniversary present he got me this:



It's a Charles Horner hallmarked sterling silver thimble.  It's been used and is a little marked but is absolutely perfect as far as I'm concerned. 


It even came in its own little box.  Sweet.

Thanks T.  xxxxx

Bye for now

Olly

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Mini Car

My very first car was a little blue Austin Mini 850cc on a 1976 P plate.

I bought it back in the late 1980s for £150.00.  It had a top speed of 60mph going down hill and did about 50 miles to the gallon. It was rusty round the edges, the floor had been welded so many times that it was just welding and no metal, and the battery kept shorting out on the inside of the boot.

Funny place to put a battery - in the boot.  Still not as strange as one of the old Landrovers T used to have where the battery was under the front passenger seat.  Mind you, weirder still was one of them had the fuel tank under the driver's seat! Nice and secure - no one could nick the fuel out of it, which is more than can be said for the Mini! The Mini's fuel cap was a screw on lid on the rear wing.  Easy to get into, but then to be fair so was the car.


Anyway, I loved that little car, even though it only lasted about a year. It got me from A to B, sometimes via C and most of the time via somewhere I wasn't expecting to be.

When I saw this thimble on Ebay, I thought what an ideal way to remember my little blue mini. Best of all, this one is guaranteed to never rust or need welding!

This thimble commemorates the Mini's 40th Birthday which was back in 1999 which means the humble Mini has now been around for 51 years! And its still cute!

Bye for now

Olly

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Atlantic Cable

The first message sent through the transatlantic cable stretching from Valentia Island, Ireland to White Sand Bay, Newfoundland was in 1866.  The message was sent by Latimer Clark.  After a few unsuccessful attempts he came up with the idea of making a small electric cell from a touch of sulphuric acid, a little bit of zinc and a smidgen of silver.

 

The silver came from a thimble like the one above. It was lent to him by Emily Fitzgerald, the daughter of the Knight of Kerry.   Emily's thimble generated enough current to send the signal 3,700 miles across the Atlantic in a mere second.  Imagine that - high speed communication - from a thimble! The thimble now resides in the London Science Museum. 

This particular design of thimble is now known as the Atlantic Cable thimble.  I think this one is from around 1870 judging by its tallness and slightly domed top.  It's been used, is a bit dinted in places and is slightly out of the round. That's a strange turn of phrase I know.  It basically means its more of an oval shape than circular.  Silver is an incredibly soft metal so thimbles are easily damaged through use.

I really must look into visiting the museum in London to see if Emily's thimble shows any signs of use or even any signs of its brush with fame.

Bye for now 

Olly   



Friday, 25 June 2010

News of a Thimble Giveaway from Siv Hege near Oslo

Hi all

I came across Siv Hege's blog on the internet today while looking for blogs related to thimbles.  She visited Bjorneparken (The Bear Park) this week and picked up a couple of thimbles as souvenirs.  She is offering the thimbles in a mini-giveaway.

Check out her blog for more details on how to take part in the giveaway and also to find out about The Bear Park.  Sounds like she had a great time!

http://drommequilten.blogspot.com/2010/06/tiny-little-give-away-for-thimble.html

Bye for now

Olly

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bisto & Bagpuss

Staying with the nostalgic theme from the sewing machine thimble in the last post, here are two more which take me back to days gone by. 

The first one is of the Bisto Kids.  Bisto is a brand of gravy powder which has been popular in the UK since it was first made back in 1908.  The thimble doesn't take me back that far - I'm not that old! 


The name Bisto comes from what it does - it Browns, Seasons and Thickens in One.  The Bisto kids were created by a cartoonist called Wilf Owen in 1919.  The boy and girl are based on Oliver twist type characters with dirty faces and raggety clothes and although used a fair bit in the early days, they haven't been used in Bisto advertising for a number of years now.  I can't remember the last time I saw them on the packets. Having said that, the advertising was so successful and the brand is so well known, I wouldn't be surprised if most people will know them by sight.  Even if they don't, everyone knows the Bisto Kids' catch phrase - "Aah Bisto." 



Bagpuss used to be one of my favourites.  I still have a soft spot for it now.  Now this thimble does take me back quite a way - all the way back to the 1970's.

