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Monday, November 9, 2009

SideWinder Bobbin Winder: Pros/Cons

The Wrights' SideWinder Portable Bobbin Winder has been on the market for sometime and you may even own one.  I've heard from some people that love it, some that have it and just don't use it, some that don't like it and some that are curious.  While skeptical, I wanted to check out this product to understand the pros & cons.  Is this just another gadget, or is the Wrights' SideWinder Portable Bobbin Winder something I'd want to use, and ultimately I'd want to give as gifts and recommend to others?

Wrights' promotional material emphasizes that the benefits of this product is that this product is a freestanding machine that allows sewers, quilters and crafters to wind the bobbins needed for their projects without having to unthread and re-thread their sewing machines.

- allows you to keep sewing, doing machine embroidery, while your SideWinder winds bobbins for you.
- light weight, making it a delightful tool to take with you on retreats, workshops or sew-cials.
- stores easily, consuming little space.
- reasonable price
- delightful tool to have at a workshop or sew-cial, as it is a great tool to share.  Of course, those that try it may find they want to buy their own!

- Not a product that you can simply snap in a bobbin & thread and get a bobbin wound successfully (but you can't do that on your sewing machine either).  To clarify, it isn't more difficult than doing on your own machine (to some degrees easier), I'd just like to see a Buzz Light Year type of device that you simply snapped in an empty bobbin and a spool of thread and the two automatically connected.
- may not work on all bobbins, or from my perspective may not work the same way on all bobbins.   E.G. I found some bobbins may be more sensitive, but I also found that simple tricks of placing a finger lightly next to the thread may help to add approrpiate tension, or act as a guide.    But then, will a Buzz Light Year type bobbin winder be invented in my lifetime?
- For the Wrights' SideWinder, certain brands of thread seems to jump up & down on the spindle, but you can apply a light pressure with your finger to hold it steady, if you are concerned.
- Some users may not be happy with results, when the problem is that they are winding bobbins in battery mode and the battery is low.  I must admit I was originally one of these users and originally thought my bad experience was due to the product, when in fact it was due to a low powered battery.  

Additional Insights:
- If using under batter operated mode, be sure your battery is fully charged.  Problems that I initially experienced proved to be related to a battery that was old. 
- The tension knob is a feature many SideWinder Bobbin users overlook.  Tweaking the tension knob is needed for various threads, to get a good bobbin fill.  It is also something that can loosen in shipment, so it may need to be adjusted when you first take your SideWinder out of the package, or when you transport it to workshops or sew-cials.
- Watch closely as you fill your bobbins.  Be sure bobbins are loading tightly and don't let them over fill.  To keep the bobbins winding (if they stop to early, you simply need to press the button to start the winding process).  If you think your bobbins are overloading, you simply need to release the lever that senses the amount of thread on your bobbin.
- Take advantage of the SideWinder portable bobbin design, by getting into the habit of prewinding bobbins while watching tv, having coffee, or doing various activities besides sitting in front of your sewing machine!  Accept the fact that learning to really enjoy the benefits of ownging a SideWinder Bobbin Winder means you need to make a few behaviour changes, to increase your productivity!
- I've heard that their may be problems with Viking bobbins, but I was not able to test.   From my observations, it is important to keep an eye on tension as the bobbin is being wound.  While there may be be any tension settings, you can control by lightly pressing a finger on your spool of thread.  You may also want to place a finger near your bobbin, being wound, to help guide the thread on the bobbin.  You may also want to try running the thread around the outside knobs, designed to store spools of wound bobbins.  I found that wrapping thread around these knobs helped with tension and spool wobble.  But the most important aspect of successfully winding a bobbin with the sidewinder is following the directions (e.g. direct the thread thru the appropriate guides). 

I've heard that there have been some problems with Viking bobbins, but I wasn't able to test them.   Wright's press info shows that "The Sidewinder" works for most, but not all bobbins.

My conclusion:  The Wrights SideWinder is really a delightful gadget that can help increase the productivity of sewing, quilting and embroidery enthusiasts.  It is lightweight, durable, and a device that is easily shared with others when attending retreats, workshops, sew-cials.  It just takes a little change in mindset, in that it is ok to keep working on your project while your SideWinder winds your bobbins. And it is really much easier to turn on your SideWinder, to wind bobbins, without having to turn on your sewing machine.  Ultimately, I'm finding that the SideWinder can help me be far more productive than I had ever thought this product would  As such, I must admit I think the SideWinder is delightful product and I also think it would make a fantastic gift for any sewing, quilting, or embroidery enthusiast.

For myself, I think I could easily get hooked to winding bobbins while my machine is busy doing machine embroidery stitch outs, or simply winding bobbins while I don't even have my machine nearby (e.g. at a lecture, while watching tv, etc.).

And I do recommend the Wrights' SideWinder for a Christmas gift, or a delightful gift for you to enjoy!.
If you have experience with the Wrights' SideWinder, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this product.

You can also purchase the Wrights' SideWinder online at:  http://www.simplicity.com/


Jules @ MoonCat Farms said...

I'm really glad you posted this review.

Mom spied one of these awhile back and decided she wanted one, but didn't get it. I have been going back and forth on getting her one.

I think I will go ahead and get it for her as we have a lot of sewing planned during her recovery!

Beena said...

My Mom has one of these, and loves it.

Considering how many bobbins I peel through when I'm machine quilting, I thought I'd get one...but I already have a more expensive version of the product that I bought for my long arm...(and still haven't used that bobbin winder or the long arm)!

I still may get one of these at some point. So thanks for the helpful review!

Anonymous said...

Great post- very educational. Thank you so much.

Kim D. said...

I have one of these sidewinders and I think it really helps on the wear and tear on your machine engine. Why not use the sidewinder and save on your expensive machine. I love mine.