Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Keep It Simple - how I make my thimbles

When Debi listed this design for last week's Thimble Thursday of her weekly posting, I just had to make one for myself, too.  Looks very pretty and advanced design yet easy to make.  You can find design interpretation and instructions on Debi's Temari Train of Though, although the current post is about her recent temari (real beauty I might add) so you have to scroll down a bit.

Debi's  instructions are very detailed and easy to follow, but 28 sections with period of 8 sections sounds very intimidating and the design diagram looks rather complicated, especially for the people who are new to thimble making.  So let's simplify it a bit, shall we?
The above is the design diagram, with all the 28 sections with 4 paths.  I forgot to put the numbers beside the arrows but I hope it's clear enough without them.  Debi stitched first path through firstly then proceeded to the third (the second pink one in the picture) but I prefer to stitch the paths alternatively as much as possible so the arrows in pink are placed at the same plane to signify it.  The gist of stitching instruction is stitch the first and third paths alternatively until each sections are filled, then fill the second path, and after that,  fourth path.

Please follow the pink line across the diagram and you will find it makes two rounds before coming back to the starting point.  The design period is 8 sections, but actually second half of the period (4 sections) is simply the second round of the first half, in another word, one row of stitches consists of two rounds and that's why there are only 4 starting points. 

Now, let's remove everything else beside the first path's stitching:
You can now clearly see what you are going to do with the first path.  Are you ready to start stitching?  Before threading your needle, please ask yourself;


The answer is no.  Please don't think I am out of my mind because of so hot and humid weather down here.  I know what I am talking about.  Let's simplify the diagram further and you will know what I mean;
You see, all you need is a simple 7 sections.  But what about the starting points of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th paths, no markings for them?  You don't need them for this particular design.  You might want to consider this design 7 sections with 4 sub-divisions, instead of 28 sections, each  sub-divisions represent the paths of stitching.  Make sense to you?  If it doesn't, hear me out firstly before giving up, this is not as complicated as I make it sounds.
When you made the second round of stitches of the first path, the threads laying on the thimble body crosses each other and that crossing points are always made in the exact half way of the section, and in this way you will know where to start the third path.  I put the vertical green lines in the diagram above to show where the half way points are, and third path's thread in red, but not finished all the way because it makes the diagram too busy.

Now look at what it looks in real thimble ( I used green thread so that it shows clearly although the diagram remains in pink);

I finished the first row of first path and was going to start the third path.

You can see ( I hope) now what I mean the crossing points show you the halfway point of the section and it's where you start your third path.

I made an initial stitch and was going to make a down stroke stitch.

In this way, you continue stitching until you made all the stitches of the first row of the third paths.

As you see, it's getting easier as you go, because when you start the second round, you have now both the central crossing and the stitch you have already made when you stitched the first round to hlep you to determine where you make a new stitch.

You can always check if the stitch was made at the right place by placing the thread vertically.

Here, I got myself a nice 14 sections with only 7 sections markings
and this is the diagram (with 28 sections) to show what I have done so far.  Now the question is how do I know when to stop stitching for first and third paths.

The answer is the same way when you determined the points where to make the stitches of the third path. 

This is where I had to finish the thread and start the second path.

and in reality...

start stitching the third path until all the remaining space is filled ...

like this and then there is only fourth path to go.

I have finished the thimble, but didn't take a photo of it to show you, mainly because I didn't like the finished colourings of it. 

Although I used the threads crossing points to determine where to end stitching the first and third paths, but if I knew before hand exactly how many stitches I make in one section of 7 sections thimbles, I could have just simply divided the number of the total stitches in one section in four (because of 4 sub-divisions) and didn't need to worry about where to stop.

This is one of the latest thimbles I made and it has 24 sections with 6-section period.  As you guess, I didn't use 24 sectioned marking paper.  I interpreted it as 8 sections with 3 sub-divisions.  As I had to divide a section into 3 sub-divisions, I was not able to use thread crossing points as a guide as I described above.  Instead, I used the "divide the number of the stitches in one section" method.  I (almost) always make 20 stitches when my usual thimble has 8 sections.  So I knew a sub-division had to have seven stitches each and although it made it total 21 stitches instead of my usual 20, it was still an easy adjustment. 

This is why I always encourage you to count your stitches.  Counting is essential to make stripes but solid coloured sections could use your counting stitches, too.

For those of you who wonder how to make the above design, here is an instruction (no diagram, sorry);

1 start stitching as if you are making bi-colourd scales in the same colour for both paths for the diamond shaped part in pale blue until the one third of the section is filled.

2 using four contrasting colours, frame the diamonds by forward stitch for second sub-division, back stitch for third subdivision for both 1st and 2nd paths until all the spaces are filled.

For those of you who are interested in purchaing it, here is a link to my shop

The monthly photo sharing at Flickr, "Share Your Thimbles" is still open.  There are only two participants so far.  I look forward to seeing yours, too, there. 
Happy stitching!


  1. Your thimbles are so incredible. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. I've made a few bases so I will try and follow your instruction. I know it looks complicated reading it, but I'm sure once I have the thimble in my hand with the diagram it will be okay - Looking forward to trying it. Thanks Chloe.

  3. Hi Chloe Patricia,

    Wow! This is such a great post! I knew about counting my stitches and using that to determine where to stop and start sections but I did not know how to use the crossings of the threads to show me where the midpoints of the sections were. I still have so much to learn about thimble making.

    Using your method would simplify the pattern greatly. I get more errors when I try to divide the strip into more sections so dividing into a smaller number of sections means a more accurate thimble for me.

    When I try out patterns that have a different number of sections than I usually use I find myself missing knowing how many stitches I need. It makes me think that I should always do a bicolored scales pattern on the sections first so I know the number of stitches needed.

    Thank-you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. I am learning so much from you.


  4. Oh! I meant to add that both of the new thimbles posted are wonderful!

  5. Still haven't made my first thimble yet but thank you for the step by step instructions - the photos really help. I must sit down and try....

  6. Hi Chloe Patricia,
    I always have dramas with measuring so many divisions evenly. Thank you for presenting the information to help me see the pattern a different way. I need to begin to count my stitches so I can use your second method for dividing.
    Rebecca from Perth

  7. Hi Chloe Patricia,

    The middle crossing trick is so clever! Thank you for sharing it.

  8. Sending you lots of hugs and kisses - I am sewing my thimble as soon as I read your wonderful post - it explains so much - this is my third ever thimble and it is now faster and so much better - thank you - I know it takes you ten times longer to do a blog thimble but we all love you for it (Sorry I do not have a profile - too confusing - Cheers Anja

  9. Chloe Patricia, you need to know that the links in this article, to Debi's Temari Train of Thought, now lead to a page about eCigarettes. Sorry to deliver bad news. I'm glad you documented this design, since it's no longer available at Temari Train of Thought.