- Bernina 440QE
- Husqvarna Sapphire 830 850/870
- Janome 6600P
Bernina - does everything and I like that stitch regulator. I could see myself doing some machine quilting with it though would probably still send larger quilts to the longarmer. But the space under the arm seems a little cramped and it is the most expensive of the machines.
Husqvarna Sapphire - Three different versions of the same basic model. It is really between the 830 and the 870 because the 850 is the 830 with a broader selection of fancy stitches and I don't need them. The 870 has some built-in self-adjusting items like tension control and can run without using the foot pedal but is about $700 more than the 830 model. There is a good amount of space under the arm. I like this dealer; I take my current sewing machine to the local Husquarna Viking dealer for service and they have always provided excellent service; pleasant people, too.
Janome 6600P - I tried this machine while I was at the quilt show and liked it but the local dealer is a bit of a concern to me as I had a negative experience with them over a vacuum cleaner a few years ago (its seems that sewing machine and vacuums are sold together in stores; I wonder what the origin of that is!) and one of my quilting friends got into a bit of a flap there too, so I am concerned about service should anything go wrong. They are rather high-pressure and while the basic price is reasonable to me, the cost of all the extra feet they say I need will add on considerably.
I am thinking of going back to each of the dealers with some of my fabric scraps, to sit and do a seam, a little machine applique, and a button hole and then comparing experiences and results. In the meantime, I'd appreciate any advice you have - your experiences with these or similar models, etc. Just leave a comment or send me an email message. Thanks!