Thimbles On Wheels attends the
             Thimble Collectors International 20th Biennial Convention
                                    Niagara falls, New York, U.S.A.                                     
                                 7 September - 10 September 2016

Thimbles On Wheels
joined the Thimble Collectors International 20th Biennial
in Niagara Falls, New York, September 7 through September 10, 2016, hosted
by the Empire State Thimble Collectors (ESTC).  
As usual, everyone attending utilized
"wheels" in one form or another to arrive.

Saying that “it was a great venue and a good time was had by all” just doesn’t seem to
adequately cover the event.  In the olden days we had up to 400 attendees at a convention
- these days our entire membership is around 400, so the 160 attendees this time wasn’t

So many people asked about Kit and said to tell her they said “Hello” that I couldn't keep
track of them all.  So, "Hello Kit" from about half the people there!  You were missed.

Tuesday before the convention was the
TCI Board Meeting, of course, and I'm happy to
report that for the first time in the history of TCI we were finished by noon!  A luncheon for
the Board Members and the Convention Host Committee followed.

So with the afternoon free a few of us decided we wanted to walk over to Canada.  We
asked if walking was an option and everyone said "sure, it’s only two blocks".  Ok, it actually
was only two blocks - TO THE BRIDGE - which was about a mile long (just kidding, but it
felt like it).  Luckily, Irene had given us some leftover passes she had purchased which
allowed us to catch a Trolly after we got there.  It was beautiful and HOT!  Almost died from
the heat before we got back, but what an adventure. The Falls are breathtaking and photos
don’t do justice to the sheer majesty and awesomeness of all that water.  And the noise!    
(see YouTube clip above) Later during the convention, we went across into Canada again in a
car.  Much easier that way.  We found several “smashed penny machines” on those trips.

Wednesday was
“Tour” day. There were several buses, each with a guide. Our particular
bus guide was a very interesting gentleman who also works as a tour guide on the
"Underground Railroad" tour, so he talked to us about that as well.  Near the restaurant
where we had lunch, the Freedom Crossing Monument is located on the bank of the
Niagara River in Lewiston, New York.  It honors "the courage of fugitive slaves who sought
a new life of freedom in Canada, and the local volunteers who protected and helped them
on their journey across the Niagara River."   

We took a walking tour through the Darwin D. Martin House Complex in Buffalo New York,
designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright and believed to be one of his greatest works.  
Now, I'm not into architecture, but that was one of the most awesome places I've ever been
through.  It had been abandoned, partially destroyed and deteriorating for years until
restoration and reconstruction started a few years back.  The project is almost finished and
the complex brought back to its original glory.  Look it up on the Internet for more

Business Meeting Wednesday night went well; new dues structure explained and passed;
website conversion explained, etc.   
Awards were presented:  Jean Scott (not present)
was the winner of the
Myrtle Lundquist Academic Award, given for scholarship, research,
and sharing same with other collectors.
Mary Craft was the winner of the Ruth Mann
Service Award
, given for work to promote and enhance the goals of TCI.

Thursday’s first program was
"Beginners Seminar,"  followed by "The Thimbles of Felix
by Marilyn Chesnutt.  Marilyn’s program was the result of many years of research
on this subject.  It was fascinating and very informative, on a subject about which many
people know very little.  She has agreed to donate to the rental library.  You’re gonna want
to rent this one!

Fiber Arts Fashion Parade was wonderful as usual, with beautiful entries modeled by
beautiful ladies; followed by the
Auction presided over by our favorite auctioneer, Rev. Ed
Green (with his customary jokes).  I’m happy to report that TCI made a nice profit from the

Friday morning brought the
Sales Mall.  What can I say about the Sales Mall, except to
paraphrase Will Rogers by saying “I’ve never seen one I didn’t like!”  Wonderful things as
far as the eye could see!  They should have issued bibs to everyone entering, due to all the
drooling that was done.  Everyone left with lighter pocketbooks and heavier bags.

Friday afternoon's program was
"Religious Women & Sacred Symbols" by Mary Ann
, who worked for many years as an escort for a Christian tour company and found
thimbles in many countries.  The result is a great program which she has also agreed to
donate to TCI for rental.

Saturday started with a program by
Dan Walbrun called "My KMcD Adventure" about the
KMcD thimbles with town names on them.  A fantastic program, which Dan as been
researching for years and which is still evolving.  He too will be donating it to TCI.  He has
so far found examples of fifty-eight different cities, and has leads on a few more.  A printed
handout of all those cities was included in the registration packet.

This was followed
Peter Woods of Australia with a program entitled "Isaac Merritt Singer,
His Life, Machines & Other Collectibles"
in which he dressed up as Mr. Singer and
presented the program in "first person" with Peter acting as his “reincarnation.”  The result
was a simply great program which will appear in a condensed form in an upcoming Bulletin,
and afterward will be available for rental including the entire program and all photos.

The next program was by
Carolyn Meacham entitled "Beaded Needlework Tools."  This
consisted of a mouth-watering display of fabulous beaded sewing tools with narrative, which
will also be rentable from TCI. Just beautiful!

Ask the Expert is always interesting and there were quite a few discussions and additional
comments from the floor.

MOP seemed to be larger than usual with all kinds of wonderful things for which to
purchase tickets.  It was housed in the
Hospitality Room with lots of tables for sitting,
relaxing, visiting, and enjoying the goodies provided.  

A new event,
“Sewing Bingo” was played on several occasions in the Hospitality Room,
and elicited much enthusiasm (and noise!) from the participants.  It was thoroughly enjoyed
by all who participated.

A Cheese & Cracker
Reception (with cash bar) was held in the Foyer before the Closing
, with many members in costume.  A lively and fun time was enjoyed, and lots of
photographs taken.  

The last program of the convention was presented during the
Closing Banquet by a paid
Delores Neidlinger Elliott, a leading authority on American Indian beadwork,
specifically the beadwork created by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois).  It was titled
Hundred Years of Iroquois Beadwork"
and showed examples of several different types
of Indian beadwork, as well as many antique photographs of Indian women (in anglo dress)
making beaded "Niagara Falls" souvenirs.  She also passed around a few examples of the
beadwork through the audience so that they could be viewed up close.  Very enjoyable, and
it tied in with Carolyn's previous program.

Another wonderful TCI Convention has come and gone and now we look forward to seeing
everyone again in
Alexandria, Virginia in 2018, hosted by the Capital Area Thimblers
 As we used to say back in the day:  “Be there or be square.” (wink)  Make plans
to join us for another great adventure in the Washington, D.C. area.

In the meantime, perhaps you will be able to attend a TOW meeting near you.  Stay tuned
for notice(s) of the next meeting place(s) and time(s) as they are announced.

Thank you, TCI and The Empire State Thimble Collectors for a great convention!

       Happy Thimble Trails to You…… Until We Meet Again…         
Niagara Falls, New York - 9/7 - 9/10, 2016
welcome to:
Thimbles On Wheels
Photo by Irene Schwall