Fabric Play: Thimbles and The Lord of the Rings

Over the break during the wee hours of the morning, I watched “The Lord of the Rings” while finishing a small embroidery.  And in between, while Frodo spent hours of screen time drudging through Mordor struggling with that darn ring, I drudged through the internet and discovered these very beautiful Japanese thimbles, called yubinuki.  The whole ring theme seemed apt for this month’s fabric play.

The thimbles below are from the Kaga region of Japan, which is known for its textile work and the making of fine kimonos. In the true spirit of Mottainai, to not let anything go to waste the leftover silk threads were used to make beautifully designed thimbles like those below.

Isn’t it amazing to produce such marvelous embroidery on such a humble item as a thimble.

These thimbles are worn between the second and third knuckle on the middle finger of your stitching hand with the needle pushing against the fabric just like in the illustration below from John Marshall’s book, ‘Make Your  Own Japanese Clothes’.

Of course, I had to give that a try. I found great information with easy to follow instructions on Shishi Girl’s blog here. Of course, the Japanese versions are measured to the millimeter and mine are measured with my failing eyesight, but that’s how I like it.

The “real ones” are built and embroidered around a foundation of rice paper and silk batting, and mine are recycling t-shirts and linen, because that’s what I had on hand. I also didn’t follow the instructions, as you can see below, because mine don’t have any batting and are clearly a peasant version of a true yubinaki. Honestly, it’s even a far stretch to connect the two.

I ended up with very few thimbles, as they do require a bit of trial and error.

I specifically like these beautiful and humble vintage thimbles below found on the Wafu Works blog, a shop and enterprise specializing in vintage Japanese art and textiles. Aren’t these beautiful?

Image (c) Wafu Works

I think they are really more like jewelry. The concept would also work for making bracelets or beads…..ah, the possibilities!

Visit Nahtzugabe to see what else has been played with during this month fabric play.

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13 Responses to “Fabric Play: Thimbles and The Lord of the Rings”

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  1. celinum says:

    It’s a great idea….to watch Lord and to do some small embriodery:D. PS. you’ve got a nice blog:D

  2. frifris says:

    What a beautiful idea. I’ve never seen anything like it (how do you always find these ideas?).
    I really do think this makes for nice jewelry. So many different motifs!

  3. ChaNelke says:

    Simple, unique, beautiful rings…

  4. Lucy says:

    Ja, ich schließe mich an: wie findest du nur immer diese Sachen? Von dieser Technik hatte ich auch noch nie gehört. Mir gefällt ja, dass man dafür kaum Material braucht, eigentlich nur Reste. Und die Ringbasis könnte man ja auch mit anderen dekorativen Techniken verzieren – datun sich unendliche Möglichkeiten auf. Danke für die Idee und schönen Jahreswechsel!
    Lucy

  5. studio215 says:

    Schöne Idee …

    Ma Mercerie http://mamercerie.blogspot.co.at/?m=0 (leider verwaist) hat eine tolle Grundanleitung (mit Bildern) und viele viele Muster.

    BTW es heißt ゆびぬき yubinuki

  6. Sarah says:

    Super cool! I love the thought behind this project and the results are wonderfully wabi-sabi.

    I kind of love the idea of wearing a beautifully decorated thimble as a ring. It’s like a secret weapon, you are always prepared for some sewing!

  7. Suschna says:

    Wow, never saw this before. Reminds me of Xmas-decoration, too. I like your white version the best.

    Toll, was du da wieder gefunden und probiert hast. Ich habe das auch noch nie gesehen. Machst du noch mehr davon? Das wäre so ein tolles Spielfeld. Die Bebrütung hast sich gelohnt, aber wirklich!

  8. mb says:

    what an amazing accessory. Something beautiful and useful. Thank you for sharing it… mb

  9. waltraut says:

    What a beautiful discovery. The vintage rings are gorgeous.I love rings of all sorts and I have a bag full of embroidery yarn. So I really must try this out myselftry this out myself.
    Thank your for sharing.
    I wish you all the best for 2013
    Waltraut

  10. Jessica says:

    These are so gorgeous! Thanks for the link to Wafu Works – I love Japanese craft and design, so it’s great to have a new place to check out. I hope you have a great new year!

  11. Debbie Phillips says:

    Fascinating. Bookmarked the links. This will be the next project I learn, after I complete at least one I am working on now. Thank you.

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