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 😉



13 responses

14 01 2013

I have often wondered about the diameter of all the thread posts/spindles on the SS and bobbin winder (mine is the new style, but your directions and hints have application in some of my procedure, also). It is a mystery why some things are the way the are when their oft repeated mantra is “Created by quilters for quilters”……..I have several suggestions for changes that would make the whole set-up more user-friendly AND more “body” friendly! Ex: the foot control configuration would be much more comfortable during use if it was larger/longer as is the control for my Juki…..which is awesome!!! And, at no time, does it slip forward during use!!!! Got the overlay a couple of days ago. Have secured the front edge with small Q-Snap strips I happened to have from a small rectangular Q-Snap frame I had purchased back in my hand quilting days. Haven’t done any quilting on SS since, though, so can’t report. My LED light ring was defective from the vendor…….why didn’t HQ, or my dealer, catch it?????? Only about 6 or 7 of the LEDs had long enough little metal connectors to even reach into the connection. All the rest were almost flush with the square frame!!!!!!! There’s no way these could have been working at any time! HQ has some serious vendor quality control issues (along with final assembly QC issues!!). There are so many good things about the machine it is sad that there are so many other things that require some type of change-out/fix.

26 02 2014
Olga Roth

I’m having trouble with spongy thread on the bobbin, sometimes tangled. Is it possible to adjust the tension? The instruction sheet supplied with the S/16 is so vague & nonsensical ( – printed in Asia!)
Regards, Olga

26 02 2014

Hi Olga

There are several different types of bobbin winders so without knowing yours I can’t tell you definitely what’s wrong. However spongy bobbin indicates that the tension is too loose. On the CuTex example above you have to thread the thread through the top hole, then make sure it’s flossed between the tension disks, and then any changes you make to the tension dial should apply. Turn it to the right to tighten, to the left to loosen.

26 02 2014
Olga Roth

Thank you. I have the CuTex one that you have. I think the thread is slipping out from between the discs as I have not been holding on to the cone at commencement of winding, + will see if there’s any fluff caught in between them. The tension dial doesnt seem to make any difference as I can hear the ratchet clicking, but I think its not connecting. Work in progress here, but will let you know how I go.

11 09 2014
Karen Melendez

Hi, can I ask you where did you purched !! Im needing to buy one asap !!!

Thank you

12 09 2014
Olga Roth

Sorry to take so long in getting back to you, Karen. I have had many family issues so perhaps by now you have already purchased one? I live in the Redlands shire in Brisbane, Australia and this is where I got mine and am very happy with it, although I dont do massive amunts of quilting.
Cheers! Olga

12 09 2014
Karen Melendez

Thank you so much Olga !!! I live in USA and I can’t find it here 😦

Thank you again for taking the time to answer my question.

Have a great day !!!!

12 09 2014
Olga Roth

If you like, google “Pleasuresew” in Capalaba, Brisbane, or “Bayside Stitchcraft” in Cleveland, Brisbane. The owners of both businesses are very helpful and will have many contacts, one of whom surely, may be of assistance. I know this is a very roundabaout way.
All the best, Olga

12 09 2014

Hi Karen

My bobbin winder came with my machine — it wasn’t a separate purchase. You could try calling Handi Quilter direct in the US.


12 09 2014
Karen Melendez

Yes I will !!! That’s a great idea !!!

Thank you 🙂

2 12 2017
Robyn McGain

Thank you this was sooo useful: explained so clearly: I now have perfect bobbins😁

24 12 2020

Hi, I’m curious, are you still using this Bobbin Winder?
Do you still like it?

24 12 2020

Hi John

Rarely to never. I switched to using Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbins several years ago. Have never had a problem with winding bobbins or bobbin thread tension since!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: