Thursday 8 May 2014

Rolled Gold Thimble...

While reading about thimbles, in preparation for hand stitching my Fairy panel quilt, I remembered the rolled gold thimble my Mum had shown me. It originally belonged to my grandmother, and was given to Mum when her mother passed away.

Mum knows nothing of the history of the thimble, other than that it belonged to her mother. She had never seen it being used. We've been able to find a little information online, but not as much as we'd hoped.

J.F. is the mark of James Fenton, one of the four top thimble makers in England during the Victorian era. He ceased making thimbles in 1922.

We can't find any reference to rolled gold thimbles. Everything we've read refers to sterling silver thimbles. I'm not sure what the base metal is, but it certainly doesn't appear to be silver.

I know nothing about the sizing of thimbles. In fact, I know nothing at all about thimbles and have never mastered using one. This one is a size 9. It fits comfortably on my little finger (two photos above) and snuggly on my ring finger (below). Do people wear thimbles on their ring fingers? I can't fit the thimble on my middle finger, which is where I think thimbles are normally worn, and I have a reasonably small hand.  Perhaps it's a child's thimble.

Mum and I would both be thrilled if you could throw any light on the origins of this thimble.

Do you wear a thimble when you sew? Is it worth me persevering learning how to use one? Although I don't think I could buy a rolled gold one to fit me.

... Pam


  1. don't forget, people 100 years ago were smaller than we are now, I'm sure that included their fingers. I would put a thimble on my ring finger as that's the finger I use to push the needle through. I've tried it and when I'm wearing a thimble, I just use a different finger so they're useless to me.

    You should try contacting Mary Corbert (Needle n' Thread). She's incredibly knowledgeable about all things needlework. Her readers are often asking her questions and she'll either point you in the right direction, or write an article about it! It's worth a try anyway.

  2. Since it fits your baby finger, you could wear it while (whilst! very British :D) drinking tea - that way you're bridging the years between you and your grandma, and looking mighty snazzy while doing so :D

    I don't know anything about thimbles as I don't use them - I just don't like the feel - I deal with hamburger fingers on those occasions when I sew by hand :D

  3. I don't know anything about thimbles and I have never really used them while sewing. However, I do have my great-grandmother's thimble that she used when hand quilting. It has a little hole in the top because she used it so much (as I've been told). I never knew my great-grandmother, so her thimble is special to me.

  4. I had joined a hand quilting group for a couple of months. They wear their thimbles on their middle fingers. I am finally getting used to that! One lady had a thimble with an edge on it that worked like a finger nail to push the thimble through with, I really liked it.
    Here is a linky party on thimbles.

  5. What a great piece of family history Pam, I hope you find out more answers to your questions.

  6. Love to read this!! I hope you find out more answers to your questions.: )

  7. Hi Pam
    I learned to hand quilt wearing a thimble on the middle finger of my right hand since that's the one I quilt with. I load the stitches with the thumb and forefinger, then push with the middle thimbled finger. That one is beautiful. All the dimples are helpful to hold the eye as you angle it thru the fabric. It's a keeper. I have many thimbles, but the most useful is the cheapest, fits snugly not tight, has lots of dimples.
    LeeAnna Paylor
    Not Afraid of Color!

    1. I think I'll really have to give it a a good and persevere with a thimble for hand quilting, LeaAnna.

  8. How neat! I hope you're able to find out more about your thimble.

  9. What a fun piece of history. I've never used one- though I had a project recently that caused me so many stabbed fingers it would have been helpful!

  10. This is stunning !!
    Something really special !
    I would love this little beauty in my sewing room....:)
    and please dont wait with checking wont regret it !!
    best wishes xxx

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