My bobbins arrived this morning. Shiny new ones! Yay!
First task: fill at least one new bobbin with black thread so I could fix my partner’s jeans. His hem had come undone on one side.
Ay – there’s the rub. See the ends of these new bobbins? compare them to the old fashioned ones. Notice how the one with black thread on it (the old bobbin) has a pointy bit, whereas the white-thread one has a rounded end?
This is all well and good until you try to put it into the bobbin winder and it decides it doesn’t want to wind.
Why? Take a look at the bobbin winder (right). If you have really good eyes, you’ll be able to see there’s a little hole or notch right in the centre of the cup thing. That’s where that point sits.
First, my partner got out his dremel to see if he could grind it into a pointier shape. No luck there ( ideally it kinda needs the lathe to do that. We had just started to plan a visit to the hackspace to rectify the bobbins, when we had a few brainwaves)
Maybe raising the friction in the hole could help. I grabbed the first piece of anything cuttable to hand to try. Felt! Cut a small circle of it and put it into the cup. No. Really no. As much as felt FEELS like it should provide a bit of grip, it’s actually kind of just cushions against the rubbing effect of the friction. I kind of knew this anyway, but y’know, it was worth a try.
However, whilst felt pads don’t work, Blu-tac does: a small amount of blu-tac poked into the cup or on the not-so-pointy bit provides just that extra bit of stick needed to make it stay in place. It doesn’t need much – a tiny bit works fine.
Next job: check whether the new bobbins work ok in the machine itself. I tested this by sewing Emil’s jeans-hem. Alice struggled a little with the thick seams ( but to be fair, she was using quite a thin needle as I hadn’t switched to the proper jeans one) but she managed it pretty well. I need to spend a bit more time working on her tension as i haven’t reached the point where I know how much to change it by each time. Naomi changes tension automatically, as did my nan’s old one, so I need to get into the habit of adjusting it again.
This then leads me to wonder why these new-made bobbins are designed so weirdly. I’ve heard theories that they’re actually made for Jones machines. I’m not so sure about that.
In theory, I reckon that these ones actually have better contact with the inside of the bobbin winder than the original ones.
Take a close look at the inside of that cup-shape on the bobbin winder. I actually used a cocktail stick to do this as my fingers are too big. Feel the shape of the dip. There’s no corner inside there really – It almost has a goblet shape. in theory, this means that the slightly convex shape ofthe disks *should* give them a bit more contact with the inside of the winder, which would in theory make them turn better as more contact should give it more grip. The downfall of this is when you look at that point, because that point is what seems to really hold those bobbins in place in the winding mechanism. (note: I drew this out but my computer is being a bit odd and won’t crop my picture properly. Comment if you need a picture and ill put it up dreckly)
I suspect that whoever created the new design was well meaning, and aware that the point was a bit annoying when trying to put the bobbin into the case properly, and that might be the reasoning behind trying to do away with the point. The convex disc was probably an attempt to balance out the lack of pointiness. It’s just a pity it doesn’t seem to have worked as well as hoped.
Oh well, at least the fix is quite easy!
I also received a box of feet for Alice this morning. More on those when Ive had a chance to play with them. they seem rather clever!