 

Bagpuss was a BBC children's television show based on a girl called Emily who owned a shop which didn't sell anything.  She used to find things that other people had lost and put them in the shop window.  The idea being that whoever had lost it would see it and pick it up. Nice idea, bit daft and completely flawed but you don't tend to notice that when you're a kid.  What I did notice was that Emily's heart was in the right place. Emily would leave the item in front of Bagpuss, who would wake up as soon as she had gone.  So would the rest of the shop - Professor Yaffle the wooden bookend, the mice on the mouse organ and two dolls called Madeleine and Gabriel.  They would tell a story about the item whilst at the same time fixing it up to be as good as new.  Then Bagpuss would yawn and go back to sleep.  Typical cat! 

Ummm... sounds a bit strange doesn't it? And I'm usually telling my kids the things they watch are weird! 

Bye for now

Olly

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Miniatures and Firebirds

Well, as I mentioned in my last post I felt an ebay moment coming on.  It turned out to be more of an ebay hour.  I didnt find Kermit the Frog but I did come across this rather sweet little sewing machine thimble. 


It reminds me of the sewing machine my mum used when I was small.  It was a Singer and I can still hear the slightly sing-songy tinkly, clickety  clack it used to make as she turned the handle.  

This thimble is pewter and has been hand painted.  The little handle turns round and the sewing machine flips up on  a hinge to show the top of the workbench.  As you can see in the picture below, the thimble dimples are under the hinged lid.   I wouldn't fancy trying to sew with this particular thimble as it is quite heavy.   It's a nice little momento of times gone by though and I couldn't resist it.    
 



It was a very productive hour on ebay as I also came across the red thimble below. It was sitting all alone with only a few minutes left to the end of the auction.  It hadn't had any bids. So I felt a bit sorry for it.  The picture doesn't really do it justice as it's a lot nicer in real life. Its a lovely vibrant shade of red with an orange bird, which looks to be a bit of a cross between a peacock and a dragon. It has gold detailing to the top and sides.  It is called The Firebird and is hand painted wood.  Its purely decorative as the sides and top are far too smooth to make a functional thimble. 


As far as I can tell it depicts The Firebird from Russian fairytales.  A magical bird which is the object of a difficult challenge or quest.  Its seen as both a blessing and a curse to the person who captures it. 
I'm going to see it as a blessing as it makes a very bright, cheerful addition to my collection!

Bye for Now

Olly 



Sunday, 16 May 2010

Truro

There are times when you just can’t get what you need from local towns or even the out of town retail parks here in Cornwall. That’s when we head to our local city - Truro. Well, actually it’s the only city that is anywhere near us as it’s the only one in Cornwall. The next closest are Plymouth and Exeter but they are an hour’s drive away in Devon. This makes Truro the most southern city in the UK. It’s also probably the most expensive place to shop in Cornwall, but that’s just my opinion.


The parking charges are a wee bit pricey so we don’t go that often. The car park we tend to use is £4.10 for a stay of more than two hours. It kind of takes the fun out of shopping if you have to spend most of your cash just to park. Its no wonder most people prefer the internet – it’s cheaper in more ways than one. One minute they are telling you the high streets are dying through loss in trade, the next they are charging you the earth to visit the same high streets like its some sort of privilege. When we do visit Truro, we tend to make sure we know what we are after and stay there for less than two hours. That way parking is only £1.90. Talk about rip off! You can park all day in Penzance for that!


I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking park and ride. Well, I would but I would have to drive through the middle of Truro and a couple of miles out the other side to get to it. It’s the wrong side of town from me. I just see driving all that way, just to have a bus drive me back in as a total waste of fuel and an unnecessary increase in our carbon footprint. Besides at £2.40 for a family ticket, parking for less than two hours is cheaper!

Anyway, our last flying visit was Saturday and no, we didn’t get what we were looking for. I wanted some new clothes for my youngest who has had a sudden growing spurt. I didn’t get any. The selection on offer just didn’t match her age. Ah well, back to the good old internet I guess.

I did get four new thimbles from the market though so it wasn’t a total waste of time. As well as the dolphin and Rupert the Bear above, there was Fozzie and Gonzo from The Muppets. 



