Generally I’m not good when it comes to reading manuals. Matter of fact, I’m really bad at it. I make an honest attempt, perhaps read the first couple of pages and then plunge into whatever new toy I’ve acquired. As a result, I utilize about 5% of the total capacity of these new toys. So, is the sewing machine manual a thing of the past?
It’s been with a lot of determination and focus that I’ve read the manuals that come with the Husqvarna Viking sewing machines. I’ve learned so much from reading the manuals and once I’ve become familiar with the content, it’s been easy to go back and re-read certain sections that I didn’t quite grasp the first time around.
On-line Information and Help features
Wait a minute! As I’m reading, I realize the entire manual is on-line! Well, actually it’s on the computer built into the sewing machine. Oh, yes!
Actually, it’s called the “Information menu” and is a built-in, abridged version of the User’s Guide.
Not only is the User’s Guide built into the sewing machine, but there’s also a Quick Help feature. By touching the icon for Quick Help (the question mark on the tool bar) and then touching any feature on the screen, information about that feature will pop up.
Note the blue question mark in the upper left hand corner of the pop-up box.That means this is an information only screen.
This is such a fabulous feature. Imagine staring at the vast array of stitches on the screen and wondering what they do. Simply hit the Quick Help icon, then the stitch and you’ll get information on that stitch or any other feature that you select. It’s like having a sewing expert by your side whenever you sew.
I also like the built-in manual. No more dragging the manual to class, no more searching for something that you thought you saw but can’t remember where. Brilliant feature.
Instead of reaching for the manual to look for information, I found myself using the on-line Quick Help and the Information Menu and both are super easy to use. This is one of those features that the more you use it, the more you use it. Saves huge amounts of time!
While I love this feature, my vote will be to keep a paper manual. I’m not yet at the stage where I would only want to read this information on the screen of a sewing machine.
Navigating the touch screen
It’s a snap to navigate through the very intuitive Large Interactive Screen. The menus are thoughtfully laid out and items are grouped together in a logical fashion.
I found it very easy to use the stylus that comes with the Designer Ruby Royale. A holder for the stylus right beside the screen makes it handy to grab and quick to replace in the holder so the stylus doesn’t go missing.
Why would I use the stylus over my finger? My finger is fat and the stylus is pointed, thus making it easy for me to touch exactly what I want to touch and not inadvertently touch something else. Besides, it just feels cool to use that stylus!
Along the top of the Interactive Screen is a Toolbar. The first icon on the left is the Stitch Menu. Note that I have not engaged the Embroidery Mode at this point. When I do, there’s another icon that appears on the Toolbar.
Second icon from the right is the Quick Help (the question mark) that I mentioned above.
When I touch the Stitch Menu icon, I get a drop down menu with many categories of stitches.The titles of the numerous categories are Utility, Buttonhole, Pictogram, Heirloom, Quilt, Applique, Children, Scallop, Vintage, Omnimotion, Decorative, Crafting, Fashion, 4-way, 8-way, My Stitches, Specialty, Dimensional, and Decorative Tapering Stitches.
The stitches have been divided into very logical groupings. If you want to locate a particular type or style of stitch, it’s easy to navigate the stitch menus to check out your options.
In the above picture, you can see I’ve selected the F (Applique Stitch) menu.There’s a circle beside the icon representing the number of pages in that category. There’s only one page of Applique Stitches. If there were two, there would be two circles — F1 and F2. The first page (in this case, this the only page) of the applique stitches is shown to the right of the drop down menu.
The stitch menu shown below is for the Stitch Menu A — Utility Stitches. You can see 25 different stitches on the page. An arrow at the bottom of the green section indicates there are more A — Utility Stitches — on the next page. The stitch that I’ve selected is highlighted and details about that stitch are on the left, including the recommended needle size, the foot and a picture of what the stitch will look like when it’s stitched out on fabric. As well, there are options to change the tension, the stitch length and the position of the stitch. More on that later….
Did you notice the big letter A on the Toolbar? Yes, there are six built-in alphabets on the Designer Ruby Royale.
But, let’s say you don’t like any of those alphabets. If you engage the Embroidery Mode of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale, there are four additional alphabet fonts built in with various size options. There are other options for alphabet fonts, but today I’m looking at what comes with the sewing machine.
