As I learn more and more about quilting, I have come to a conclusion, it isn't as simple as it seems sometimes. I have found this is particularly true for hand quilting.
I have mentioned before that I get together with a lovely group of ladies once a month at a local hospital to hand quilt. These ladies take great pride in their work and strive to have it be the very best. I admit, I am not the best hand quilter, but I go because I want the experience and I want the knowledge that these ladies are willing to share. They first showed me how to hand quilt, how to rock your needle back and forth to get consistent, easy stitches, how to bury my knots, and how to know where to sew on the quilt.
I have noticed that they all have their preference on what kind of thimble or finger protection they use. I asked a few of them why they use what they use. Generally, it seems that they have one item to push the needle through the fabric and another item that they use to grab the needle to pull it out. Sometimes their preference has to do with how well they can feel things, how thick or thin the thimble is, and how it fits on their fingers.
Some of the products available are metal thimbles, rubber thimbles, half thimbles, and Thimble-It or Thimble Pad. I like to use Machinger's gloves. I have also heard of ladies building up callouses instead of using thimbles. I understand that because I need to be able to feel what I am stitching on. A good alternative for that is using liquid bandaids or painting a few layers of clear nail polish on your skin to protect it.
Here are some pictures of these ladies, sporting their preference.
This is me using my Machinger's gloves. Its not what they are intended to be used for but I like it! I also use the underside of my fingernails to help push the needle through.
Whatever you end up using, it really ends up being a personal choice. Usually people try a few things before they find one that they like. So don't get discouraged if you feel like you are not getting the hang of it.
So give it a try and have fun quilting!