Friday, August 19, 2011

Cleaning the Quilting Chair

This is one aspect of cleaning that I think most people don't think about.  Cleaning the quilting chair.  I am not talking about the seat or the back or arms of the chair, but the wheels.  I clean mine about every 3 or 4 months. 

So you don't think about your wheels?  I suggest you stop right here and check them out.    You will be absolutely amazed at what you are going to see in there!

I will tell you how to clean them and what you will need to do so.  I can't tell you how to stop this from happening.  It is a by product of what we do.  We use thread, batting, material.  And our wheels pick up everything we use, like little round dark hard sponges.

Here is one of my before wheels.  It is not the worst one even.  But let's start with that one.

These are the tools of choice for me.  A small but sharp pair of scissors.  I like these because they have long but thin blades.  Did you know that in New Orleans where I grew up my grandmother would put a pair of scissors under your pillow if you could not sleep well.  I guess it was supposed to help you sleep somehow.  It is a wonder my hand is still intact, I sleep with my hand under my pillow.  But I digress. 

A small but sharp pair of scissors with long thin blades.  A pick of some sort.  And some gripping tweezers.

Here is the second wheel I was working on.  There are five wheels on my chair, not sure why five is an improvement over four, but I have not fallen over in it yet.  Maybe that is why.

Take your small scissors and clip away as much of the detritus as you can.  Use your excellent tweezers to pull the thread masses out and away from the wheel.  My wheels never come apart but they do come off the chair so I did that to make myself more comfortable.  Of course DiNozzo had to get his nose in there to "help" me.  I moved him out about three times, finally gating myself in the room alone. 

This is one of the remaining wheels.  See the batting in there?  How did I get batting in the wheel well?  No wonder my chair was not rolling well.

At some point you will need to get the big guns out.  Here are my big bubba thread pulling apparatus.  Aparati?  Aparatuses?  Flat nose pliers and needle nosed pliers.  Did you know that a pliers is a lever joined at a fulcrum?  And that pliers were used even before 3000 BC?  But I digress.  

Use your big guns to grasp and pull parts of the thread and batting mass from the wheel wells.  You will need all your tools, the bigs and the littles, to complete this task so don't put anything away just yet.  Continue working the thread mass by loosening with the pick, clipping with the scissors,  pulling with the pliers, and picking with the tweezers.  Do this for several more hours because you have a chair with five wheels. 

Here is a partially done wheel.  When you get to this point you will have to work patiently and carefully.  You will think you are winning, but you are not winning yet.  This requires a steady hand so don't go starting to pour your favorite adult beverage either.  Use your pick to loosen the fibers from the wheel shaft.  Use your scissors to clip what you can.  If your points are small on those scissors you can get way down into the mass and do some good clipping action.  This also goes for your tweezers.  If the points are meeting and actually gripping they will be your best friend here. 

Sometimes all you get is a single thread, but it is really a good thing.  If you can get just one more, you are ahead of the end game. 

This wheel actually looks clean and you will be tempted to stop here.  Yes, you can still see threads in there!  But if you spend just a few more minutes getting the threads out of the axle you will be rewarded with a chair that literally flies across the room with just a minimum of effort!  I did that and ran smack dab into my ironing board.  Luckily when the iron landed in my lap it had not been on.

Aha!  Clean at last.  You too can have five wheels looking just like this one. 

Look at this thread mass. My mother would call it a rat's nest. I really don't think my hair ever did look like that, but that is what she would tell me all the time.

That thread mass is reward in itself.  Look at the colors in there.  And the pieces of fabric.  I'll bet you don't even remember all those fabrics.  Is that ribbon in there too?  Wow.

 I love having a big mass of work product to show for all my effort.  Show yours when you get it done!

Happy Wheel Cleaning!


  1. Love your tutorial Glen - they could take a lesson from you at my local big fabric stores! those carts almost always have wheels that don't spin because they're clogged with detritus, as you say. I do similar maintenance on my Dyson vac - I have long-haired daughters,and two dogs, and I need to periodically "operate" to remove all of that hair. Give your doggies a scratch and a hug from me!

  2. Boy! what a bummer of an idea, when what I wanted to do was get started on SEWING.

    OK, OK, I'll try turning my chair upside down and sitting on the floor [who's going to help me Up again?] with my "instruments of torture/surgery". Is this going to be fun?

    Guess I'll set my timer for 15 minutes and see if I stop when it goes off.

  3. do you know if you wait long enough the wheels eventually don't turn?? ROFL Instead of heavy duty tools, its almost easier to buy a new chair!


I love to hear from friends! Thanks for leaving a message!