I got Miss Piggy on a previous trip so I just need Kermit the Frog now.

  
Ummm.... I feel an ebay moment coming on!

Bye for now

Olly

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Dirty Dancing


Here are Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in one of my favourite films.  I bought this thimble from ebay for £1.85.  That's around about the going price for decorative thimbles these days. Anywhere between £1.50 and £2.00 is the norm for bone china thimbles like this one.   Some of the rarer thimbles may go for a little more.  Bidding fever also helps raise the price a bit.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I bought a Teletubbies thimble for £5.50 which is way over priced!  Still, in my defence - it was the only one I had seen up to that point and I haven't seen any more since.  Well, to be honest, I haven't been looking.  It's bad enough knowing you've overpaid for something without seeing the proof. :)

Anyway, the main theme running through my thimble collection is movies and TV so when I saw this on ebay I couldn't pass it by.  It depicts a classic pose from a classic romantic film and we all know the classic line "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

Well, actually, she isn't in a corner. She's in a box, wrapped up in bubble wrap along with most of my other thimbles at the moment.

Bye for now

Olly 

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Being Piskie Led

Do you ever get the feeling that someone or something is trying to drive you round the twist?  Have you ever gone to get something and its not in the place where you left it? Or you've gone into a room and forgotten what you went in there for? Have you ever tried to get somewhere and ended up going round in circles? Worse still, have you ever made a nice cup of tea, sat down to drink it and found the teabag still in the cup?

Sounds like a bad case of insanity doesn't it? I'm not so sure. The chances are you are being Piskie led. 



These little guys are Cornish Piskies.  They are full of mischief, love a giggle and delight in sending some unsuspecting human off on a wild goose chase.  

At the moment the pesky little critters have hidden my eldest's artist pencils.  We've turned the place upside down.  We know where they should be - in her room with her sketch pad. We have turned all the boxes that are yet to be unpacked inside out - but nope - no pencils.  We've checked the car, her school bag, under the beds, the wardrobes, the airing cupboard, down the back of the sofa.  We've even tried the washing basket and the fridge.  (Sometimes its best not to ask!)  They have completely vanished.  I have found the camera though, which is good, or at least it will be when I find the card to go in it....

The best way of breaking the Piskie magic is to try looking for something else.  So I'm off to find my car keys and my mobile phone, oh and the remote for the TV.  Its amazing how many things just disappear around here. 

Piskies travel about a fair bit.  This little fellow certainly has! 



So next time you are missing your car keys, your shoes, a pen or your glasses, don't think your losing your marbles - you're most probably being Piskie led. 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spring is Here!

It seems to have taken an age to get here, but finally the first signs of Spring have arrived.  After a fairly wet and windy three days or so, the sun came back out today. It has been absolutely beautiful with only a few fluffy white clouds dotted here and there.

There was even a slight smidgen of warmth in the sun's rays.  It must have raised the temperature to a barmy 10 degrees centigrade at least.  Lovely.  So nice in fact that we all went down to the local beach and sat outside a beach cafe - yes I said sat outside - drinking tea.  Well, I was drinking tea, the girls had cokes and T had a coffee. In fact, it only really started clouding over with our usual chilly covering of rain clouds by around 4pm. 

Its not just me that has noticed a slight improvement in the British weather. The daffodils have been popping up in sporadic locations at the roadsides for just under a week now but all of a sudden, they have literally sprung up all over the place.  And a lovely, fresh, springy look its given the grey soggy wetness that is Cornwall at the moment.

Anyway, to pass on the really great spring-like feeling that I have, here are some flowers



Oh, and a Rabbit.   Nothing says Spring better than a bouncy bunny. 

Happy Springyness to all.
 Bye for now.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Thimbles & Rambles

It seems ages since I added a new post.  I have a good reason - I've just moved house and had to wait for the broadband to get reconnected.  It's been a complete nightmare.  All my worldly goods are packed up in boxes and I cant remember which box.  Worse still, I dont even know where half the boxes are.  Some came here, some went to a friends. Most went to storage including the one with my thimble collection in it. Still, I did manage to add to the collection whilst visiting the local indoor market so maybe moving isnt so bad after all.  I got Miss Piggy, Goofy and Thomas the Tank Engine. They are all sitting on a corner shelf now so I dont feel quite so bad about not having the rest of the thimbles here.  I would have posted a picture but the camera is in a box......

