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The Handy Hand Wheel

Molly White

Posted on February 19 2021

The Handy Hand Wheel

Last time we learned about bobbins. This week, we'll take a look at the Hand Wheel (conveniently marked #18 in the diagram below) as part of my ongoing effort to help familiarize you with the various parts of your sewing machine. 

The hand wheel is located on the right side of the sewing machine, and it controls the movement of the take up level and needle. In addition to raising and lowering the needle, it also causes the feed dogs (more on those another day) to move the fabric from front to back, and we also use it for turning corners.  

I asked my "Shop Daughters" to share their thoughts on the trusty hand wheel. Here's what they had to say: 

Karen:

Always turn the hand wheel towards you. If you turn it away from you, the thread will get tangled. 

Kasey:

If you don't trust your foot on the peddle, you can use the hand wheel to go one stitch at a time! 

Kate: 

I use the hand wheel when sewing on thick or bulky fabric to help get through the material and ensure the needle does not break. 

Laura:

I know it's there, and it is your friend. 

(Laura is our shop comedian...) 

Ashley: 

No matter what you're working on, you can use the hand wheel to stop sewing to make sure you get it right! Almost everything can be fixed except for cutting 🙃 

Eliza: 

If your needle gets stuck, turn the hand wheel to unstick the needle.

Lastly, I'll give you a warning of what NOT to let happen around your hand wheel:  If you store extra spools or bobbins on the extra Spool pin or Bobbin winder spindle,  DO NOT let the thread hang down around the hand wheel. The tread might start collecting around the inside of the handwheel and cause the wheel to tighten up and make a BIG UGLY MESS. Trust me! It has taken me several times having to cut the thread out of the hand wheel to learn my lesson.

How do you use your hand wheel? Let us know if you have additional tips or advice!

And if there's a certain part of your sewing machine you'd like to know more about, please let us know, and we'll be happy to opine! 

Share your thoughts and comments with us at chateausew@gmail.com.

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