bobbin winder

Know Your Bobbin Winder

March 11, 2023


Starting with a well wound bobbin is essential for good results when quilting. That’s why you need to know how to operate your Handi Quilter bobbin winder. It’s a great machine that will provide you with perfect bobbins every time, when you get it set up correctly. Handi Quilter offers 2 types of bobbin winder, one that comes exclusively with the Moxie machine and the other comes with all other HQ longarm machines. We will start with the standard bobbin winder.



First, download and READ the manual. You can find it here. Scroll down til you get to the Machine Accessories and Software section. That’s where you’ll find the bobbin winder manual. Here are the parts of the bobbin winder you need to be familiar with:

Next, watch the excellent video by our UK distributor, Pinhole Quilting, about the HQ bobbin winder. Liz Holpin explains how to set up your bobbin winder and the best way to wind bobbins.

Important points:

Set up

The thread mast loop needs to be directly above the thread post.

The pig tail thread guide needs to be at the bottom of the thread mast and slightly to the left of the tension dial. Straight out from the front face of the bobbin winder is the perfect placement. The tiny hex tool included is used to tighten this guide into place. Be sure to keep it in a safe place where it won’t get lost! Taped to the bottom of the bobbin winder with some painter’s tape is a great place for it. The pig tail guide will need to be tightened from time to time.


Make sure to push the bobbin all the way onto the post each time for consistent winding.

The manual says to make the thread go clockwise around and between the tension disks (#3).

A better way is to go counter-clockwise around and between the tension disks. This assures that the thread will not pop out from the disks and you’ll always get a nice firm bobbin. Follow the red line

Use the speed selector to control how fast the bobbin winds. I keep mine at about 5-7. Too fast, and you might stretch the thread as the bobbin winds. This can result in splayed bobbins. The sides of the bobbin should be straight and parallel to each other. With a splayed bobbin, the sides curve outward. This can cause all sorts of issues. If you have one, throw it away!


Adjust the sensor assembly so that the bobbin winds to approximately 80% full. Use the embossed white line to set how full the bobbin will get before it stops automatically.

Adjust the tension knob so that the bobbin is firm, not spongy (too loose tension), and not rock-hard (too tight tension).

To achieve evenly wound bobbins, adjust the position of the tensioner using the thread tracking adjustment knob at the back of the base, directly behind the tension dial. You really don’t have to stand  and use your finger to direct the thread back and forth so that your bobbin fills evenly. Turn the knob clockwise to move the thread tensioner closer to the base, or counter-clockwise to move it farther away. No more bobbins with a bunch of thread on one side and hardly any on the other!

Over time the split-bolt that is the spindle the bobbin goes onto can get compressed and the bobbin no longer fits tightly on the spindle. Simply take a flat-head screw driver and push between the split to open it up a bit. Problem solved.

Optional Accessory

To wind bobbins from a spool of thread rather than a cone, use your Horizontal Spool Pin. This is an accessory you cannot live without! Use it for quilting with a straight-wound spool of thread at your machine too.

Using these tips should get you perfectly wound bobbins every time!

Next week we will explore the Moxie’s bobbin winder.

Quilt Every Day.


by Mary Beth Krapil









Written by

March 11th, 2023

Starting with a well wound bobbin is essential for good results when quilting. That’s why you need to know how to operate your Handi Quilter bobbin winder. It’s a great […]

15 responses to “Know Your Bobbin Winder”

    • Hi Jami, If you read all the way to the end of the post, you’ll see a post about the Moxie bobbin winder will be coming soon!

  1. I can’t wait for the article on the Moxie bobbin winder. I’ve managed to waste a lot of thread on gnarly bobbins lately, and before that I was getting frustrated because the thread would break every time I pressed start. I think I’ve figured out that I should manually rotate the bobbin a few times to wrap some thread on it before pushing start, and also let go of the thread tail immediately. I seem to get tightly wound bobbins no matter how the tension is set, which is fine.

  2. Hi, I’ve been hanging out for the Moxie bobbin winder blog post this week, but can’t seem to find it. Can you please point me in the right direction.

  3. Great info, thank you so much. Am going to try this as I’ve problems. However, I wish you had an illustration on the way you put the thread through the tension… not sure I get it.

  4. Hi, me again. I tried what I think was your alternative way to put the thread through the tension. I’m using Superior Bottom Line. It’s been a real problem. Your method seemed to be working great…. got about a third of the bobbin wound and it started slowing down, then winding properly, then slowing down. I can see the post where the bobbin is actually just about coming to a stop. I tried loosening the tension, would wind a couple times around and then start doing the stop go thing again. What am I doing wrong? I’d really like to master this. Thank You

    • Hi Donna, Your bobbin should fit tightly on the post. If it’s not tight you might experience what you described. Take a flat head screwdriver and put ti between the 2 pieces of the post on your bobbin winder and press to expand the post slightly. You might have to do this from time to time if your post becomes compressed and the bobbin slips and does not wind. Also, check your auto-shutoff to make sure it is set for the fullness you want for your bobbins.

  5. I bought a very large bottom line spool. Do I need an adapter? It won’t work with my bobbin winder. Thanks

    • Hi Marge, All you need to do is place the large cone on the table next to the bobbin winder and bring the thread up to the thread mast. Make sure nothing impedes the flow of the thread.

  6. Hi, I was wondering if this bobbin winder can be used with L style bobbins also? Want to purchase; but have so many different types of machine and need to find a bobbin winder to work with all of them. Thank you!

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