Are you really a digitabulist? For those of you new to collecting thimbles, a digitabulist is someone who collects thimbles. So what exactly is a thimble? A thimble is often described at its most basic as a small cap worn over the fingertip to protect it when pushing a needle through cloth in sewing and thimbles are still used in quilting, sewing and other types of needlework.
For those of you embarking on your thimble collection, it might help you to consider which type of thimbles you are going to collect. If you choose to collect all types of thimbles, the collection will have an eclectic collection and be extremely varied. This is commonly how people begin their thimble collection. However it may be you narrow your focus, and decide that you will collect only a specific style or type of thimble.
The oldest thimbles are over thought to be over 30,000 years old and made from bones. First century thimbles originating from Roman times were made from bronze and tenth to fourteenth century thimbles from Europe and England were made from bronze or clay with basic decorations.
Thimbles from this era are typically quite expensive and difficult to find.
New types and styles of thimbles are being issued to commemorate everything from Royal Weddings to tourist attractions, with most tourist destination now offers many souvenir thimbles to tourists. Thimbles are often reasonably priced and readily available, helping thimble collecting to become an extremely popular hobby in the UK and beyond.
Collectors come in all shapes and sizes, with some interested in the history of thimbles while others collect them for their decorative value. Thimbles have been made from almost any hard material known with the decorations on the thimble varying greatly, providing the collector with a wide and diverse range of thimbles to choose from.
It is relatively easy to start a thimble collection and you don't need a lot of money to begin collecting thimbles. Loads of places now sell them, with antique shops being a great place for locating ‘older’ thimbles. Often you can find attractive thimbles for a few pounds and, as with websites such as the Thimble Guild; thimbles can also be purchased online through thimble club websites or specialist websites. Thimble collecting has also spawned a booming cottage industry in display racks, cabinets and glass domes.
Thimbles are a great way to get into collecting. They can be visually attractive, easy to locate (particularly using the Internet), can be inexpensive and even a relatively large collection won’t take up a lot of space. And although thimbles are not used as much in our daily lives as before, they are still a great ‘collectable’ and retain a special place in the homes of many modern day thimble collectors.