Blue Fingers Are Happy Fingers!

by Shelly Stokes, Founder and Creative Mentor
Bar line

No, I have not totally lost my mind. Blue fingers really are happy fingers. And if you must know, it’s because Susan Cleveland says so — and she’s right!

Susan Cleveland (another crazy lady from Minnesota) and I had a little confab in my hotel room during Quilt Festival a few weeks ago. Susan wanted to see my big project, and I was happy to indulge her curiosity.

She took one look at all of the stitching on the panels and said, “Are your fingers falling off yet?” We had a good laugh and then I told her that I can only stitch until I get these weird sensations in my right hand. It’s almost like an electrical charge.

In typical Susan fashion, she looked at me and said something to the effect of “You need blue fingers!” Okay, I thought… blue fingers. What in the world?

happy-hands-Bohin-finger-tips (small)Someone in Susan’s family is a physical therapist and she had some really good information to share. When we are stitching, it’s the PULLING motion — pulling the needle through the fabric — that causes the pain in our hands. It’s not from pushing the needle. Susan suggested (make that insisted) that I get myself right over to the vendor hall and get a couple of rubber finger cots from Bohin.

So, off to the vendor hall I went. Thankfully, the Bohin company had a booth and I was able to try on the different sizes. My hands are pretty big, so I chose the large size. I am now the proud owner of blue fingers. Or at least blue rubber finger cots. Close enough.

Better yet, they work! Let me show you.


Here I am, ready to stitch. I have one of the Bohin finger cots on my index finger and a ThimblePad on my middle finger.


Without the finger cot, I have to grip my needle firmly to pull it though the fabric. The heavier the thread, the more I have to grip.


With the finger cot, I can pull the needle through with almost no effort. Can you see how my hand is more relaxed? It was a little bit awkward at first, but I love it. I have done a couple of long stitching sessions and have had no shooting pains in my hands. Woohoo!


The other things I keep nearby are a small pair of really sharp scissors (Kai) and a precision angle tweezer (Famore) for picking out stitches.

My needle threader disappeared sometime during my trip, so it’s time to get a new one. You’ll have to let me know which is your favorite so I can order one and add it to my toolbox.


For tweezers, check out the Famore website.

For Bohin finger cots, Kai Scissors and ThimblePads, visit the Sewing Notions page at


  1. Kim M. Harrington on November 20, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I need the blue fingers too! I will go and look for them at my local shop. Thank you for the tip!

    • Shelly on November 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      You’ll love them, Kim. If you do a lot of hand stitching or quilting, the finger cots really take the strain off your hand.

  2. Maxine R. Lee on November 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Shelly, I have a suggestion about another blue thing to use. That is, if the eye of the needles you work with are large enough, a supple of floss threaders is a handy thing to have in your tool kit, especially when you’re traveling and might have easy access to a JoAnn’s.

    • Shelly on November 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Hmmm… someone else sent me a picture of dental floss threaders. Wanna bet it’s the same product repackaged?

  3. Jann on November 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    My most favorite needle threader is the one made of metal with a small size hook one on one end and a large one on the other side. Since I use large eye needles for most of my work it is wonderful with my embroidery needles. Number two favorite for smaller needles is my old clover stand up needle threader. I understand they have a newer model that has a small eye threader on one side and a large eye on one threader on the other side. If mine ever break I will get the new one, in purple of course.

    • Shelly on November 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Some of my stitching friends have that blue threader, Jann. I think it is from DMC, but I’ll have to ask. I need to check with my local shop to see what she has.

  4. Marilyn Spencer on December 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I have the same problem… eager to try the Bohib finger cots! Another thing, that I have learned to use, is a small pair,as in electrical/jewelery making pointed pliers. They make really difficult to pull through items much easier..I especially like the when hand quilting/pulling thru multilayers.