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Experiments in sewing, good and bad

Cat doll body in progress by Elizabeth RuffingI wanted to try something different with our next cat art doll, and so I took our original pattern, and a Brown House Dolls’ pattern, and morphed them together. I reduced the size of one, and then lay one over the other on our light box. Then I redrew the whole thing.

Cat doll body in progress by Elizabeth RuffingIt took a lot of fiddling around, and pulling seams apart, and resewing them, to get the new kitty to sit. I wanted her tail to hang downward this time, so she would stand up nicely on a doll stand.

You can’t see her head because she doesn’t have one yet. She’s going to have a fully-sculpted head of paperclay. I glued a dowel into her neck opening, gathered stitching all around it, and pulled it tight. I’ll be passing the doll to Max Bailey, and our next collaboration will begin.

Broken Viking Platinum 775As I mentioned in my last post, my Viking Platinum sewing machine came back unclaimed, from its second trip for repair. After three tries, I finally got in touch with the seller who was going to take care of the repairs. He apologized, said he’d been out of the country again, and asked me to send the machine back, saying he’d help out with the postage. Well, I thought that over for a few days before deciding to give it another try. The only thing is, when I went to put the machine in a new shipping box, I noticed things falling out of it, and off of it. Above is the area over the spool holder, that has the stitch display. It fell right off.

Broken Viking Platinum 775That’s because there is a big chip right in the body of the machine. The back of the machine didn’t fare too well either. Below is the presser foot lever, cracked right off of the body. I packed it well, in its original styrofoam packing, and wrote “fragile” all over the box, which had no signs of damage. I talked to the Post Master about this, and she clued me in that there are no longer any parcel delivery services where packages are hand carried. Everything goes on a conveyor belt. Since the package was never claimed, and was missing for a month, who can guess what it went through.

Broken Viking Platinum 775This machine has made at least six trips, from one side of the country to the other, total, if you count the trip it made from the distribution center to the dealer. I think it just had enough. It was a sturdy machine, but I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be shipped back and forth across the country so many times. I hate to think what is going on in the inside. I hate that I can’t get it replaced, because it is discontinued, and I certainly can’t get it fixed, not in this shape.

I have to wait to see what the Post Office is willing to do, and I still have to contact the seller. This whole thing has been a nightmare. I should never have been asked to send it again for repair anyway. It should have been replaced a long time ago, when it started malfunctioning. The seller could have at least reserved a spare of this model for me, in case he couldn’t fix it, but he sold them all. He’s got a couple of similar, but newer models, but I’ve read they both have known issues. Had the authorized Viking repairman, to whom I initially took it, identified the problem correctly, and had the two faulty step motors just been replaced by the seller, it might have been fine. Instead it is a total mess, and I’ve spent the past ten months trying to get some resolution. Either way, it’s not like I’m going to get the machine I wanted. I’m astounded by how many people there are out there, doing really bad business, individuals, small business, and major corporations. All sizes. I’m just amazed, and I don’t even know what else to say about it.

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Hug Me, Sock Kitten!

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI was trying to get my act together this morning, intending to head out for a while, but nothing came together properly. So, I stayed home and sewed up this sock kitten! I took some tips from the two sock doll books I have by Daniel, which are great books for anyone wanting to experiment with free-form toy creation. It’s fun, like making balloon animals. I say that not remembering if I’ve ever made balloon animals, but what they have in common is the idea of taking a tube shape and seeing where you can go with it.

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI was debating over adding the fleece heart, but once I’d thought of it, I felt I needed to give him one. You can’t go back on giving someone a heart.

I took him outside to photograph him, and of course, he ran right up a tree.

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingOnce I got him back inside, he stretched out for a nap, taunting all the slugs a little first, by waving his paws around. They haven’t got any appendages, and so, he was doing some showing off.

Turquoise Polka Dot Hug Me! Sock Kitten by Elizabeth RuffingI think I will make some more kittens, and call them “Hug Me! Kittens”. This sock kitten is in my Etsy shop.

My own, much larger kitten helped me with another project, removing the overly-scratched carpet from the legs of our cat gym. The plan is to cover the legs with new carpeting and sisal rope. The legs were looking very disreputable. This is only a human opinion.

