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My Viking Platinum sewing machine lowdown

Kitty makes friends with an anoleHope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. One of our kitties had company today. He’s befriended an anole. They’ve been staring at each other for over an hour. The anole is showing off here, puffing out his red pouch under his chin. They were fascinated by each other. Just like cats do, when one gets tired and starts to close his eyes, the other closes his eyes too.

anoleThat doesn’t last long though. They are soon back to staring at each other, tilting their heads this way and that, to take in every angle. They seem to be enjoying themselves, getting to know each other, even if it is through a windowpane.

We also have a patriotic display of color by the side of our house. The blue lace-cap hydrangeas are in bloom, with all the red and white petunias I have to plant in our hanging baskets. Very appropriate timing, for Memorial Day.

Blue lace-cap hydrangeasSo, as I mentioned in my last post, I have an update about my sewing machine, and it’s quite the soap opera. I spoke with the sewing machine repair technician who worked on my Viking Platinum 775, when I sent it across the country to be repaired. He thinks he can get it fixed, and so I’m planning to send it to coast-to-coast again. He filled me in on a lot of missing information in regard to my sewing machine repair saga.

Blue lace-cap hydrangeaThis is the lowdown, according to him…The guy who sold me the machine did in fact used to be an authorized Viking dealer, as we already heard. Before he retired, he bought a million dollars worth of  sewing machines, legally. They were all new. He put them in a warehouse, intending to sell them on the Internet, at lower prices than the other dealers, which Viking forbids their dealers to do. The only punishment Viking has is taking away your dealership. But, he retired. So, that didn’t effect him.

For the past three years, he has been selling the machines online. Viking knows about this, even though they wouldn’t tell me that. They can’t stop him because he isn’t breaking the law. The people I contacted at Viking, when I first had trouble, told me my machine might have been stolen when I asked them about it, but afterward, they did tell the Viking dealer I went to here in NC, that the seller I bought it from used to be an authorized dealer and had since retired. Either way, they wouldn’t honor their factory warranty on my machine. I don’t know if they told the local dealer the whole story.

According to the repair technician I just recently spoke to, because of this seller selling online after he retired, Viking rewrote all its dealership contracts, to stop anyone from doing this, retiring and continuing to sell machines online, in the future. The other dealers who have found out about him selling Viking machines on the Internet, have been very angry about it. Viking sewing machine retail prices are not listed on their web site, and so dealers can set their prices, without worrying too much about being undercut by competition. My machine, in short, was bought legally, by an authorized (at the time) dealer, fair and square. It was also sold to me after the model was discontinued, when other authorized dealers also had the same machine on closeout sale. So he wasn’t really undercutting anyone at the time either.

My machine itself has two step motors. One was replaced the last time I sent it to CA, because it was faulty. That was the one causing the machine to sew backwards, the feed step motor. The repair technician said that, judging from my video, it looks like the second step motor is bad too. That would be the one making the needle swing off in the wrong directions. It seems that at the time my machine was made, there were a bunch of bad step motors made, by whatever company makes them, and they were put into lots of machines across the country. The repairman used to see one bad step motor a year, and suddenly he was getting in a couple a month. He will replace the second step motor for me, and the button patch, which he’s thinking has a severed connection. If I leave a good note, they can take care of the other issues too, since there are a lot of little issues. I asked him if the seller was paying for this, and he said yes.

The repair technician confirmed that this is a new machine, but it was in a warehouse. He said it is probably old, but according to the mailing label, it was only about a year old when it was sold to me, which seems like an average turn-around selling time to me. I’m sure the repair tech doesn’t like this seller selling the machines online either. He told me to never buy one off the Internet, “buyer beware”. He was very nice, and filled in the missing information for me. But, honestly, if the Husqvarna Viking company had just been truthful with me, instead of implying I was dealing with a criminal, I would have just sent the machine back to the seller to have it repaired it in the first place, instead of taking it to an authorized dealer here, who wanted to charge me over $700 to replace different parts entirely, not the two faulty step motors. And maybe I’d have a working machine by now, instead of having to wait for months more. My machine has been broken since October 2009! It is additionally offensive to me that the faulty step motor issue has to be known to the company as well, and yet, even though the local dealer had another Viking Platinum in his repair shop at the very same time as mine, also sewing backwards, he had no idea what was causing the problem. Why wasn’t he told?

