Open Line Friday–Favorite Notions!



Good Morning, Quilters!

My grandmother (a lady of the Depression Era) used to say that you could tell the state of a lady’s feet by how many shoes she had in her closet…

Not so much anymore…not with Zappos….

But I say…you can tell the frustration of a quilter or any hand sewist by how many thimbles she has in her sewing box!


I tried every thimble imaginable…but never found one I liked!

Every store I went into, I would buy all the thimbles…

I even tried to make a leather thimble–see Threads Magazine HERE

Then I discovered Roxanne’s Thimble!

I purchased it at my Local Quilt Shop–one that is no longer…sigh….

And they fit me for it—WAY TIGHTER than I would ever have purchased on my own!!!

Thimbles, Lori Kennedy

Now I can’t live without this thimble.  The tight fit makes it part of your hand.

I purchased a second one…because if I misplaced one, even for a day–I would be a wreck. (I know that sounds ridiculously dramatic, but it’s like a security blanket for me)

Thimbles, Lori Kennedy

The BEST place to buy one is at your Local Quilt Shop–And get someone to fit you.  (You may have a little sticker-shock, but they have a  lower price point, “Roxette Thimble” now.   In the end, Roxanee’s thimble saved money for me because I never purchased another thimble…)

If your Local Quilt Shop doesn’t carry thimbles,  you can get special rings to fit the thimbles online from Colonial Needle HERE  (This is NOT an affiliate link!)


What about YOU?

Do YOU have a favorite thimble or other notion you can’t live without?  

We’d LOVE to hear!

Happy Stitching,

Your Notional Friend,


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!





58 thoughts on “Open Line Friday–Favorite Notions!

  1. I’ve been English Paper Piecing for 4 years and had a hard time finding a thimble I liked. They were all too cumbersome, hot, and my thread would catch on them. Then I found Thimble Pads. They are self adhesive leather dots that you put just where you want them. They are super sticky and I find I can reuse one for about a month before needing to replace it. It’s so comfortable I forget it’s on my finger. When I’m done with it, I just stick it to the outside of my EPP box, or on a vinyl pocket of my EPP travel kit.

    Thanks for all your great tips on finding a thimble… I had no idea you could be fitted for a thimble!

    • I tried some red dots, not sure of the brand, and they worked great. However, when I went to remove it, it stuck so well it took the skin right off my finger. Couldn’t sew for days after that. Ouch!

    • I also use the leather thimble pad. Everyone should try this. I also use mine several times before replacing. I keep plenty in stock. I first learned about them from a native American that always bought them from my shop, 6 packs of 12 at a time. She used them for beading.

      • I use the thimble pads too, and I love them. I can use them so many times, and I don’t have to deal with a thimble slipping around on my finger. I didn’t know you could be fitted for a thimble! I might have to look into that!

    • I’m sold on the leather thimble dots! I can’t stand the feel of a traditional thimble, so these are perfect for me.

  2. I have a lot of thimbles, but they all come from the drawers of sewing machines that we purchase for our antique sewing machine collection. The ones I like have the little ridge around them. I have a larger one for hot days and a smaller one for cooler days as my fingers seem to shrink and expand LOL. I should get a large glass jar and put all my thimbles in for display since I only use the two mentioned above 🙂

  3. The Clover thimble I use looks very similar and is likewise the only thimble I’ve ever been able to use. I even have it in two sizes – one for summer and one for winter. All other thimbles feel as if they’re going to fall off my finger.

  4. My favorite thimble is a lether one made by prym here in Germany. I like how it fits on my finger. I have a lot antik thimbles, with pther collektibles from my greatgrandmother and hrandmother.

  5. Just like you, I love my Roxeanne thimble! The other notion that I love is my Quilters Slidelock, which I purchased after seeing it demonstrated at a quilt show. I use this all the time, and it makes cutting so much more accurate and easy. Both these notions were well worth the purchase price, because I use them all the time.

