Dritz’s Soft Comfort Thimble: A Review

Dritz's Soft Comfort ThimbleI am on a never-ending quest for the perfect thimble. The new Soft Comfort Thimble from Dritz comes very close to satisfying me.  After giving this thimble a try, I put some time and thought into how this new thimble compares to other thimbles available on the market.

I am very demanding when it comes to thimbles. I have high expectations when it comes to a thimble’s comfort, durability and effectiveness.  My hands are not designed for sewing. They are thick and large and I feel like I am the perfect picture of a person who could be described as “ham-handed”.

Thimbles are round. My fingers are not, so therefore, I value a thimble that will conform to the shape of my finger.  The Soft Comfort Thimble is made of a flexible rubber-like substance that molds to my finger along with being vented to allow for air circulation that reduces sweating. This allows the thimble to be very comfortable and maintain a snug, non-slip fit. I bought a large and it was a tad too snug. I usually wear a medium size thimble, as a large is too big.

This thimble is one-sided with a hard plastic pad that sits against one’s finger tip pad.  This pad is dimpled with deep indentations that are designed to capture the eye of a needle and discourage needle slippage.  I like this pad though admittedly it took a little time for my finger to adjust to mentally judging for the added distance from the actual tip of my finger. The pad plastic tip is a tad too thick for my taste but I think I could eventually become accustomed to it. This thickness added to my reassurance that the eye of the needle would not pierce the thimble which is something that occurs often with hands as large as mine. That being said, I found myself an hour later in the kitchen preparing lunch with the thimble still on my finger.

The “hard, textured tip” works wonderfully well.  I jabbed the eye of my needle into my ring finger but it was my own fault.  I did not have the needle in one of the dimples.  I discovered I am a needle “side pusher”.  There are not enough dimples on the sides of the thimble to capture the needle and secure it for side pushing with one’s finger.

All in all, I am adopting this as my new favorite thimble.

Score:  4 buttons (stars)

Pro’s:

  • very comfortable
  • vented for air circulation
  • lightweight
  • good value for the price

Con’s:

  • not designed for side pushing
  • dimpled pad is too thick
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Capes Are For More Than Superheros

So a woman contacted me and asked if I could do capes.  I had just completed 140 felt superhero capes for our church vacation bible school.  Their theme was Jesus is My Superhero and the director wanted all of the students to have a cape for the program.  Four bolts of pink and blue felt later, we had a program of over 100 kids in capes.

I thought maybe she saw my handiwork and was interested in getting something made.  I was intrigued by a grown adult wanting a superhero cape.  On further questioning, I find that she wants a cape for her evening gown.  Wow, that would be a bold statement!  But, not to judge, I was all for the creative challenge.

I work in an environment where most of the employees spend a great deal of time in graphic novels. As a result of that, many discussions contain superheroes.  There are often arguments over who is the true superhero, Batman or Ironman.  I was not too surprised at this request. I have made capes before.  I once attempted a superhero cape for a 12-foot tall inflatable man, but that is a story for another blog post. I know, it is not something most sewist have on their resume.  I was a little curious so I asked her to send me some pictures from the internet.  “Show me what you have in mind”, I told her.  (What did we ever do before the internet? Whatever you can dream up, there is an image out there somewhere for something almost identical.)

Three images, 4 yards of black organza and one fitting later, I have truly crafted her two capes to wear with her evening gown.

 

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Help Wanted Listings on the Web

I’ve surfed the job listings on the internet such as Career Builder and Yahoo Jobs.  Who hasn’t?  But I must say that I am always unimpressed.  Job ads always look like generic descriptions that have been used for years–job ads that have not changed since the Industrial Revolution.  Most of them appear to be a paper job add that was typed into a form screen by some underpaid secretary in a back office somewhere.I always ask myself……where are the exciting jobs, the ones that sound interesting, would challenge me, would use skills appropriate for current society?

Hat’s off to Brittni at Paper & Stitch.  I ran across her job listing today in her blogpost.  She, unlike all of the other employers I’ve seen, asks for an email application while other standard jobs ask for a paper resume or some basic web page form.  She asks for links to the applicant’s website and social media accounts.  Wow, how outside of the box, NOT!  Let’s face it, we are out there and in the type position she is hiring for, she needs someone who is “out there”.  Social media is here to stay and let’s just embrace it.  Your potential employer should get the chance to see you as all of your friends and family and random acquaintances off the street see you.

Maybe we need a new job website that has checklists for being tech-savvy, social media literate and all-around in touch with the modern technology.

