Question for Hand Quilters

ritaweedaOctober 2, 2010

I use a thimble on my right middle finger to push the needle through with no problem. My problem is with the left index finger feeling underneath for the needle to pop through. Every so often I jab it with the needle and have to stop until the bleeding subsides. If I use a thimble on that finger I can't feel when the needle comes all the way through. Has anyone else had this problem and come up with a good solution?

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Ami Simms says you'll feel the needle much sooner if you keep your underfinger moving in a slight brushing manner. You'll feel the needle tip drag across the the ridges of your fingerprint long before you could just feel the pressure of it. Once you get a rhythm going, it's just one little brush of the the underfinger.

If you can get a used copy of "Quilt with the Best" by Leisure Arts, it has nine pages of great pictures and advice from her. It makes the whole book worth it. She also recommends spending some time with no quilt, just balancing the needle between your two fingers and tilting is around. Like 10 minutes a day for a few days. It'll give you a better feel for how light your touch should be, and lets you use your eyes to set in your brain how things should be connecting. I haven't had a sore finger since I followed her advice, and I've never read the same tips anywhere else. I still jab myself, but it's a rare thing, like I haven't in the last couple of weeks and if you looked at my fingers you couldn't tell I was a quilter.

As far as the bleeding goes, maybe you can get an alum block like men use for shaving. Wet the block when you rinse your finger in cold water and rub it on. It's an astringent and antiseptic, so it will help stops the bleeding and prevent soreness. It doesn't leave a white residue like a Styptic pencil.

I've been reading about men's shaving, thinking of what Santa can still get my about grown sons. I haven't actually tried it myself, but an alum block might also keep a thimble from slipping and help you grip a needle. I'll make a new post if I can find a way to use a badger brush in my quilting hobby....

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 10:31PM
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While you're doing all out your finger don't turn green! Green hurts bigtime!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 9:14AM
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Green? Tell me more about this green finger problem...

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 4:55PM
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I know, but I was kinda afraid to ask ...What? (OK, I'm going to be squinting my eyes when I read the answer!)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 6:24PM
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When I first started hand quilting I stuck my left hands middle finger so much that it finally got infected...beside the nail and under it. It turned green. Much pain was involved. Skin rotted away. Nastiness!
Since then I've never needed a thimble or any kind of protection for that finger. It just stays outta the way on it's own. It's been over 10 years now and it's never been hit again.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 9:07AM
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Every hand quilter gets stuck once in a while. I can't use the finger protectors either. I switch fingers under the quilt and try not to use the same spot to feel for the needle.
Rubbing alcohol on my finger tips after I stop quilting has always helped me.
If you use the same finger and the same spot to feel the needle you will develop a callous over time. I don't want one so that is why I use different fingers and different spots.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:52PM
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Bonica! Poor baby! My shoulders are all hunched up to my ears just thinking about you.

I have rubbing alcohol but I never thought to disinfect my fingers after I'd stabbed them a few times. Sometimes I wonder where my brain is spending it's vacation.

I did get a crystal deodorant stick at Wal-Green's today. It's mostly natural alum, plus some synthetic ammonium alum. I practically can't wait to jab or nick myself.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 7:17PM
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The white side of any citrus (orange, lemon,...) has mass amounts of vitamin K in it and will stop bleeding almost immediately when pressed to a minor spot.

OR take a tip from older generation men. Walmart sells a little white pencil-looking-thing called a Styptic pencil in the men's-shaving-supply area. Dip this in a single drop of water and apply to small bloody spots and they will quit bleeding immediately.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 1:09AM
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Wow, what a sad story about your green finger. I am wondering, though, (and you don't have to answer this) if there was some other underlying health problem that helped to advance this horrible infection? Like diabetes or some immune deficiency. Whoa!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Try painting your fingers that are underneath with clear finger nail polish, it helps and keeps them from getting sore.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 9:45AM
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After my big talk about not usually sticking my finger when I hand quilt, I stuck my finger yesterday. And then three times today. Good heavens! It just now dawned on me (after dipping my stuck finger in alcohol--thanks for the tip!) that I'm using the same five needles now for a couple of weeks and they are DULL. I usually bend them, but I've been taking just three stitches before I pull the thread through, so my needles are lasting. See, if my stitch is a bit long, I use my thimble ridge to push the tip back to keep my short stitch.

I've always heard you'll cut yourself with a dull knife because you have to push harder and then you'll lose control. Same with a needle. Seems I don't have control, because I have to push just a bit harder and then it "pops" through, straight into my finger. It snuck up on me, since they get dull slowly, but usually my needles don't pop through at all, they slide through like butter.

Just thought I share this, what with my stinging finger making me all cranky.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 9:35PM
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If you are using a hoop, don't stretch the quilt too tight. Place the hoop, straighten the layers, and then push to make the quilt really loose so the needle can make ridges more easily. Think of a trampoline. Relax as you work each stitch. It seems to me that if I get tense, that's when I push too hard and get stuck with the needle.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 8:41AM
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I thought about this post when I stuck myself 3 times. And I was machine, quilting lol!!!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 3:25PM
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