I've tried a variety of metal and plastic thimbles over the years, but they never felt comfortable so I didn't do very much hand sewing.. or if I did it involved only very short working sessions because I would end up with raw fingers... the finger underneath the project would get pricked and the finger on top trying to push the needle through the project would get poked! I'm sure I have a few old thimbles here and there that I have tried, but I can't find them right now.
About 5 years ago I started an applique quilt... the calendar quilt with various barns by Piecemakers... It was, unfortunately, my first needleturn applique quilt and I struggled along both with the small piece sizes, technique and sore fingers. But I really liked the idea of quilting a picture, so I plugged along... on and off... for most of the year before life got busy and I fell so far behind that all I did was collect the kits and I box them up for another day. I actually completed only one of those blocks with the pieceing and embroidery. I have another seven or eight blocks with all but the tiniest pieces appliqued and none of the embroidery. (sigh)
I've done other applique and handstitched projects since then with much bigger pieces and discovered this leather thimble at one of the quilt shows. I like the elastic-y part that was tight at first but stretched to a more comfortable fit in short order. I would sometimes lay my work down and walk away forgetting I had the thimble on until someone would ask what I had done to my finger!... it became a part of me.
Here's a picture of the working side of it. It is hard to tell in the picture, but this one is about ready to be replaced. It has been getting a lot of use lately as I'm handsewing those Cheddar Bowties. That gray area where I push the needle through is getting worn thin and the needle is starting to poke through to and into my finger. I am hoping it will last me until the next quilt show comes along and I can purchase another one.
Bonnie Hunter is doing a linky thing on her blog today where everyone can show their thimbles and extol their praises... or not. You can read about it here: http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2012/02/its-thimbles-up-monday.html I am heading there now to link up and read your post!