I have been sewing on my wiggly turquoise heart for the past few days and the thumb on my right hand is getting sore from tugging at the needle – and much to my horror my wrist is beginning to feel a few twinges of pain.
The glue stick appliqué method is great – you get very smooth edges – but the downside is that the edge you are sewing through is stiffer than it would be if you were doing needleturn or back basting or any method that doesn’t involve glue or starch. I didn’t mention that in my tutorial did I?
Having said that – I have found the solution! Put a piece of Nexcare First Aid Tape on the thumb of the hand that holds the needle. It is very soft and pliable and molds itself to your thumb – you don’t even feel it. The tape is sort of cushioned and rubbery and it grips the needle tightly making it easy to pull through the fabric.
I have tried those “finger gloves” and I could never get used to them. This tape is really “invisible” – I just don’t notice it.
I have used the other tape – 3M Transpore - for years on the tip of the pointer finger of my left hand – to avoid poking a bloody hole in the tip of my finger. I MUST feel the needle go through the fabric and touch my finger. I hand piece and take very small stitches and if I can’t feel the needle go through both layers of fabric I may very well just be going through one layer. The Transpore protects the fingertip but isn’t intrusive – it has little pores and feels like thick skin.
I have tried many types of fingertip protectors: thimbles, stick on circles, stick on ovals, and I find that all of them are too thick, too slick, too hard and the needle slips off. I like to feel that tiny “bite” on my skin so I know I have sewn through both layers of fabric. You know where it is your needle hits – you probably have a callous or a raw spot – put a tiny square on that spot. When it wears through – change it.
Excuse the grubby tape – it’s been around awhile and has picked up a lot of lint.