Elementary thimble

 All first-timers get the pink badges, as well as a permission slip to the coolest show at convention.

 The program has become so popular, the organizers have had to limit it to beginners only. So when a pink badge enters the seminar room, a woman who resembles your first grade teacher scrutinizes your badge and checks your name off a list.

 With thumbs and fingertips tingling in anticipation, you sit down next to a woman who looks like your second grade teacher.

 “It has become a tradition to start the programs at a Thimble Collectors International (TCI) Convention by giving new collectors a crash course in thimble language and knowledge,” says the “Thimbling 101” booklet given to all Beginner’s Seminar attendees.

 You begin, as beginners should, with an anatomy lesson. The thimble usually has four basic parts: the top of the thimble is also called the dome or apex; the machine-applied indentations on the outside of the thimble are called knurling and prevent the needle from slipping across the surface; the band beneath the knurling; and the rim at the bottom of the thimble, though not all have rims. Inside the top of the thimble is often the maker’s mark, though some makers place marks on the band. The maker’s mark is sometimes on a cartouche, a shield-like design, usually oval or oblong in form. A tailor’s thimble has an open top so the tailor can feel the material he’s working with.

 You imagine a stout but industrious man (your third-grade teacher) in shirt sleeves caressing a bolt of fine wool with his broad thumbs and work-worn index and middle fingers. Behind his bifocals, his eyes close, and a smile stretches his lips.

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