I apologize in advance that this post is so long. I just wanted to provide some background regarding my skill level and what I am looking for in a machine. I was wondering if I can get some help on deciding on my next sewing machine.
I am a total beginner in the sewing world. Right now, I have a vintage Singer Featherweight 221. I am ready to add another machine that will do a bit more. I will be sewing some garments, hemming, decorative pillows, tactical bags made of heavy canvas, and plan to totally dive into quilting, especially free motion quilting.
I don't want a "throw away" cheapy machine, so I have narrowed it down to either the Juki F600, Janome 6500 or 6600, and the Janome Horizon 7700. DH wants me to choose a machine that will make me happy and something I can totally grow into. I've been reading and searching forums till my eyes are crossed and it hasn't really made my decision any easier. I do know that I want to get a Sew Perfect table, since the table height is adjustable.
I was very interested in the Juki F600 since it can go through many layers of denim, but the only authorized Juki sewing machine dealer in town hasn't gotten really great reviews. I want to be able to trust my sewing center when I need to bring the machine in for servicing. The Janome dealer here in town has always gotten great reviews, so I do feel confident when I need to utilize their service.
I've heard a lot of great things about the Juki, so I was wondering if I should take my chances and just go for that one. Or play it safe and get a machine in which I know will have good local service support.
And...to make the decision even harder...DH is telling me for the price of a Horizon 7700, I can get the Juki F600 and the Janome 6500 or 6600 and have 2 machines. I know I would love to have a free arm, so the Juki or the Horizon falls into play. The large harp space on the Horizon is 11", which would be great to doing large quilts. But am also wondering if the Horizon 7700 would be too much machine for me. He's given me a nice budget to work with, but that doesn't mean I want to spend it all on one machine either.
Would a 9" harp or throat space work for doing a queen sized quilt? Another alternative for doing large quilts for me is take a class on the long arm and then rent out time on the long arm machine at the LQS if I even need to quilt anything large down the line.
Is there a huge difference between the Janome 6500 vs. 6600? For someone with my skill level, will I even know the difference? I know the 6600 has the Accufeed system. Some people love it and some people hate it. I'm guessing since I really have no prior experience, I really wouldn't have anything to compare to. I do know that these machines do not have a free arm, which is something I would really like.
I know this post may sound like I'm overthinking it too much, but I do want to try to make the right decision on my purchase, as I really want a machine that will be with me for a long time.
Sorry again for the long post. Any thoughts from you experts are greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!