Monday, September 12, 2005

Completed projects

Well, in the last two weeks I've managed to actually finish a couple projects. The baby quilt for Cheryl Mante, or more specifically, Jonah. Cheryl loved the quilt. The backing on this is Minky and it is so incredibly soft. I didn't want the binding to ever end because I enjoyed "fondling" the Minky.

Also finished and presented, was the wedding quilt for Judy & Bill. I used a panel of Psalms which were in 3" & 6" blocks which fit very nicely into the Yellow Brick Road pattern. The quilt was a breeze to put together. I quilted hearts randomly all over it including the borders. Judy was thrilled. The first week she had joined KLC as our administrative support, she attended the fund raising auction and unsuccessfully bid on the Psalms I quilt I had made. After the tough couple months they have both had leading up to this wedding I knew that a nice, comforting quilt was the perfect gift.

Today I also completed Stephen's new bathrobe. I was hoping that I would also be able to use the same Kwik Sew pattern for my Minky robe but this robe is HUGE. The sleeves are so long that I was swimming in them. They should be ok for him though as his arms are a bit longer than mine. When he gets back from Portland tomorrow I'll know whether or not I have to attempt to shorten them or not.

And now, it's time to water the dogs and go to bed.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

DM Quilting System or Buyer Beware

After having battled for two years, I felt I needed to share my experience with anyone who might be considering making the same mistake I did. The following is a recap my my two year journey and are some things you should seriously consider before buying a stretched quilting machine, a.k.a. DM Quilting System.

In March of 2003, after several e-mail conversations with David Grice of DM Quilting Systems, I placed my order for one of his stretched machines. I was initially told delivery would be June of that year. June, July and most of August passed with no word from David. The only time I heard from him was when I wrote inquiring as to the shipment of my machine. He kept telling me a date and it would come and go and yet again, the machine had not shipped. I should have cancelled the order then and there.

Instead, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the machine that he assured me would allow me to quilt my tops smoothly and easily. He had stated that following patterns was not a problem with his machine.

The machine finally arrived after Labor Day. The wrong carriage had been shipped with it. There was no stylus to follow patterns. Once we finally got the correct carriage, the machine exhibited skipped stitches. When I asked him about this I was told I was moving the machine too fast. The next 3 weeks were spent “practicing” but still never got past the skipped stitches. Then a set screw fell out of the lower shaft. This caused the timing to be totally misaligned. During the telephone call to attempt to fix this problem, he informed me that if the set screw had fallen out, he must have missed putting LocTite on it to secure it. We attempted to retime the machine as best we could via the telephone. David does not provide any diagrams or photos to aid you in this. His answer if you cannot do it yourself is to ship the machine back to him in Texas, at your own expense.

In the two years that I have had the machine I have never yet been able to use it to finish a quilt. The machine continuously skips or shreds thread. Because of this, I would abandon it for months at a time after becoming totally frustrated when attempting to use it. Then I would attempt to use it, and encounter the same problems. I joined a Yahoo Groups list dedicated to the DMQS machine. When I complained of my problems on that list in the fall of 2004, I received a note from David’s wife, Margaret, informing me to call as there was yet another adjustment to be made. We made the adjustment, it didn’t solve the problem. I asked for a refund as the machine had never worked properly. David ignored my request.

Fast forward to August 2005. We decided to attempt one last try at the DMQS. My husband spent over 20 hours adjusting every possible thing that could be adjusted to no avail. It made no difference. Calls and e-mails to David brought no help. We then brought the machine to a local repair shop that specializes in all types of sewing machine repair, including industrial. $180 later, I have been informed that both the upper and lower shafts are bent and that they have timed and adjusted the machine as best as possible but with the bent shafts, it will not stitch properly. Since this machine is 70+ years old, and was not designed to be moved around on a table, stitching in multiple directions, they cannot do any more for me.

In the past two years I have found at least two other DMQS customers with the same “issues” as I have had. When we compared our experiences, they were nearly identical.

David has offered to replace my machine but refuses and totally ignores my requests for a refund or even a partial refund. I feel that since the machine has never worked properly, from the beginning, I should be entitled to a refund. I now have $2400 invested in a worthless quilting machine and table. If you had spent that much money on a machine, you would expect it to work. If it didn't you would bring it back for a refund, right?

If any one is even thinking of saving the money and purchasing a DMQS or similar system, I ask you to consider the following carefully:

1. This is a rotary machine, not electronic or computerized. Because of this it is very noisy, and the mechanics make it bouncy. 2. There is no needle up/down. If you want to pull the bobbin thread up while free motion quilting from the front, you must turn the wheel by hand. If you are short, it is a very long reach. I’m 5’10” and it’s still a reach. It also means that I must stand up each time. I have back problems so I have a tall drafting chair I use to quilt from.

3. It simply doesn’t quilt smoothly. Tracing a pattern smoothly is virtually impossible. It wasn’t designed to be used in any other manner than as a stationery machine in which the fabric is moved under the needle, not the machine moved over the fabric.