The Big S (Finishing the Edges)

IMG_1948.JPGSo I came up with a finish for the big S’s edges. In a previous post, I was working on a giant papier-mâché letter. My fabric was not covering the edges. I rummaged around in my spare wedding decorations and found a spoil of matching ribbon. I used my Mod Podge to apply the ribbon but sound found the ribbon was too stiff to stay stuck on the square edges. I remedied this problem by creasing the ribbon before applying the glue. The ribbon still was not sticking well so I had to resort to using tiny bits of transparent tape to hold the ribbon in place until the glue dries.

TIP: Transparent tape will not stick to Mod Podge so be sure to place the tape in areas that are not oozing glue.

This should finish this table declaration. One down, twenty-gazillion to go.

Pearl Snaps and a Pivot FBA

I grew up near a farm as a tomboy so boots and western clothing were the norm.  As I’ve grown older, I’ve never lost the love for either.  A recent stint of line-dancing re-ignited my passion for a well-fitting pair of boots and an ornately decorated yoked western shirt.  After reading a blogpost in which the blogger was mashing up a modern-styled western shirt for herself, I set my mind to making myself a shirt with decorative yokes and yes, pearl snaps.

I ran across this fabric and it screamed, “Buy me! I’m born to be a western shirt!”.  The selvage says it is part of the “You Go, Girl” line.  ‘Nuff said.

Unfortunately, western shirts are no longer in “vogue”, at least not in the Big 4 pattern companies so I was forced to dig into the pattern stash.  I ferreted out McCall’s 7955, a man’s western shirt with yoke variations, circa 1995.  The largest size, XXXL, was still a little too small for me so I cut the shirt fronts out with a full bust adjustment (FBA) using the pivot method.  And it would have been wonderful………until I discovered that I had neglected to adjust the yokes as well.  I didn’t discover it until sleeve construction and at that point, there was no going back.  Refusing to trash the whole shirt at this point, I creatively re-drew the armscye to catch the edge of the yokes.  After all, I had applied gold braid to the yoke and nothing with gold braid trim can be deemed a mistake, right?

No western shirt is perfect without pearl snaps, but alas, pearl snaps are as scarce as a modern western shirt pattern.  I found a seller on Etsy, Cowgirl Snaps, whose variety of colored snaps makes my mouth water and my creatives juices flow with visions of western shirts to come.  I completed the shirt with gold braid shining, wickedly incorrect armhole in place and pearl snaps proudly adorning the front and ran to put it on.  I wore it out the next day with a denim skirt. Despite the errors, the shirt fits well……slightly large and boxy as I would expect a man’s shirt to fit but I’ve always liked menswear fit.

And let me just say, pearl snaps make everything better!

Blue Jean Baby Bibs

2013-11-23 16.45.27-2I love working with denim.  The new Re-purpose, Recycle trend really has me intrigued.  I was recycling denim before it was cool.  My mother insists that each family member receive a homemade denim throw on the successful completion of a driver’s license test. This denim throw is to go in the car trunk for anything, accidental or otherwise, that might come up.  And each time a new significant other has been brought into the family, she very promptly gifts them with one.  So it is natural for me to make purses, tote bags, and other fun accessories out of denim.  I find it to be a very sturdy serviceable fabric that needs very little special treatment. If it gets dirty, throw it in the washing machine.

I pinned an adorable set of baby bibs on Pinterest that linked back to a Notes From The Patch blog tutorial.  I think that image has been pinned thousands of times.  It is very well-liked.  I printed off her .pdf pattern and set about making my own version of these bibs.  I had several baby showers coming up and several pairs of jeans stored up in the sewing stash.  I couldn’t help adding the heart nailheads on each.  But I did lay my pattern with the wrong sides together and cut out 2 bibs that fastened on the right side and 2 bibs that fastened on the left side.  Oh, well. As long as I give them away to separate people, no one will know the difference.  Ah, the joys of making mistakes look like a creative twist!

The Maker Movement

There seems to be a revival of sorts in the sewing and crafting industry. A recent article calls it a “Maker Movement”.  Call them Maker Faires or Arts and Crafts Shows, they are the same things – gatherings of creative folks displaying and selling their wares.  These “faires” seem to have sprung up driven by a new generation that is yearning to learn craft skills, some which have long been forgotten.  Despite all of the cutting edge technology at their fingertips, they want to get their fingertips dirty, splattered with paint, burnt on hot instruments, and scarred by sharp edges.  My generation, their parents, were too busy finding themselves and making the most of all  adult life had to offer instead of passing down life skills to their offspring.  I realize that I possess something to give this generation beyond the the resources to write an academic research paper.  I am adept at stitching, knitting, crocheting, painting, gluing, and constructing.  I have learned many things by trial and error and would love to pass these along to a group of people interested in such things.  But through what outlet?

