Reviewing The Diamond Machine

sewing machine Designer Diamond

Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond

Do you also love machines? My DH is an engineer, and he’s ALL ABOUT machines of every description. I was at one time in my life a mechanical draftsman, and I loved taking things apart and drawing all the parts. I don’t do that with my sewing machine, but I don’t mind talking about the machine, its quirks, and what I like and don’t like about it. So I’m back to participate in Sew Mama Sew’s

Sewing Machine Reviews

What brand and model do you have? I traded my Husqvarna Viking Ruby up for a Designer Diamond near the end of last year (2014).

How long have you had it? I’ve had it since the end of October 2014.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? Roughly the Kelley Blue Book Value of a 7 year old Cadillac CTS.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? Quilting, machine embroidery, apparel, fleece, swimwear, bags, anything I can.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? At least once a week, sometimes every day

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? Love it. I learn new things all the time. I started with Husqvarna Viking’s embroidery-capable Topaz model, traded up to a Ruby, now to a Diamond. I think my experiences with the previous models were excellent preparation for my current usability of top-of-the-line Diamond. It has so much more help available online and through the machine’s onboard computer screen. The shop I bought it from offers free, in-depth training classes for buyers of this model and others.

What features does your machine have that work well for you? One big difference is that during machine embroidery, using the Sensor-Q foot is recommended. It’s included with the Diamond purchase, whereas I had bought it separately for my Ruby, but I only used it for quilting, not embroidery. I’ve had great success using it for machine embroidery, although it isn’t compatible with many of the embroidery hoops I already bought separately when I had the Ruby and Topaz, because the Sensor Q-foot has a big area around the needle and can bump into the corners of the hoop and throw off the design.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? The pre-wound bobbins I had stockpiled when I had my Ruby, don’t work as well on the Diamond. I keep getting a message “Bobbin thread low” and when I check, it’s nowhere near low. I have better luck with cheap pre-wound Coats and Clark bobbins that are wound on paper spools that didn’t work at all on the Ruby, although they are the same size bobbins.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Yes, because it is awesome. It will take me a whole lifetime to discover all the awesome things it can do.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Price, customer reviews, customer service record of the vendor, availability of training if you need it, availability of service/repairs.

Do you have a dream machine? Yes, this one.

Bonus: Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

I thought about doing the ultimate trade-up but I was worried, considering the much greater cost. Would it be worth it? What about all the negative reviews I’d seen? What about the experience I had with the lesser model, the engine needing to be replaced, the long wait for the parts coming in? Then I got an email saying if I wanted to trade up, I could get a $500 rebate if I acted before the end of October. I thought, well, surely, I could get a decent trade-in value and the purchase price could be defrayed a lot…I did get a very good trade-in value. I checked around with several other dealers, both near and far, and found that while some aspects of the deal were near the same, different dealers can give you very significant discounts over others! I ended up going to the same dealer I bought the first two machines (and a serger) from. It pays to have a good relationship with your local dealer, I think. As for the negative reviews I’ve read, I think that because I’ve worked with the Topaz and Ruby, I am fairly well experienced as a user of Husqvarna Viking sewing machines so many of the quirks aren’t new to me and I’ve probably encountered and fixed many of them prior to owning this machine.

P.S. I thought I was going to add this to the Sewing Machine Review post from Sew Mama Sew; however, the link-ups were closed. If Sew Mama does a new Review for 2015 I’ll add it then.

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Reviewing Ruby

I read the blog Sew Mama Sew, and decided to participate in Mama’s
Sewing Machine Reviews as currently featured. Good idea, I really like to read sewing machine reviews that are real testimonials that aren’t being presented for purposes of commissioned sales or something like that.

What brand and model do you have? Husqvarna Viking Ruby

How long have you had it? about 3 years

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? about $5K

What types of things do you sew? quilting, machine embroidery, clothing, bags, pillows, home dec, hats, toys

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? I sew at least one project a week. I sew a lot of fleece things, which generate lots of lint, so she gets some wear and tear.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I adored Ruby until I had to put her in the shop, and she stayed in there for more than 90 days, all during November and December; that really put a damper on my holiday sewing plans last year!