So I thought I'd share some pictures which are vaguely connected to Miss Piggy, Goofy and Thomas. 


A Blue train.  It's nothing like Thomas but it's still an impressive train. Its the Mallard, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley.  It set the world speed record for steam locomotives back in July 1938 with a speed of 125mph.



A porcelain piggy to represent Miss Piggy.



Noddy.  A fictional character who is always getting into trouble, a bit like Goofy.  Well, I did say the links were a bit vague.

Anyway, have you ever wondered why they are called thimbles? No? Originally, way back when they first came into use, thimbles were designed to be worn on the thumb. They have always had a slightly bell like shape so were called thumb-bells. Over time this has become thimble.


Thanks for stopping by. Let me know you called by leaving a comment.
Bye for now.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Cloisonne Thimbles


These two thimbles are decorated by an enamel technique known as Cloisonne. Little compartments are formed by soldering wire or thin strips of gold, silver or even copper to the metal base. This is called filligree welding and can be a teensy bit fiddly.  Its the little compartments that give the technique its name. It comes from the French word "cloison" which means cell.   Its a technique which has been around for centuries. Examples can be found in the jewellery of ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks and of course the vases and ornaments of the Chinese Ming dynasty.  

Its a fairly involved process. Enamel paste is used to fill in the patterns formed by the soldered wires.  It then needs to be fired in a kiln. More enamel is added to fill in any areas where the original layer has shrunk and then it is fired again.  This stage can be repeated four or five times until the desired result is achieved.  

Umm... not a quick five minute job by the sound of it and definitely something that requires patience and lots of it!

Bye for now
Olly




       

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Skiffle n' Thimbles

Way back in the post war UK of the 1950's, a new music trend was beginning to sweep the nation.  It was called Skiffle and made use of a multitude of household items to make music such as jugs, combs wrapped in paper, spoons and tea-chests. The UK's biggest Skiffler was Lonnie Donegan, famous for "My Old Man's a Dustman". He didn't invent it though.  The origins of skiffle go back to the early 20th century in the southern states of America.  Probably the most well known item is the washboard.  Originally designed for rubbing washing up and down to get it clean, the washboard has become synonymous with Skiffle.   It was not much good on its own though.  To make the distinctive sound the washboard needed something metal to rub against the metal of the board.  This is where the humble thimble comes in.     



With a metal thimble on each finger of each hand, the washboard player could strum, rub or rap the board. 


Skiffle probably became popular on both sides of the Atlantic due to the fact that it was an inexpensive way of making music.  By using everyday items anybody could join in.  It may have gone out of fashion in the mainstream music industry but the legacy of skiffle still lives on.  To this day, children still make music from blowing through a paper covered comb or twanging on elastic bands wrapped round a shoe box.  I'm not sure that you can still get washboards but if my children come back from school wanting to make a sound out of a cheese grater - I'll have just the thimbles they need!    

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thimbles Silver Hallmarks

Did you know that before the 1880’s silver thimbles did not need to be hallmarked? No? Well, although the silver used was the correct grade to be classified as sterling, the amount used per thimble was too small making the duty payable for the hallmark more than the thimble was worth. This changed in 1884 when applying for a hallmark became mandatory. Hallmarks or any other kind of marking on a thimble helps to date it. Even the little dimples can help you tell how old it is.  


This thimble is hallmarked.

They are a bit tricky to read sometimes as they are incredibly small and sometimes are worn, especially when the thimble has been well used like this one. I inherited this one from my mother-in-law, who probably inherited it from her mother. This hallmark gives the makers mark, CH for Charles Horner; the Lion symbol, indicating that it is sterling silver, the mark for Chester Assay office and the date letter. The date letter is for 1897.


I mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking at getting a Dorcas Thimble. Well here it is.



As I mentioned Charles Horner was the chap who invented silver thimbles with an inner steel core. Now, the lack of a hallmark makes this one a bit trickier to date. However, the fact that it shows Dorcas, CH and the size of the thimble, which in this case is 10, tells me that this thimble was made between 1905 and the 1940’s.

