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“It may not be your fault!”

Written on: 05/06/2013

My machine and the local shop's are Topaz 30, not 20 as stated:

We bought our Topaz 20 at a quilt show in Pomona CA from an AZ dealer in January 2010. We had exceeded the capabilities of our 1972 Kenmore (actually still going strong) and were impressed with the projects produced at the show attributed to that Topaz 20. We had trouble with it immediately, though I could nurse it along by very carefully regulating its speed. Our friends (Bernina owners) strongly suggested careful thread selection and frequent needle replacement. Did lots of that with some success, but still got relatively unpredictable birds nest failures. Also was promised some hoops that had been with the machine at the show, and some accessories that should have been, so called the AZ shop; THEY WERE EXCELLENT IN THEIR RESPONSE and met all our needs. We took the Topaz to the local CA Viking dealer when we kept having problems; THEY WERE EXCELLENT in giving us the prescribed VH lessons, and tried very hard to duplicate our problems – machine refused to misbehave so we eventually concluded it was our fault. Next pass through Phoenix we visited the dealer with the same results – THEY WERE VERY CONCERNED AND HELPFUL, but again machine only fails in our hands when no pros are watching.

We gave up and have for three years been quilting on the ’72 Kenmore and one of my many Singers, a 1960s Golden Touch-N-Sew. Just this last weekend, I ran the VH through its paces with good results after aggressively blowing out the bobbin area and tension discs after Sue had a failure that showed loose loops on the bobbin side of the fabric. Now it was failing with any thread other than black Gutterman – THEN!!! It failed with that too while I was simply raising the bobbin thread! And I saw the loop escape the take up hook just as you did. My thoughts: Poor design! Impossible to believe that VH doesn’t know about it! Very upset about 3 years of frustration and blaming ourselves.

All my Singers and our Kenmore have closed eye on takeup arm so I wrapped a wire around the lever, threaded through the eye and sewed perfectly for the rest of the day, including all grades of thread from cheap Coats and Clark to the high grade Guterman. NO FAILURES, perfect stitches, including some of the fancy ones. Removed wire – instant birds nest. Took a piece of insulation from 14 ga house wire and slipped it (friction fit) on the wire of the takeup lever until it made an interference fit when threading (thread normally but snaps past the fix point). Visited the local VH rep shop where she had a Topaz 20 on display and allowed me to look at the takeup lever – very different bends and much tighter gap! Lots of sewing the rest of the weekend using Coats And Clark Walmart thread – all functions normal. We see no reason to trust the machine to the experts and will never buy VH again. Poor design and very irresponsible corporate attitudes and policies.

For the first time, we are going to take the embroidery unit out of the box and try to learn to embrioder. Local rep is going to tutor us.

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