...with a new sewing table?
A new sewing machine!
I've been using an hand-me-down bottom-of-the-line Janome for a while now. It actually worked pretty well for a pretty long time, but had started refusing to go backwards. Or having decent thread tension if I used cotton thread (polyester, really?) The repairs it needed were going to cost more than the machine was worth to me, so I was resolved to replace it.
Ideally, I would have liked to replace it with a Janome 1600p (or one of its twins, the Viking Mega Quilter or Pfaff Hobby GrandQuilter or TL-98E Juki )---you know something with a large harp and thread snip and needle down setting. But every time I would get even half way to saving for one of those, my car's muffler would fall off or I'd need dental work or Buzz would need shots...you get the idea...it wasn't happening.
I had asked about used machines at the local shop and not liked what they had to offer. So I did some research and made a list of less expensive machines that I might like. A couple of weeks ago, I spotted one of my top contenders on sale for just $200. Cha-ching!
This is the all-mechanical Janome TB12 Threadbanger Sewing Machine. It is a twin to the Janome/New Home L-108 and the Janome Travel Mate 4612 (and probably others, this is a popular style that Janome re-releases periodically with new styling.)
It's here and it works beautifully. It doesn't have many bells and whistles, but it does have a decent harp (that ruler is 4.5" square). And it is a happy little sewer. Not fussy at all.
And really, that's all a quilter needs: a nice straight stitch + feed dogs that drop and a darning foot for free motion quilting (or a walking foot for straight line quilting.)
To anyone researching sewing machines, I recommend checking for reviews in the following places:
also, look for Yahoo! groups that are focused on particular models.
Since machines often have twins, keep your eye out for the names of the twin models and read those reviews, too. If you are having a hard time finding the names for the twins, do a google search for something along the lines of "Janome TB12 same as."
As a final note, I would just like to say that I wish Janome was pronounced "jha-gnome" because "jha-know-me" is weird.