Using the Handi Quilter Sweet 16 cuTex Bobbin Winder

13 01 2013

I bought my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen just under two years ago. With it came a bobbin winder, which my dealer showed me how to use. The instructions that came with the machine were next to useless…

So here are some instructions for THIS bobbin winder (see picture below). I believe Handi Quilter now supplies a different style bobbin winder with the Sweet Sixteen, so only use these instructions if your bobbin winder is made by cuTex and looks like this:



How to thread the cuTex bobbin winder

See the diagram below for the thread path; you can thread either side of the bobbin winder, just don’t cross thread over from one side to the other.


  1. Pull the thread off the spool and up and through the thread mast.
  2. Poke the end of the thread into the little hole above the tension knob (circled in yellow in the photo above).
  3. Pull the thread you’ve just poked through the hole back towards the spool and ‘floss’ it between the tension disks (the silver part of the tension knob area)
  4. Pull the thread towards the silver spindle (far left in photo above — NOTE: there is no bobbin on this spindle). If you have a bobbin with a slot, poke the thread through the slot, then push the bobbin onto the spindle. If you don’t have a slot on the bobbin, wind the thread around the bobbin several times before pushing it on the spindle – it needs to have a decent grip so the rest of the thread can ‘catch’ on it when you switch the bobbin winder on.
  5. Press the On switch.
  6. Adjust the timer (how much time will depend on how thick the thread is – I tend to have mine set between 9 and 15, but thicker threads will require less as they fill up quicker). You can always restart if the timer stops before the bobbin is full.
  7. Press the Start button and make sure the thread ‘catches’ on the bobbin and starts to fill.
  8. Use your fingers or the back of your hand to feel the tension of the thread coming from the tension disk to the bobbin – it shouldn’t be too tight, but equally it shouldn’t be totally slack either. There should be some ‘bounce’ in the thread tension. If the tension is too tight or loose, turn the tension knob – retest the ‘bounce’ and adjust the tension as required.
  9. Do NOT overfill the bobbin – only fill it to about 80% full, not all the way. If you overfill the bobbin, it will not work correctly in your machine.
  10. Turn the bobbin winder off when you’ve finished, cut the thread near the full bobbin, and remove the bobbin — sometimes the bobbin will be quite tight, so you may need to use a bit of brute force to get it off!

As I tend to use similar weight threads for my bobbins, I only need to tweak the tension a little every so often; otherwise, it’s set and forget.

Other hints:

  • I use the back metal holder on the bobbin winder for some of my spare bobbins — it holds about six (see the top photo).
  •  To stop thread from spooling off the bobbin once it’s wound, I wrap it was a child’s ponytail elastic (see picture below) — I can get a pack of 20 or so from the supermarket for just a few dollars.
  • I keep my already-wound bobbins in a zip-lock bag suspended by a ribbon from the unused thread mast on my Sweet Sixteen — I find it’s easier to keep them there as they are only an arm’s length away (see picture below). Unfortunately, the metal spool holders on the Sweet Sixteen are just a tad too thick for the bobbins — I wonder if they’ll change that in a future design? So many thread spools have different thicknesses in their central cores, I’m surprised HQ didn’t just go for a versatile spool holder thickness that would suit thread spools AND M-size bobbins.

And yes, my Bling Bear (a present from my friend Glenys) watches over me while I quilt 😉

Tenacious plants

13 01 2013

We moved to our current house almost three years ago (3-year anniversary late next month). The gardens were all landscaped with waterwise, drought-resistant plants, and lots of bark mulch in between, but as the retic didn’t work properly for the first month or two (in the hottest part of the summer), some plants suffered and died.

One of these was just a stick in the ground with a few dead twigs for branches. I’d tried to pull it out a few times, but it was stuck fast. It wasn’t in anyone’s way, so I left it where it was, figuring that one day I’d ask my husband to help me pull it out and dispose of it.

Imagine my surprise when I was in that area of the garden the other day (also the middle of summer) and saw some green leaves sprouting on this ‘dead’ stick! I’m not a big gardener, but they look a bit like avocado leaves to me — yum, if they are!

I can’t believe how tenacious this plant is — it’s been dead for three years, and now suddenly it sprouts some leaves! It’s getting no more water than in the previous two summers, and it hasn’t been fertilised. So I have no idea why it decided to spring back to life now. But I’m glad it did.


It’s the one in the foreground with the ‘dead’ stem and the mop top of leaves.

Another tenacious plant is this banksia:


Banksia: BIG tree/plant on the left

Why is it tenacious? Well, it didn’t exist three years ago. I can’t remember when I first saw the tiny seedling pop its head out of the ground, but it was maybe 18 months/two years ago. I didn’t pull it out as it was far enough away from the driveway that it wouldn’t do any damage if it grew a bit. Of course, there are dozens — if not hundreds — of species of banksia in Australia, so I had no idea what this one was nor whether it would become a smallish bush or a decent-sized tree.

Guess what? it’s a decent-sized tree! It’s well over three metres tall, and has had absolutely NO care and attention (except watering via the sprinkler system twice a week in summer). That’s what’s so great about native plants — they just grow in the environments they are native to.

This banksia has even produced some juvenile ‘big bad banksia men’ seed pods, which you can see in the picture below (there are two).


The diameter of the trunk is about two hands-width around, so it’s a pretty decent size. Hopefully it will offer some shade on the driveway as it gets bigger — since our beautiful tuart tree had to be cut down, we’ve had no shade that visitors can park under.

(I just noticed that the picture of the hole where the tuart tree used to be — the last picture on this page — has the banksia in it [far left in that picture]! That picture was taken in June 2012, some six months ago. Boy, the banksia has grown a LOT in that time!)

Update 28 October 2013

Some 10 months later and look at these plants now! The banksia appears to be about 4 metres tall, and the avocado tree is flowering — I hope that’s a good sign! We had a LOT of rain last month, so that’s helped all the plants thrive.



Cheeky chook!

13 01 2013

I was in the garden this morning, and one of the chickens that normally lives in the neighbour’s coop over the back fence was out and about. She came up to the fence, then decided to pop into our yard to see what was on offer, before popping back on to her side of the fence. I wonder how often she does that???


Shall I or shan’t I?




Yes, I think I will


Slim pickings here. I guess I’d better get back to my side of the fence.