I still maintain that if Husqvarna Viking would just sell machines directly, in a way that is fair to consumers, as I was suggesting in one of my previous posts, none of this cloak-and-dagger secret nonsense would have happened. This is all because they have built up a society of dealerships, which, in my opinion, puts buyers at the mercy of dealers and allows for price gouging. Apple does just fine, selling directly online and in their stores, and also selling through authorized dealers. It seems archaic now to treat Internet sales as something to avoid at all costs. Tell that to Amazon. And Viking knew they sold this man sewing machines, which they knew weren’t stolen or used. They could have checked for me. They could have looked up the serial number I gave them. I feel they wouldn’t honor their warranty on my machine because they wanted to punish me for buying it over the Internet, and they wanted to punish the seller, indirectly, because it’s against their dealer rules. They should never take that out on someone who bought one of their machines. A warranty should be on a machine, if it is new, with it’s serial number and bar code right on the box, which I’m sure they can trace. If they can’t, they should fix their system so they can. But, I bet they can. The seller, fortunately, is honoring his personal warranty on the machine, but I, of course, have to ship it to CA, when, under normal circumstances, I would be able to transfer the warranty to another dealer.

Anyway…I’m sure it will take another 2 to 2 1/2 months to get Viking to send the step motor and the buttons to the repairman. Then, we can just hope it works, because if anything else is broken on it, it will take longer. Even if I’d bought this very same machine from a currently authorized dealer, it would have had bad step motors. At least the seller is paying for them to be replaced. I would have been at the mercy of whatever dealer I’d bought this machine from, and we’ve already seen what happened with the last dealer I went to.

So, as I said…what a soap opera!

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Cleaning and rearranging

Kitty on my deskI’ve been knocking myself out, cleaning and organizing my workspaces. I’m still working on it. My kitties are competing with each other over who gets to sit on the new shelves, or on my old desk that I moved into my bedroom so I can sew while I watch, or at least listen to, TV. I’ve got lots of aches from hauling things around, and I feel a bit like I’m living in a storage facility. Still, the new arrangement sure beats having to lift eight boxes to get to the right color fleece!

Sewing supply shelf with fabric in boxesThat’s a good thing, because, in spite of my new organization, I still couldn’t find my light pink fleece this week. I pulled a few boxes off my new shelf, only to discover the pink was hiding in a bag on my table. But don’t worry…I went out and got more boxes! I should have supplies floor-to-ceiling, everywhere, soon.

Pink Hug Me! Slug by Elizabeth RuffingAs you can see, I turned my pink fleece into a pink fleece Hug Me! Slug. She left for her new home this morning, along with this cheerful pink polka dotted Hug Me! Toad, who is on her way to Australia.

Pink Polka Dot Hug Me! Toad by elizabeth RuffingLately, I seem to be attracted to this pink color. When I was five, I think that was probably my idea of the best color there was. I had a fuzzy toy box that color. I picked up some more pink fabric, which is sitting on my ironing board, since I prewashed it. The fabric with the stars is fleece. I thought that was a good find.

I have some interesting information about my sewing machine, but I’m just waiting for confirmation about where to send it first, before I give an update about it.