    • I had never heard of the Quilter’s Slidelock–but am very intrigued. Seems like it would be much easier. Which one do you have? Did you get it engraved with your name? I’m going to order one today!

  6. I’ve used Roxanne’s thimble for years! My absolute favorite too. I also own 2 for the same reasons, if I ever misplaced one. Another favorite notion I have is the Clover needle threader. I use tiny needles for hand applique and these threaders work like a charm.. I’ve been stitching on a beach for the past 2 months and use them all the time there. I can honestly say I can thread a needle in 20mph winds! LOL!

    • Clover hasa variety of needle threaders, which one do you use? … the table model? I have tried so many needle threaders and most don’t work properly. I have resorted to using the threaders with the thin wires but they don’t last and break easily

  7. Wow! I followed your link and I see what you mean about sticker shock. I’ve never been able to use a thimble. After I started quilting, I finally resorted to binding my quilts by machine because of the sore fingers involved. Maybe I’ll check in with my local quilt shop. 😀

    • If you can’t find it at your local shop, try – that’s where I got Roxanne thimbles for myself & another quilter a couple of years ago (I ordered the fitting ring set first). They carry the Roxette thimbles, too. It’s important for them to be a bit tight, because your fingers shrink a bit while using them.

  8. Most of the time I don’t use a thimble. There are times I do and when I do there are three I choose from. One is a “jelly” thimble. Another is the Clover metal thimble with a ridge on the top. My favorite is also a Clover. It’s the one with a soft plastic side which looks like flower petals that has a metal top with a lip.

    The other thing that I use with a thimble is a rubber finger tip, the kind they sell at office supply stores. I put it on my index finger to help me grip the needle when it’s stuck in a place with many fabric layers or really heavy fabric. It’s much easier to use than the rubber circle grabbers.

  9. Same song here, a million thimbles and none that work well. I have had a little success with the leather stick on ones however they do not last a month for me, a few uses at best so that can get expensive too. I am going to check at my LQS and see if they can size me for one if these if they carry them. You are right about the sticker shock too but like I always say, everyone needs a hobby and hobbies are expensive. Still loving your blog – your new studio is beautiful. I am thrilled at your earned success of the recent past and I am glad that now EVERYONE can enjoy your techniques as I have for some time now.
    Best, Deb

  10. I too have gone through many thimbles without a lot of success. Finally I found the Comfort thimble and love it and it doesn’t break the bank.

  11. I can’t use a thimble, either. I do not hand quilt, so never had to get used to one. When I must use one, I use a leather one.
    The notion I could not do without is the self threading needle (with the slit top) to use for burying tied thread ends. I also bought a “Spiral eye” – a side threading needle, which is gentler on the thread but takes a little longer to thread. I am one of those people that does that all the time – even when I use the longarm to quilt.

    • Jane, Is there a trick to using the spiral needle? I tried it once & found the end caught on the batting & pulled it out with the thread.

  12. I purchased a silver Roxanne thimble in Paducah years ago for hand quilting. I was “fit” at the show, and it has been a wonderful thimble to wear and use. It felt so good on my finger (although tight, it loosened up as I wore it) and I have never regretted buying it.

  13. I to have been in your “shoes” and Roxanne thimble is the only one I use for quilting. The first one I bought was at a show, late in the day and apparently my hand was a little swollen and is loose now, so I bought another a size smaller. I would’ve returned the first if I bought it at local shop but that’s OK….. But for any other hand sewing I use the little leather dots “thimble pads” They are wonderful.

  14. I feel like I grew up sewing! Somehow, no one ever mentioned a thimble to me. When I decided to get married, of course, I would make my own gown. It was incredibly simple, made of a white brocaide found in the drapery section of my wonderful local fabric store. When I decided to add a train, for some reason I did a lot of hand sewing on it(these days I’d have just used the sewing machine for the whole thing). My grandmother was alarmed at my raw finger and loaned me her thimble. It took some to get the feel for it, but my fingers felt so much better. I returned the thimble and remarked that maybe I should look around for my own…..well, she gave it to me. I loved that thimble and fifty-some years later I have a thimble collection that keeps outgrowing the cute display cases I have. The only one I continue to use is my grandmothers. A true treasure.