Kitty investigates cat gym reupholstering projectThe feline consensus of opinion was that they looked perfect, as they were. Here is one of the mournful looks I was given after removing the beloved carpeting. She got over it quickly and found something else to do. She’ll be happy when she sees the new carpeting and the sisal rope. I was joking with my mom, saying the cats would be just as happy if I threw the rope and a piece of carpet on the floor. But that wouldn’t look nice. Again, just a human opinion.

Kitty investigates cat gym reupholstering projectOne sorry note for the week…my Viking sewing machine made a return trip from California, where it went for repair, having never been claimed at the Post Office. I have no idea why the seller had his repair technician call me to go over the repairs, and then sent me the address to which he wanted me to ship my machine, and then never picked it up. I’ve received no reply, so far, if indeed I ever will. I’ve had issues before, as you may have already read on my blog, and I’ve had him not answer for a long time, because he’s been in and out of the country. But you would think someone would be there to claim packages at least. Not looking good. Not that it has been looking good, at all, ever, but that is the current status on my Viking sewing machine nightmare. I’ve heard from people who have had similar problems. I don’t know what to say other than I’ll never be getting a Viking sewing machine again.

Using my Kenmore sewing machineI’m still using my Kenmore, pictured above, that I got as a spare. It’s been behaving very well. Once I have some extra money, I’ll ask around some more, to see if I can find someone honest who might be able to replace the faulty and broken parts on my Viking. A friend has suggested a Viking Funeral for the machine, but I’ll wait to see what develops.

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My new Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine lowdown

Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine and case
I have an update on my Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine repair saga.

But first, I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. Jude made a cute and curious new friend.

Gray and white cat staring at  his new anole friend, at the window, by Elizabeth RuffingJude 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.

Anole peeking around window to look in the houseThat 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 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 Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 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 is in CA. I am in NC.

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 hydrangea flowerThis 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. The only punishment Viking has, if a dealer does this, is to take away his or her dealership. But, this dealer retired. So, that didn’t effect him.

For the past three years, he has been selling the machines online. Husvarna 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 Husqvarna Viking, when I first had trouble and contacted them for assistance, told me my machine might have been stolen. Later, they told the Viking dealer I went to here in NC, that the online seller I bought the Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine from had been an authorized dealer, but he 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 in CA, because this seller was selling Viking sewing machines online after he retired, Viking rewrote all its dealership contracts, to stop anyone else from doing this in the future, retiring and continuing to sell machines online.

The other dealers who have found out about him selling Husqvarna Viking sewing machines on the Internet, have been very angry about it. Husqvarna 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 Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine was, in short, bought legally, by an authorized (at the time) dealer, fair and square. It was sold to me, after the dealer retired, and after the model was discontinued, when other authorized dealers had the same machine on closeout sale. So he wasn’t really undercutting anyone at the time.

Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine and caseMy Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing 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, according to the repairman I spoke with, 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 started getting in a couple per month.

He said he can replace the second step motor for me, and the button patch, which he thinks has a severed connection. If I leave a thorough note, they can take care of the other issues too, since there are a lot of little issues. I asked him if the seller would be 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 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, which were the real problem.

Maybe I would have a working machine by now, instead of having to wait for months more.

My Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing 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 sewing machine 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 about the step motor issues?

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 what he is doing is now against their dealership rules. They should never take that out on someone who bought one of their sewing machines.

A warranty should be on a machine, if it is new, with its 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, I hope, will be 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 Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 sewing machine from a currently authorized dealer, it would have had bad step motors. At least the seller should be 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!

Update: None of this worked out. The online seller didn’t pick up my box, and it got sent back through the mail, where the sewing machine was broken. It was obvious someone dropped it from a significant height. The seller said he never got a notice asking him to pick it up. I had to file an insurance claim and turn the machine in to the Post Office. The Post Office depreciated the value of my sewing machine, which seems arbitrary, since they have no way to know its value. So, my sewing machine, that I so carefully picked out, and liked so much, is gone and I am very unhappy.

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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.