How best can I pass along the skills that I have?

And So, It Begins…….

I’m a 50-something that was born halfway between the Baby Boomers and the Generation X-ers.  I lead two distinctly different lives.  One life is firmly rooted in creating and crafting with my hands while the other is equally as rooted in a professional life that manages technology and information resources in an academic library.  Caught between two very different generations and two very different worlds, I am ready to try melding them together in the hopes of becoming an even better whole person living one complete well-rounded, skilled, knowledgeable life and ending the the duality that has been my existence for too many years. I’m afraid I tire of the effort of keeping them separate.  It has finally occurred to me that I am not required to keep them separate and that by combining them I could finally give in to what has been happening naturally for some time.

I have an insatiable need to understand how things are made and how they function.  I can stare at things for hours trying to understand exactly how things work.  I am constantly discovering new skills that I feel compelled to acquire and new techniques I need to master all the while adding my own unique flair.  This curiosity holds true in both my professional and person lives.  Over my lifetime, none of my hobbies were popular among my peers.  I was sewing doll clothes when others my age were learning makeup techniques; learning to knit while others were playing video games and drafting and flower arranging while they were rushing sororities and going to parties.

I work in technology as a profession.  I administrate servers, monitor systems, manage data, create graphics, and develop web resources in the library world.  I’ve written complicated reports, manipulated copious amounts of data and written numerous procedures, manuals, blog posts and emails.  I’ve even managed social media and dabbled in marketing.  I do all of this for an hourly wage, benefits and the hope of doing something to contribute to the young minds of tomorrow.  So why can’t I use all of these skills along with my creativity to become a “complete package”?

So, here we go………

50×50

I’d like to take a commercial break before returning to my regularly scheduled blogposts of “fruits of my hands” and share an intriguing idea suggested by a friend’s blogpost.  Cari, over at The Printed Peach, created a very ambitious list of things that she wanted to have accomplished by a certain age.  Cari sparked an idea in me.  I’ve struggled lately with knowing what direction to take next, what project to start, what skill to learn, what mountain to climb.  I was particularly impressed by her “strikethroughs”.  Do I have anything that I can cross off my list?  Have I accomplished anything in my life?

The answers were indeed in the list!  Understand that I will turn 50 in a couple of years and have several more years on Cari, so don’t judge either of us. I remembered being 21 and started my list there.  Some things are from that time in my life and some are from last week.  Laugh along with me as I celebrate with myself.

50 things by 50
  1. Fall in love
  2. Get married 
  3. Get a full-time job with benefits
  4. Have a baby
  5. Buy a car
  6. Buy a house
  7. Visit a Europe.
  8. Fly in a plane
  9. Learn to ride a motorcycle
  10. Get my motorcycle license
  11. Learn to sew
  12. Learn to quilt
  13. Learn to crochet
  14. Learn to tat
  15. Learn to make baskets
  16. Learn calligraphy
  17. Wear jeans (again) 
  18. Buy clothes off the rack (again)
  19. Wear cowboy boots (again)
  20. Line dance
  21. Get my concealed weapon permit
  22. Shoot a bow
  23. Visit Florida
  24. Visit California
  25. Visit the Biltmore
  26. Visit Alaska
  27. Meet a celebrity
  28. Compete in a 5k
  29. Learn photoshop
  30. Create my own brand
  31. Develop the perfect logo
  32. Make my own label
  33. Be a successful blogger
  34. Design the perfect line of purses
  35. Write and market my own sewing patterns
  36. Write a sewing book
  37. Read a e-book
  38. See a broadway show
  39. Go to the opera
  40. Zipline
  41. Have a sewing/crafting/design studio
  42. Have my own business selling homemade dog treats
  43. Grow a garden. 
  44. Buy & wear fancy lingerie in some color other than beige, black, white, or grey from Victoria Secret 
  45. Own a designer leather bag
  46. Learn to swim
  47. Play a mandolin
  48. Ride amusement park rides
  49. Find the perfect “lost art” and learn it from a master craftsman to carry on the tradition.
  50. Assist Max in creating his food product business and give tours through his factory.

Thanks, Cari.  That was fun and you’ve helped me think about a lot of things.  If I died tomorrow, I won’t have left too many things undone.  And the only thing preventing me from completing the list is my lack of time or focus to sit down and do what matters to me.