Members of THIMBLES ON WHEELS met in New Braunfels, Texas on Saturday,
April 14, 2007.  It was Bluebonnet Time in Texas and the bluebonnets and
wildflowers were in full bloom. Quite an amazing sight, even for those who live in
Texas.

In addition to a wonderful meeting (described below), the premeeting events turned
out to be quite unique this time as well.  Those who arrived the day before the
meeting met at the home of Kit and Dick Froebel on Friday evening, where
everyone "played thimbles" and visited.  Oh my, I don't have to tell you how much
fun that was.  Then we all caravaned to a well-known restaurant in the nearby town
of Gruene (pronounced Green) at the Gruene River Grill.  It is housed in a rustic
and charming old building overlooking the Guadalupe River (and near the Gruene
Dance-hall, the oldest continuously operating dance-hall in Texas.)  We opted to sit
indoors, which as it turned out later, was an extremely wise decision.  Just as the
first four of our party of eight were being served, a gigantic storm hit and lightening
knocked out all the power to the cities of Gruene and New Braunfels.  We sat in
total darkness with only cellphones for light since the restaurant had no candles,
until we were told that the rest of the food would not be forthcoming.  "Long story
short" as they say, we finally found our cars in the total blackness and on the way
back to Kit's home, the lights came on again.  Kit was able to whip up a wonderful
meal featuring potroast and home-made bread for those who had not yet eaten.  
What a gal!  The evening was a memorable prelude to our meeting.

On Saturday morning everyone met at the Fire Mountain Restaurant in New
Braunfels where we had a meeting room reserved.  In attendance were:  two
collectors from Humble, TX; two from Park Hill, OK; two from Cedar Creek, TX;
one from Sherman, TX; one from Dallas, TX; one from Mabank, TX; and two from
New Braunfels, TX; a total of eleven enthusiastic collectors.

Mollie Hanna presented an interesting talk about her research on a thimble she
owns which has an emblem on the side representing Royal Neighbors of America,
the female arm of the fraternal organization, Woodmen of the World.  Royal
Neighbors of America is a fraternal benefit society which was formed in 1892 as an
auxiliary of the Woodmen of the World. In 1895 it became a separate organization
offering financial protection, annuities, life insurance and community services for
women. The thimble was sold as a fund raiser and the letters on the logo stand for
Faith, Endurance, Courage, Modesty, and Unity. Amazingly, though this thimble is a
quite rare, there was another member in attendance who also owns one!  Mollie
shared a great deal of interesting and heretofore unknown information she had
found. There is still more research to do.  Thank you, Mollie, and we look forward
to an update!

Mary Craft gave a PowerPoint program entitled "Donkey Thimbles and Sewing
Tools" (a.k.a. "Mary's Astoundingly Asinine Thimble Program" and along with
thimble slides, gave a humorous narration of how her acquisition of a pet donkey
named Rudy gave rise to a collection of donkey thimbles and sewing tools.

Liz Fiscus described and demonstrated how to make ceramic thimbles.  She even
brought her kiln for us to see.  She also brought a thimble mold into which she
poured liquid "slip" and after a few minutes actually unmolded a thimble before our
eyes!  She showed all the tools she uses, and gave us a step-by-step narration of
the process of how a thimble is made by pouring, multiple firings, painting and
glazing.  She brought along many examples of thimbles she's made and painted,
and they were all beautiful.  It was an extremely interesting talk and everyone
enjoyed it.  Thank you Liz!

Kit Froebel spoke briefly about two recently published articles featuring thimbles, to
which she contributed.  She showed us the cover article in  ANTIQUE WEEK,
Central Edition, January 2007, by Judy Penz Sheluk, which featured large color
pictures of thimbles on both the front and back covers.  Several of the pictures and
descriptions were attributed to Kit, and she was also quoted in the informative text.

Basically the same text was used for an upcoming article in ANTIQUE
COLLECTORS SHOWCASE, a slick Canadian magazine published by Ms. Sheluk.  
The article is entitled SEWING CIRCLE Collecting Thimbles From Around The
World, and appears in the May issue. It features Kit's color pictures and
descriptions of twenty-one thimbles from her collection.  Both of the articles will be
accessible in July on Kit's web site:
http://thimblescope.com.

"Show and Tell" followed and everyone brought so many wonderful things to show,
including a group of six antique thimble holders shaped like eyes.  Well, actually
they were shaped more like tatting shuttles and they open when you squeeze them
from the ends.  Some were beaded, some decorated with ribbon embroidery, etc.,
all very old and fragile.

One member brought an extremely rare set of six Meissen thimbles, custom made
and painted at the Meissen factory only by special order, decorated with scenes
from "Tales From The Arabian Knights."

Another collector brought an unmarked crystal thimble with a Parrot on top for
identification.  Lots of photos were taken and many emails flew around the world in
the following week culminating in solving the mystery. The thimble was made by
Swarovski Crystal and is an example of only six thimbles ever made by that
company, all with birds, and none of which bear the Swarovski swan mark.

All of the "Show and Tell" items were interesting and the above are only a sample
of the array of things shown and discussed.

Then we had lunch from the restaurant's enormous buffet.  Two salad bars, at
least a dozen different entrees, a grilled meat bar, a bread bar, a dessert
bar.....way too many choices.  Really wonderful food and we all ate too much.

About 2pm we ended the meeting at the restaurant (we had almost overstayed our
welcome) and went back to Kit's house and continued visiting. It seemed almost
everyone there had a new camera and we all played with them and discussed the
merits of each and demonstrated how we take thimble photos.  We also
experimented with Mary's new collapsible photo/light cube.

As the day began to fade, reluctantly people began to bid farewell, though we had
not discussed nearly all we wanted.  So much to share, so little time. . . .

We hope to see you all in Chicago in June and continue where we left off.
New Braunfels, TX  - 4-14-07
welcome to:
Thimbles On Wheels