just remember that with both of these machines, you have a 4"x4" design area.
this is what I was thinking; both of these only have the 4X4 area. Make a square with your hands of something and you can see how small of an area you'll be doing. The potholders can most certanily be done without an emb machine and so can the bookshelf. You can use either a pigma pen or hand embroidery or I know even my kenmore will do words like this. I love my embroidery machine and its got one of the biggest hoops out there for a single thread machine. I have never used my 4x4 which comes with all machines. I like hooping lots of things at once. I'd check out your local stores to see what they have. I were going to chose one of these, I'd go with the one from Costco because if later on you want to go up to a larger machine (it is addicting) then you have a spare sewing machine along with the extra embrodiery machine.