Monday, December 3, 2012

My Little Weekender





Almost as soon as I learned about sewing machine frames and quilting machines I began researching and ultimately bought a small machine called a Weekender made by  Hinterberg.  I chose this machine because I thought it would do the required work AND it was the only one I could afford.  That was around 2007.

I have continued to use this small setup with  no problems.  This past week I was within inches of completing a new piece when I began to have a big issue with breaking thread and after checking all the things that usually cause thread to break I called the customer service at Hinterberg.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Hinterberg has been bought out by Nolting and the Hinterberg line of quilting machines is no longer beinf manufactured.  I do believe Nolting is still making the quilting frames Hinterberg is known for.  Nolting is providing limited assistance to owners of Hinterberg's machines.  As to my thread breaking issue the technician simply suggested I continue checking the usual things for breaking thread. While doing that I found an even more disturbing issue.







If you look carefully at the above detail of this machine you can see the gradated dip in the front of the machine which guides the thread down to the hooks above the needle.  Notice this dip does not have a metal shield or plate but is covered in the same "powder coating" that is on the entire machine body.  Bad decision Mr. or Ms. Designer.  That coating is evidently very soft and on the edge where the thread goes into the thread guides on the needle shaft, there were dozens of cuts.  The edge looked like the teeth of a comb.  This is a example of someone saving a tiny portion of a penny by not covering that edge with metal and creating a problem for many people who bought this machine.  


The technician assured me these cuts would not cause my thread to break (really???) but I have a hard time believing that.  He also told me that he had heard this complaint from numerous other Hinterberg machine owners.  I decided I needed to try and put something over these teeth that would allow the thread to run smoothly down to the needle.  Prepare yourself for some authentic home repair.




The picture may be difficult to understand but if you look closely you can see a strand of thread against the red duck tape.  The thread comes down the face of the machine, under the screw eye then through and over the bottom of the screw eye.  It then makes a nice soft turn over the edge of the screw thus avoiding the damaged part of the edge and into the guides which feeds it to the needle.  My repair isn't pretty but it works.  I've decided not to use glue but leave the tape to test this over time.  

Just for fun I looked online to see what the current prices are for quilting machines and I can promise you I won't be buying one.  The machines are fabulous but the prices are out of site.  Think "the price of a modest car".  So while I'm sorry about the powder coating and small size of my machine, it's still the only one I'm likely to ever own. I will continue to figure out how to get the most out of this little machine.

I would like to mention that the larger size of this machine, the Voyager, is still being sold by Nolting.  These machines are refurbished and I believe they were a modest $2,400 which is a very modest price when compared to other equipment of that size.  Despite the issue I described in this article, I do recommend these machines as strong sewing and dependable.  As long as Nolting is providing a warranty which includes advice and service.  I'm guessing they are accepting Voyagers as trade-ins when customers buy one of their new quilting machines.

One more thought....when I first researched quilting machines there were several being manufactured by small privately owned businesses rather than large companies.  They were not as "polished" looking but they were less expensive.  I wonder if any of those folks are still around.

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17 comments:

  1. very clever fix! how did you get the screw eye to sit far enough out from the body so the thread can go behind the top edge without catching?

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    1. Crude but effective ;-) If you look closely at the picture with the red oval, there is a "dent" in the face of the machine which acts as a guide for the thread. This dent allowed just enough room to run the thread behind the screw-eye. I had to put the thread in a needle, drop the needle behind the screw-eye and then fish the thread out and over the bottom edge. This procedure made me think of the chimpanzee using a stick to nab a banana. Awkward but satisfying. xo, T

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  2. You are a rock star. What a way to "MacGyver" a solution.

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  3. I believe that artists hav the minds of engineers - how else do we figure out how to do what we do??

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    1. I agree Aryana. As to our work, I know our audience often misses the subtle solutions we have to devise....but there isn't anything subtle about my example of engineering. I hope I'll be able to find something to replace the screw-eye that will be more aesthetically pleasing when I have time to look.

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  4. Brilliant..a little common sense and a feel for the physics of your materials goes a long way. I cooked a "rig" for a specific type of metal thread that my Janome used to like to chew up. Fooled it again!

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    1. I love your description of "cooked a "rig". Any time one of my machines refuses to sew with a particular thread it makes me angry. I figure for the price of today's sewing machine, it should sew barbed wire if that's what I want to sew. Thanks, Deb.

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  5. Just curious, Terry, how much usable space is on your machine? I just bought an old (really old) KenQuilt 622 and purchased a kit to put front handles on it as it, plus the frame, was a price I couldn't turn down. I think the specs say that throat area is 12 1/2" with a usable quilting space o f 6"...not much, but I am not making big quilts these days, and I am tired of manhandling stuff under my domestic sewing machine...in addition to the fact that I want to move the pencil over the paper rather than the paper under the pencil....The stitch on the KQ622 is great, even if there is no regulator, and the frame is made like the foundation to a bridge. Frankly, with the prices of new ones I want it to make coffee and donuts in addition to sewing. (or tea and crumpets if you prefer).

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    1. Hi Lisa. My machine has 5" x 10" but I have been able to quilt pieces as long as 85" without an issue. It sounds to me that you got a good deal especially if it makes a nice stitch. I have a stitch regulator and sometimes I use it and sometimes not depending on what I am doing. Please let me know how this works out for you. I agree 100% about the coffee and donuts! I suppose the added costs is due computerization of this otherwise old technology but it really puts a strain on lots of people to participate.

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  6. Way to go, Terry! Excellent solution! I think many times it's the "homemade" solution that works the best. And I love your red duck tape -- perfect for the season... Marcia

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    1. Hey Marcia! Thanks for the kind comments. After I did the "repair" it did occur to me that I could have at least used white duck tape as I had some but maybe you're right. It gives things a seasonal flair ;-) xo, T

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  7. Duct tape to the rescue. It's all going on and it's all good. Ingenious.

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    1. See what I mean Dale! Duck tape should be in every woman's purse, tool box etc. Doesn't it make you feel more powerful? xo, T

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  8. If you decide you want something more permanent, and want to "glue" it on use one of the little eye's that come on fishing poles. I once saw someone replace the open end thread guides that come on a longarm with a fishing pole eye so the thread wouldn't pop out. (maybe a blob of 3M blue tacky stuff could replace glue to try it out too! Course this depends on how much you love the red "accent" of duct tape on your machine- GRIN!

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    1. Thanks Mechelle. I do want to apply a better and more permanent solution. I tried to purchase one of the items for fishing poles that you mentioned but haven't found them as yet. I also spent time looking on the web for a replacement thread guide but no luck as yet. I think my red duck tape must be making people's teeth grind but I was happy to be able to do something that allowed me to complete the work I was doing. Maybe I should add some holly and a bow ;-) Merry Christmas!!

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    2. Hi Terry, sent you an email w/some links and other ideas!! :)

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    3. Thank Mechelle! My husband found some of the eyes for fishing poles and I'm going to try to put one of those on this morning. I'll be looking for your email and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

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