I know many of you have been asking about my sewing machine troubles and what has happened since I posted my letter to Husqvarna Viking back in July. You can read the letter here.
Two weeks after I posted this letter to my blog, I got a phone call from the regional manager for my area. She apologized for my inconvenience and offered to give me a brand new Sapphire 835 (the same machine I was having trouble with) in box. All I needed to do was contact my local store and they would have it for me to pick up in a few days. I contacted the store and was met with disbelief in my claim, so I had to call back to the regional manager to ask her to contact the store so I could make arrangements. It took another four weeks and multiple trips up to the store before I got my new machine. I was told the machine would be ready to pick up on three separate occasions when the machine was not actually in store. I needed to trade in my existing machine when I picked up, so all these times not only was a lugging a heavy machine in and out of the store, I also had my daughter with me. The fourth time I was contacted for machine delivery, the machine they had for me was not new in box, as I was promised. It was in a box, but it was NOT new. The box was tore up badly enough for me to want to open it right there in the store. Once opened, I found the manual torn and crumpled, shoved in a space it clearly didn't belong in. The cords were not wrapped well and the styrofoam was damaged. Initially, the new manager (the old manager, Clarrisa, left for a new job opportunity) told me that was how it was supposed to be and that it was, in fact, new in box. I refused the machine and asked for a different one. I left the store again and waited for the next call. When I finally got the call the new machine was in, I opened this one in store as well, just to be sure it was in fact "new". It was in pristine condition, everything as it should be. It was ever more clear that the previous machine was NOT new and the manager apologized for her insistence on the contrary. I made the swap and took the machine home.
I'd been sewing on it for a few months when I decided I needed a reliable machine. This new Viking had the same tension issues as the last, the bobbin thread showing on top no matter how many different ways I changed the top thread tension (since there is no way to change the bobbin tension on this Viking) and the top thread nesting on the bottom at random intervals (though happening most often after the machine had been in use for a while.) I did not have the top thread becoming tangled in the internal workings of the machine this time and there was no loud noise, but it still did not work well enough to be worth the money I paid for it.
I had to stop quilting all Comfort Quilts as the machine would skip stitches and the top thread would nest on the back of my quilts. I had to unpick more than one quilt, which anyone who quilts can tell you, is the worst kind of torture!
I had a friend over to teach beginning quilting lessons. Lots of skipped stitched. Lots of loops. Lots of nests. Lots of thread breaking.
I had another, seasoned quilter friend over to use my machine to quilt her do.Good Stitches quilt. Same issues. Lots of loops, nests and skipped stitches.
As I was working on my heart quilt, I couldn't even use this machine! I needed a zig zag or applique stitch to adhere the hearts to my blocks. No such luck. The outcome was horrendous. I ended up borrowing a friend's little $80 Shark machine to stitch all 272 of my hearts. My machine retails for closer to $1,800.
Ultimately, I was tired of my Viking. Tired of not knowing if it was going to give me good stitches or bad. Tired of not being able to do any real quilting because I was afraid I would have to pick out all my hard work. Tired of broken thread (yes, even Aurifil), broken needles and shoddy work. I decided to buy a new machine.
I bought a Juki TL-2010Q from a local dealer and it has been an amazing purchase. I spent $850 on this straight stitch only machine and it has been worth every penny. The walking foot it came with is terrible, but the machine itself is fantastic. The tension was tricky to figure out at first, but after reading the manual thoroughly and playing with the tension settings, I have a much better handle on it now. The Juki sews great, so quiet at times I have to stop and check to make sure I'm still sewing and the bobbin hasn't run out! Aurifil on this machine is absolutely dreamy. The motor runs smooth and can handle long work sessions. I've only done a few small, practice bits of FMQ on it, but just from the little bit I've done I can tell it is leaps and bounds better than my Viking, which can't do FMQ at all. It says it can, but it can't.
I have to keep the Viking because the Juki can't do anything other than straight stitching, although, since the Viking couldn't even zig zag long enough to applique one heart (oh yes. It quit working as I was trying to stitch) I think I would rather find another good quality machine to take the Viking's place. The Viking also has a free-arm, which means any garment sewing will have to be done on it too. Scary.
I cannot even tell you how disheartened I am about this Viking machine and their products. I had really hoped my first machine was just a lemon. I take good care of my machines, cleaning and changing the needles often and using good quality fabrics and threads.
If you have any questions about how either of these machines is working, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm sure there are many other aspects of the machines I have forgotten to mention here.