Some thimbles make dating even easier. This one for example commemorates the wedding of Charles and Diana and not only has a hallmark but also has the date neatly stamped in full just above the base.


Bye for now

Olly

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Name's Bond, James Bond.



Now this is something you don't see every day.  A group of James Bonds all in the same place.  I wonder what you call a group of Bonds? A gaggle? A set? A pride? What about a Hunk?  A Hunk of Bonds.  Umm. That'll do me, unless you can think of something better?

From left to right we have Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.   Did you know that Roger Moore made 7 Bond films?  Neither did I until I read the back of the thimble.  I was also a bit surprised to see that Sean Connery's thimble says he only made 6.  That's odd I thought, so I did a google search and sure enough, Sean made 6 official Bond films and 1 that wasn't official.  It was called "Never Say Never Again" and was made in 1983 - but not by the people that own the Bond franchise. So it doesn't count.  It's also the only Bond film (or rather non-Bond)  that I have never watched.  Cool.  A bit of trivia which might come in handy if I'm ever on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.   

This is one of the reasons I love thimbles.  They are practical, decorative and educational.      

Of course, if Sean Connery can't claim 7 films due to a technicality, I can't really call this a Hunk of Bonds.  It's not complete. It's missing Daniel Craig.  So, to get a Hunk, I'll need Daniel.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Thimbles Decorative or Useful

Not all thimbles can be used to sew with. Some are purely decorative. These are a couple of the decorative ones that I have. Technically, the well isn’t really a thimble but it’s thimble sized, has a cute little cat in a bucket and so is therefore, in my opinion, thimble-esque (ish).


These three are made out of pewter and are an incredibly small snapshot of decorative thimbles available specifically for today’s collectors market. You can’t sew with these as the decoration gets in the way and they don’t have enough dimples. If using a thimble then dimples are fairly crucial to its success as a sewing aid.

Ideally, a usable thimble should have dimples on top and on the sides. It’s amazing how many times it’s useful to be able to alter the angle of the thimble to suit the stitch you are doing. This is why I have never used any of my china thimbles as they don’t have dimples on the sides.

Different people like different types of thimbles. Leather thimbles are a popular choice with hand quilters because they are durable and allow better control as the pressure of the needle on the finger can still be felt. I would like to try a leather one, but haven’t found a stockist yet. The little stick on fingertip pads that are available now also enable you to feel a needle, albeit in a kind of numb way. I have tried these but wasn’t that impressed. They allow a certain amount of needle control but I found that the sides of the little pads pick up dirt and fine threads which can be a bit of a nuisance.



Saturday, 2 January 2010

Sequins and Silver

Santa, bless him, gave my girls some Sequin Art kits for Christmas. They love arts and crafts and pretty much sat down all day on Christmas Day, pushing pins through the sequins and into the polystyrene bases.


It’s amazing what can keep them occupied. After a while, my youngest began to complain that the tips of her fingers were getting sore. The pins used are normal fabric pins so do tend to leave little dents in delicate little digits. Umm. I said. You know what you need …. Quick as a flash they both cried out “Thimbles!” and dashed to the thimble display units.




These are the thimbles they came back with.

My eldest picked the red plastic one for its cool colour and lightness. My youngest picked the little silver one because it was just the right size. Good choice I said. It fits so well because it’s a child’s sterling silver thimble and judging from the dints, it’s had a fair bit of use already. The fact that it is silver is probably the main reason why it is so badly dented.

Silver is a soft metal whereas needles and pins are normally made from a harder metal. Its no surprise then that silver thimbles tend to suffer damage over prolonged use. That’s why back in the 1880s, a jeweller from Halifax called Charles Horner, started to make silver thimbles with an inner layer of steel. He patented his idea and called it the Dorcas Thimble. An instant hit due to it being both decorative and hardwearing. Clever chap. I don’t have one of these in my collection – yet. I’m working on it.

The taller silver one in the middle of the picture is just silver coloured metal and is my preferred choice for sewing with. I’ve used that for general every day sewing, for quilt making and of course, pushing pins into polystyrene.

Happy New Year.