About The Thimblelady Method
Have you quilted for years but your stitches are still far from perfect?
Are you still dreaming that one day your quilting stitches will be perfect as long as you keep practicing like you have already done?
Were you warned that it is imperative to feel the needle (tip with your bare finger) in order to stop pushing (too far through) in time?
Were you ever told that to feel the needle tip coming through with your under finger is not a physical pain?
Have you been assured that the ugly callus on your teacher’s finger will eliminate all the pricking pains forever after?
Were you ever told to put all sorts of balm and cream on the sore finger if you really couldn’t stand the pain?
My question is where did your teacher get her ugly callus if “feeling the needle tip” wasn’t pricking the finger if there were no pains at all?!
Callus never grows where there was no pain! Callus is your natural response to damage!
The callus can’t protect you from the pains forever!
Callus is a thick layer of dead skin. A thick callus on the palm may protect your hands when holding a shovel doing hard labor. But the callus on your fingertip can’t protect you the same way. Callus hardens as it gets thicker. When needle tip pricked the callus too much, the hardened skin will crack…Yes, you bet, for the weirdest reason, it always slips right into the tender valley of the crack every time you try to feel the needle tip!
Yes, I heard you! I know that pain!
15 years ago, I was a new quilter, fascinated by the world of quilting. I tried a bit of everything until, I saw a hand quilted Baltimore quilt! And that was my calling…I started hand quilting…But the subsequent experience wasn’t pleasant. The pains on my pricked fingers were unbearable! I went to classes hoping to learn the proper way so I could quilt without pain. I learned running and rocking methods, but only found the pains were common to each even though some refused to call it a pain! I was told if I really couldn’t put up with the pain, my only chance of hand quilting was the ‘stabbing method”…Quilt stitch by stitch?! How could I finish all the quilts I have planned for my life?!
So I stuck to the rocking method…I practiced and practiced, just like you, hoping to develop a thick callus to protect my poor fingers…(See? We’ve all been there, done that!) But the pain doesn’t stop here. It gets worse! The crack won’t heal unless you stop quilting and rest until it heals. It won’t heal until the callus peels off.
You have to start the pricking all over again…It is a cycle of pains. It is a chain of pains.
If only suffering the pricks will guarantee perfect stitching…
Many quilters I have met had already practiced for decades…Their persistence only saw their hands injured…The dream stitches? No where to be seen!
Even more quilters were simply turned away from hand quilting…
Pricking under finger doesn’t guarantee even stitches on the back. In fact, stitches too small underneath is directly caused by pricking the under finger! Pricking under finger is the very cause of stitches too small underneath – because we all feel the pain too soon.
Practicing mistakes will take you closer to injury and further from perfection!
To suffer more is a sure price to pay and will ensure that you do not reach perfection!
I hate the pains and poor stitches, but I love hand quilted quilts. I was as frustrated as you!
So is this the end of hand quilting?
“There must be a better way!” I told myself! I went out and bought all the thimbles, needles and books to read… Gradually, I noticed something! All the thimbles had one thing in common: they all had small and shallow dimples no matter what materials they are made of or what shapes they are! What if a thimble has a bigger and deeper dimple?! Would a bigger dimple grab a needle better?
Fortunately, my mother-in-law was a silversmith and we had a workshop at home. I took up the tools and made my first thimble with one BIG DEEP dimple! I tried it. My stitches were to die for!
Quilters saw my dramatic improvement literally overnight! What impressed them even more was my stitching on the back of the quilt! It was truly even! When I was asked how to make the under stitches so perfect, I said “I don’t know. It happened when I stopped pricking my under finger!”
You can imagine the reaction! “What? You don’t prick your under fingers?!” Every one had to check my stitches on the back with their own eyes and then feel my quilts with their own hands….Then they pick up my under hand to examine every finger to believe it!
Quilt fine and even stitches front and back without pricking my under finger?!