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My Viking Platinum 775 Repair Issues

I made a quick video of my Viking Platinum 775, in its current state. I’ve been trying to get it repaired or replaced. My phone number and email address have been lost or misplaced by both the original seller and the repair technician, so far. The one is sure the other can fix it, but since this is how it is behaving after it came back from being repaired, I would feel better about it being replaced. The seller doesn’t have any more at this time, but he says he’ll look for one “just in case”. I feel like we’ve already reached “just in case” myself. The machine has been out of commission since October of 2009, after just 11 hours and 53 minutes of actual sewing time. I’m concerned about sending it all the way across the country again, risking additional damage in transit. I’m also thinking, since a lot of the malfunctioning it is doing is entirely random, that, even if someone gets it “working”, that doesn’t mean it will work the next time I turn it on. What if it works for a day, or a week, and then goes haywire again?

Anyway, I made this video so the repairman would be able to get some idea of what the machine is doing, which is a lot of crazy, random stuff. Those are all those fancy decorative stitches and alphabets I am trying to sew in the video! Remember those from when I first got it? Here’s the old stitch sampler, from when I first got the machine:

Viking Platinum Stitch SamplerAnd another sampler, from when it came back from repair. It does sew the stitches sometimes:

Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 stitching sampleYou can see that, in the video, I’m just getting some helter-skelter sewing instead. I think I chose an “A”, “R”, and “X” for the letters I sewed in the video. They came out like chicken scratch. Here’s the sample from the video:

Viking Platinum 775 MalfunctioningIf I turn the machine on and off, sometimes it will still sew the stitches I select. Other times, it won’t. At random, the needle will go off to the right, or the stitch length and width won’t come out as programmed. It’s just not a whole lot of fun.

I’ve never had such a long, drawn-out ordeal over the repair of a piece of machinery. It wears me out. I know it is just a machine, but I dread having to deal with anyone or anything else in regard to it. Can you imagine taking a small appliance to someone for repair, and having to wait so many months to get it working? Imagine if your washing machine started acting up, and and you had to go do your wash at the laundromat for 8 months. Or if you had to rent a car for 8 months while you waited for yours to be repaired. Imagine if no one, the manufacturer, the salesperson, or the repair technician, acted like that was a big deal. Imagine if it took 2-2 1/2 months just for the company to mail out every part they discovered needed to be replaced. It’s just absurd. I’m glad I bought a backup sewing machine from Sears. I hope it never has any problems.

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Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Art Doll Figurine by Max Bailey

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyViolet is very shy.

When guests arrived this morning, she hid behind her mama and peeked at them from around her mama’s skirt.

“Don’t be such a shrinking violet,” her mama said to her.

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyBefore she went to sleep that night, Violet worried. “What if I am shrinking?” she asked herself. “What if I become really tiny? What if I disappear altogether?”

Just as the sun was coming up, she nudged her little sister.

“Can you see me?” she asked.

“Yup. You’re as big as life,” answered her sister, yawning and barely opening one eye.

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyViolet was not reassured. She went to the measuring mark her mother had made on the wall and put a little book on her head, squishing her ears down. Surprisingly, she was taller than the mark!

Violet went to the edge of the woods and picked some violets. She carried the violets around all day. They didn’t shrink either.

“It’s just a figure of speech,” her mama later explained. “You aren’t really shrinking. You’re just shy, and we absolutely love you just as you are.” Mama put the violets in water and put them on the kitchen table, and smiled to herself.

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyViolet is an original one-of-a-kind work of art, and is meant for display only. No molds are ever used in my work. She and her violets are hand-sculpted from paperclay, and are entirely hand painted with acrylic paints. Violet’s dress is painted lavender, with dark violet trim and a dark violet bow at the back. She wears white petticoats, from which her little dark tail emerges.

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyViolet is signed and dated, and sealed with matte varnish for protection and preservation. She rests firmly on a turned wooden base that is stained and sealed in golden oak.

Violet is an itty bitty kitty. She stands only 4 and 5/8 inches tall. She comes with a hang tag, a certificate of authenticity, and a copy of her story.

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyUpdate: Violet has been adopted. Thank you!

Violet the Siamese Kitten, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyViolet’s friends, Jessie and Jeannie (above left), have already been adopted.