by Mary Beth Krapil

Once you have your longarm machine all set up in your studio and you are getting familiar with how to use it, you’ll also want to know how to care for it, so that it continues to run in tip-top shape for many years to come.

Handi Quilter machines require very simple maintenance.

Did you know that quilting is a dirty business? SO much lint! Where does it all come from? Lint is created by the friction of the thread and needle passing through the 3 layers of the quilt sandwich. Lint not only accumulates in the bobbin area of the machine, but also flies through the air and settles on all surfaces.

So follow this schedule to keep things clean:

Every bobbin change:

When you change the bobbin, use the small brush provided, or in the case of the HQ Amara, HQ Forte or HQ Infinity, a small puff of canned air, to clean out the lint from the bobbin area. Also check inside the bobbin case for lint and brush it out if needed.

Once you have the lint cleaned out, place one drop of oil on the bobbin race. This is the ONLY place you will oil your machine.

With every new project:

Clean the tracks and the wheels by taking a small piece ( approximately 3″ x3″) of left over batting and wiping the tracks, both on the frame and on the carriage. Then hold the batting against the bottom of the wheel and move the machine back and forth so that you wipe the entire rolling surface of the wheel. What comes off will be black. The wheels compress the dust on the tracks as they pass over and pick it up. The black gunk is merely compressed lint. At the same time check for threads wrapped around your wheels.

Occasionally (depending on how often you quilt):

Clean the display with a lint-free static-free cloth, like what you would use to clean your computer screen. Don’t use any cleaners, just the cloth is enough.

Dust the body of the machine. If you would like to make a dust cover for your machine, so you can cover your machine while not in use, you can find a pattern here.

Dust the table top and check for threads caught in the blue Pro-Stitcher rack (if you have a Pro-Stitcher).

Once every 2 years or 10 million stitches (which ever comes first)

Schedule a spa treatment for your machine. Either bring it to your local retailer or make an appointment to have them come to you.  This is the required maintenance needed to lubricate the inner parts of your machine. Your retailer’s service technician was trained at Handi Quilter to perform this service and has all of the specific lubricants to use. They will open the machine, clean out any lint and check that all the tolerances, including timing, are within specs and make adjustments if needed. They will re-lubricate the appropriate parts with special long lasting lubricants. Once done, your machine will be in optimal condition and good to go for another 2 years or 10 million stitches.

As you can see, Handi Quilter maintenance is really quite simple. We know quilters would much rather be quilting than having to perform complicated oiling and machine maintenance. You’re welcome!

Now you can go finish more quilts!