I currently use a Bernina 1090 which I got in 1996. It's halfway between mechanical and computerized because when I got it, I wanted something where I could sit down and sew, not have to take programming lessons to operate it. While I like my Bernina, I'm not married to the brand.
I use it mostly for piecing and walking-foot quilting. Also alterations and occasional garment or handbag sewing. I do some very basic FMQ, but my skills are limited to a simple stipple, although I'd like to improve and expand my repertoire.
I'm looking for a model with a large throat space, nice even straight stitch, basic stitches (zigzag, blind hem, etc.) and buttonholes, good tension, walking foot, maybe a stitch regulator for FMQ. I don't want embroidery and I don't need a lot of fancy bells and whistles. I'm tech-challenged so the simpler it is to operate, the better.
I test-drove a Pfaff at AQS Paducah that was much easier to FMQ on than my current machine. I want to test drive as many brands/models as I can before I make my final selection. I want to buy locally in the St. Louis area so I can get the lessons/training that sellers usually offer with new machines. I also want local service for tune-ups, etc.
I'm content with my current Bernina. I have a cheap lightweight travel machine for retreats, etc. so I don't have to haul my heavy Bernina around and subject it to the rigors of travel. So I really don't need a new machine....
But DH keeps telling me I should get one sooner rather than later. He wants me to get my "rest of my life dream machine" before he retires. Better to get a big ticket item like that while he's still bringing in a paycheck.
So, what advice do you have for me? Let me know in the comments what brand/model you like and why. Also, if you know of a problem I should avoid, please tell me about that, too. Thank you.
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.