  15. I’m was a Serial Thimble buyer, for a long time, Roxanne’s was my preference, then I found TJ Lane’s wonderful thimbles. TJ has been hand crafting thimbles for more than 40 years. They are not only the most comfortable thimble I’ve ever used, but they’re beautiful. And yes, as handcrafted Sterling thimbles, they’re expensive but oh so worth it. I treasure mine. Website is

      • Love my T J Lane bee thimble. Took the time to get the right one. Love supporting other craftsmen too.

      • I took Mimi Dittrich’s applique class on Craftsy and loved her beautiful thimble. Someone posted a question about it and she replied with info about TJ Lane. They were vendors at a quilt show I attended a couple of years ago, so I splurged. Custom fitted, sterling silver thimble–so extravagant! It’s just beautiful, but more importantly, it’s the perfect thimble for me! The last thimble I’ll ever buy.

  16. I, too, have found and love TJ Lane’s beautiful thimbles. It is the one notion that I don’t think I could sew/quilt with out..I bought a Roxanne thimble many years ago but I found it was too heavy for me and then I bought a TJ Lane thimble and never looked back. I got the Lacy Heart thimble and love it. Yes, they are expensive but if you do a lot of quilting, applique or hand piecing, you would love it. It’s my favorite notion!!

  17. Thimbles are something I could not get the feel of and never used. My mother or grandmother did not sew but encouraged me with my passion for it. No one told me about thimbles as I did everything on the sewing machine and when I did try a thimble I could never get the feel of it as I do not like hand stitching and the few times I have to do it I use the back of my fingernail to push or a little rubber pad to pull.
    My favorite notion is the seam ripper. It has to have a very fine point like the one that came with my Viking sewing machine which is sharp but small. I found one at a craft fair that was made from a piece of marbaized plastic with a ripper insert with a very fine point. I have seen them made of wood which are beautiful but that insert must meet my inspection and I have not found one like my plastic one. It is heavy and fits my large hands well. Although you never want to use one they are a necessity. I have all types all over the house and my sewing room but I keep going back to the heavy marbaiized one whenever I have a big job of ripping.

  18. Have also tried many thimbles and most of the time don’t use one. What I always have on my wrist is my wrist pincushion that I made. Without it I have to hunt one down on a desk but with a design wall and sewing it’s right there with me .

  19. Oh, my! Oh, my!, OH, MY!!!! Checked out the thimbles. Great selection. Looked at rest of site and saw term I’m not familiar with: “Pleachet” and clicked on it, and WOW!!! My Grandma and her sister, Great Aunt Anna, used to make these rugs when I was 5-6 years old (1945-46), and I was so fascinated they actually made a small one for me for my dolls. I’ve made inquiries among sewers and quilters for years and nobody recognized the rug or the method! And here it is, complete with the special needle/hook combination I remember them using–although theirs had a bend in it near the hook. I am so thrilled. There used to be one next to the bed I slept in when I stayed at Grandma’s, and I loved to curl my toes into it. So soft and cosy!!!! They cut their strips with scissors out of old house dresses and aprons and such. Wool coats, etc., were saved and sent to Olson’s Rug Company to be made into reversible rugs.

    • Im going to go check that out right now!! Dont you just love the internet!! I can feel your excitement!

  20. Oh my gosh, I just love all those vintage thimbles in your photos, in fact they are the only ones I use, and buy them every time I find good ones in thrift stores. I pick up a variety of sizes since I also use one on the index finger of the underneath hand while hand quilting and because my fingers tend to swell or shrink depending on the weather and temperature. I’ve used them so much that a couple wore out and developed holes.