What features does your machine have that work well for you? the machine embroidery feature works very well most of the time. I traded up for Ruby; I had a Viking Topaz 20 before, and I didn’t have as good an experience with her and machine embroidery, or maybe I was more of a novice when I had that machine. But Ruby seems definitely more smooth and accomplished than her predecessor Topaz 20. I like the automatic thread cutter button. I have many specialty feet to experiment with; some work better than others.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? She sometimes shreds thread as it runs from the spool through all those mechanisms down into the needle. The shop employees will say it’s because you used cheap thread, however, it happens with all different brands from time to time. Yes, it’s worse with cheap thread (Coats and Clark), but it has happened with their favorite brands to recommend, too (Robison-Anton rayon and Madeira). Sometimes she produces bird-nesting underneath seams and I can really find no apparent reason. I re-thread the machine and maybe or maybe not will have more bird-nesting. I re-thread again and no bird-nesting. Maybe there is a little burr inside that mysterious thread path. When the repair guy tries it, it doesn’t bird-nest for him, of course.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? I don’t think they make this machine anymore, the new model that replaced it is the Ruby Deluxe. When I attended training classes for using my new Ruby, one of the class members had a problem with her machine from Day 1; she asked for a replacement machine and they wouldn’t give her one because she had bought a floor model machine. When mine was in the shop for 90 days, the problem was the motor. I think that if I buy another machine, I will research a lot and not buy a Viking next time, even though I have tons of accessories for a Viking. I bought the Viking from a local shop, so that I could be sure of ongoing maintenance and tech support, but I was disappointed in the customer service during that crisis when she stopped working so soon after purchase. They had promised to keep me updated, but I had to initiate every query. I had to borrow back my old mechanical Janome from someone I’d lent it to for basic sewing during the time Ruby was in the shop, and the Janome was a champ. The next town south of me (an hour’s drive) has a Janome shop. Good customer service means a lot to me.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Cost, reputation of company, tech support, customer service, buttonhole making capability, training opportunities.

Do you have a dream machine? I once dreamed of trading up to a Husqvarna Viking Diamond Deluxe, but I don’t think the features are worth double the cost of my Ruby.

I also have a Brother serger for overlocking seams, a Husqvarna Viking serger that I mostly use for coverstitch, and an old Singer Merrittlock serger that I haven’t been able to get working, plus a little collection of toy sewing machines.

Ruby

Ruby

Please fix my machine quick

Aargh. I had to put Ruby in the shop; it hurt me more than it hurt her. She kept giving me a “main motor overload” message and she blacked out a few times, once in the midst of embroidering. That was a pain, because I had to manually go back to where she left off, when she came back to life again.

The good news is, I finished 8 Imke tops (from my fave pattern book Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn) before I relinquished Ruby to the sewing machine doc. Bunny says it will be up to 14 working days…trying to be brave! Maybe I can do a bunch of serging with Sheila the Serger in the meantime.

Imke with 3/4 length sleeves and t-shirt style neck

Imke with long sleeves and t-shirt neck

Imke with straight sleeves and pointed hood

Imke with bell-shaped sleeves and t-shirt neck

Imke with 3/4 length sleeves and t-shirt neck

3/4 sleeves, t-shirt neck

Imke with bell sleeves, round hood, and pieced top and bottom

Imke with 3/4 sleeves, t-shirt neck and embroidered front

It is the Hello Kitty hoodie that I’m most excited about. I had about 1/3 yard of this minky Hello Kitty remnant, but it had a hem already across one side of it. Never wanting to waste good Hello Kitty fabric, I dreamed up the idea of combining it with another remnant of white minky, and voila! It is very soft and plushy! Most of these tops were made from remnants of a yard or so, more or less. Depending on the width and size of the remnant, I was able to make longer sleeves or add a hood. All the fabric remnants are knit, so I used a STRETCH needle (very important) and reinforced the shoulder seams with twill tape. They are all girls’ size 10.

In the meantime, DH suggested that I fill the void left by Ruby with one of the mini sewing machines—but it just doesn’t look the same.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Ruby, with 4 hungry children and a crop in the field…

Someone bring me a kleenex…

And I want to call attention to the fact that sweet Sweaty Knitter had nominated me for Reader Appreciation Blog Award quite a few posts back, and I am just now thanking her for this. I enjoy reading her blog just about more than any other blog out there. She brings out so much to love and ponder about the history of fiber arts! Thank you again Karen!

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