Built-in embroidery designs
Since we’ve engaged the Embroidery mode, you can see in the next screen shot a new icon on the far left in the Toolbar. The little flower is the icon to bring up the built-in embroidery designs.
Changing the Stitch and Machine Settings
If you look at the Toolbar, you can see the Heart Icon in the middle. In this screen shot, the Icon has been opened and offers three options. On the left is the Set Menu, the middle icon is the Embroidery Advisor, which we’ll investigate another day, and the one on the right hand side is the Information Menu (the abridged version of the user’s guide).
We’re going to explore the Set menu a bit.
A new toolbar for the Set Menu is displayed along the top of the screen. I’ve selected the first icon on the left — the Stitch Settings.
Although the pressure of the presser foot is automatically selected based on the type of stitch I’ve chosen and the type of fabric (more on that later), I can still override the system and increase or decrease the pressure foot pressure manually. I can also balance the width and length of a stitch, if it happens to be out of whack based, on my project. In this example, I’ve selected a serpentine stitch and only one stitch is in view on the screen.
This is not something you would normally have to change, but in the event you are working with some very unusual fabrics or a special technique, you have the ability to adjust the balance of the stitch. If you’re into unusual stuff, this is going to be a great feature to explore.
The next menu is the Sewing Settings. This is where I can override or set up the various functions on the Function Button panel. This menu also features a number of safety features. If I want to use a Twin needle or the single hole throat plate, then the Stitch Width Safety is turned on automatically.
I can also engage the Stitch Width Safety manually, if I want to use a single hole presser foot and I don’t want to risk damaging a needle by inadvertently selecting a stitch other than a straight stitch. If you attempt to use a non-straight stitch, the sewing machine will tell you that you have the Stitch Width Safety on.
If I choose a twin needle width and then go to the Stitch menu to select a stitch, I’ll see exactly what that stitch-out will look like on the screen.
Some stitches don’t allow the use of a twin needle setting and an error message will pop up. You can’t override this. You must either change the stitch or change the twin needle setting.
Another safety feature built into the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale is that settings, such as the use of the Twin needle, will trigger a message when the sewing machine is first turned on. The sewing machine was set for the use of a twin needle and this message popped up when the sewing machine was turned on. This reminds the operator to set the sewing machine up accordingly.
Notice the difference of these pop-up messages compared to the informative ones shown earlier? These warning pop-up messages have a purple exclamation mark in the top left corner. Pop-up messages are warnings and you must take appropriate action before proceeding.
I thought this was a nice touch. The following pop-up message comes on screen if the sewing machine is loading some information. Yes – that is THE waiting icon in the top left hand corner!
Feed Teeth Options
A couple more options that are neat! You can raise and lower the feed teeth manually through the screen settings rather than using a manual lever. Or, you can have them raised or lowered automatically depending on the stitch and other options selected. You’ll see more on this tomorrow.
The deLuxe Stitch System
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale has two ways to control the needle thread. We’re familiar with the tension disk method, but it also has a unique feature called Thread Portioning. This video explains what Thread Portioning is. Check it out! I was amazed at the technology. Essentially, Thread Portioning automatically and continuously measures the fabric thickness to portion the correct amount of thread for the selected stitch. This is different from the Thread Tension, where the tension discs keep the correct amount of tension on the needle thread.
When using the tension disk system, there’s constant tension on the thread and that can cause breakage, especially when working with metallic threads. With thread portioning, there’s no tension on the thread resulting in better stitches with specialty threads.
In the event that you need to change one or the other, there’s a menu to do that. Making changes in this menu will change the tension settings on the sewing machine until you change them again. You can also change the settings for a particular stitch by changing the settings on the screen for just that stitch.
Locking the screen
Here’s one last pop-up message. If you have all your settings correct and do not want anything disturbed, you can lock the screen so that no changes will be allowed until you unlock the screen.
There are so many features, it’s hard to do any of them justice! The ability to use the default settings on the sewing machine or override many of them is just amazing. The flexibility to set the sewing machine to the way I work is brilliant and the built-in manual and help information, well, nothing beats that!
The menus are well thought out and very intuitive. With so many options, it would be easy to bury the options deep within sub-menus. This is not the case. All options are two clicks away from the main screen and in a logical order, which proves that a lot of thought went into the design of this sewing machine.
So, is the sewing machine manual a thing of the past? You be the judge. Tomorrow, I’m going to explore how easy it is to manipulate the stitches on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale. Have a great day!