  21. I love the leather thimbles with the metal in the tip. BUT before I thought I could afford them, I bought the ‘plain’ leather thimbles. Soft leather that fits to your knuckle and has a blue elastic-like band. I found that once there was a hole in it, your needle ALWAYS finds it. BUT the perfect fix (or is it now a hack??) is to slip a dime into that area of the thimble. It’s etched so the needle has something to catch on when pushing.

    As for needle grabbers – I use the round party balloons! I have one in every sewing kit – and the bright colors makes them easy to spot!

    Thanks for all you share on the blog! doni @ Oregon coast

  22. I have one and only one thimble. I bought it when I went to Holland and visited the Delft factory store when I was in college. It’s been my side kick ever since–and I just turned 70!

  23. I have had a Roxannes thimble for about 17 years and I love it. When I applique I use my grandmother’s gold thimble. These are the only two thimbles I have ever found to be comfortable and effective.

  24. Lori, I’m a bit off topic here, but I went and “test-drove” a Bernina yesterday! I have figured out that the reason I’m not practicing my FMQ is that I hate changing out feet and thread and such to set up the machine, and then having to changing it back after my practice session, so I am thinking about getting a second, very basic machine to do my piecing on. I tried the “Simply Red” Bernina 250(?), and really enjoyed it. I figure I have the Viking with all the fancy stuff for anything else I need, so it should be sufficient, though moving up to the 330 is tempting. I was really impressed with the time they spent with me and how knowledgeable they were. I can see why you are a Bernina Ambassador!

  25. I spent most of my sewing life hand-sewing without ever using a thimble. It was only when I began quilt-making, when I quilted every quilt by hand, that I began to look for a thimble. It was very frustrating, because all of the thimbles I found were just too loose on my finger and frequently dropped on when I moved my hand. Finally, I found a couple of thimbles in an old sewing box that had belonged to a great grandmother. They fit perfectly – not too snug, not too loose. Apparently, the average lady of her day had smaller hands and fingers than we do now.

  26. I saw the Dritz comfort thimble and bought it on a whim – it is now my go-to thimble – it holds to my finger, has openings on the back so my finger doesn’t sweat, comes in three sizes and is inexpensive. I sometimes forget I have it on.

  27. My notion I use a lot is a pair of small scissors that are curved. The points are just as sharp as the other edges of the blades. Used them for 3 years now. I also love my 4 seam rippers ! I have a black leather thimble which I use most of all the thimbles that have come my way..metal and various types of plastic. The leather has molded to my shape and is great. I have large hands and the joints have enlarged even more with arthritis. My right thumb had surgery in 2 joints in 2009 and it loves my leather thimble. Forefinger is mostly retired…:) I do use a very small rubber mat(?) at times to pull through something difficult. We will see what is going to happen as I am about to quilt a 24 inch diameter circle in the center of a large quilt. I tried it on my machine and had to take all of it out. I will never plan such a large quilt again. LOL ! If you hear of a run on leather thimbles, maybe it will be me!! I plan on trying it with a 30 inch embroidery hoop.

  28. Tracked these thimbles down and found an extra small. The perfect thimble is a must have. I have rows of holes through many thimbles…I hope these are sturdy. With free motion quilting my thimbles will not get quite the workout they did with hand quilting…still a needed item.

  29. Like many of you, I LOVE my Roxanne thimble! Altho I’m still not a big fan of thimbles (much to my Granny’s chagrin!), when I use one (hand quilting), it’s the Roxanne I grab. We have a quilter in our group who’s having a hard time finding a thimble that works for her (large hands), so I’ll be passing along this info to her. I’d have to say my favorite notion is the “Pounce” — it’s wonderful with stencils (I make lots of my own designs) & allows me to pounce/ mark as we quilt – keeping the chalk marks fresh. The trick is really not to pounce, but rub it over the stencil. The next notion I like is the “Grip Strip”, a clear, slip-proof backing for rulers (I’ve even found other uses for them around the house!). I’m enjoying my first, slow read thru your new book & look forward to getting my sewing room sorted out & start my FM adventure!!

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