Quilt on a very loose quilt up and down with a long needle without bending it?!
Quilt 14-16 stitches per inch?!
Load 12 stitches at a time?!
Achieve all these without years of practice?!
I have found a better way!
Perfect quilting stitches without pain without years of practice!
I can quilt 16 stitches to an inch without any pain with a thin and long needle! I can load 12 stitches at a time too! That is why I can quilt better and faster without any pain!
Soon the editor of Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine asked me to show her my special thimble and my quilting at her office. After my demonstration, she said, “I know only a handful quilters who can quilt as well, but no one seems to make it look so easy!” Later, I was invited to demonstrate my new technique on a plastic vinyl on Simply Quilts how I quilt finely and evenly with a long needle without touching the needle tip at all…
In 5 years, my quilts have won many awards around the world. Now my students are winning awards everywhere. Many quilters with arthritis or diabetes can quilt again with this easy method! Many new or “ordinary quilters” became teachers passionately sharing the technique…Our mission is to help every hand quilter to quilt perfectly without pain!
If you care to quilt by hand, QUILT the Thimblelady WAY!
I want to learn your technique too! How to learn it?
I started teaching my new method immediately, 10 years ago – Everyone wants to know how! But I had never taught before. Quilters want to know how I achieved tiny even stitches without pain overnight! I couldn’t simply cover my bad teaching with the same old excuse: “Practice 1 hour a day, you will be good at it one day”…
My classes were never “normal”! A familiar scene of my class is: I demonstrated my quilting LIVE both front and back for quilters to watch because I couldn’t explain it precisely…Then we analysed how I quilted. We discussed the best way to explain it…Until one day in a class like this when a quilter practiced with her eyes on the ceiling while others quilt with their eyes gazing at the needle tips… I went up to her and asked if I could help her…She said “oh, no. Don’t worry about me! Everything you said makes sense! I am just trying to make it happen”…”But you are not even looking at your own work”, I was still puzzled. She said, “Ah, this is just my personal trick.” She went on explaining, “I am a pianist. I always have problems to turn notes into music after learning a new piece…so I developed my own solution. I take my eyes off the notes once I memorized it. This way I can play music instead of notes…”
Play music instead of notes?! How inspiring! I went home, tried to quilt with my eyes closed! I SAW how my hands move. I SAW how they coordinate. I saw every detail of the movements! I SAW a new way of quilting with my mind’s eye! It is completely different from the traditional rocking and running methods…It is at odds with many of the traditional beliefs!
I have found out a lot more…
Familiar with the saying? – “the size of stitch doesn’t matter, it is the evenness that matters.“
It is wrong! The size of stitches absolutely matters! Even the “evenness” is a matter of size! Needle size has nothing to do with the size of stitches! The thickness of needle only has something to do with the density of the fabric and batting you quilt. The length of the needle only affects how many stitches you can load at a time. The longer the needle the faster you can quilt! Short needle hurts today’s normal size hands.
Fabric is not made tight in a hoop to prevent pucker on the back! A hoop should only be used to free your body from carrying the weight of a quilt; or even better if it frees your hands from holding a hoop.
Pucker isn’t a mistake of poor basting! Pucker is a correction! Learn the real cause of puckering…
How to fix a flared border, how to calculate the amount of quilting in any given quilting design, how to make a perfect binding…and much more…
How to match fabrics, batting, threads and needles to your chosen designs…
How to place designs so your quilt doesn’t wrinkle…
How to balance the amount of quilting in your designs…
“I am a beginner and never quilted before, do I need to learn the old methods first?”
NO! This is a new technique – no past experience needed. In fact, many beginners learned faster without bad habits to unlearn first.
“I have quilted for decades with many bad habits and lots of pain, will I be too set in the old ways? Could I still change? “
Yes, change for the better is never too hard. Anyone who can quilt the old hard ways can quilt the easier way! The change is big in the mind but small in the hands. Once you take the action to change, half the battle is won!