I bought myself a Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4. I have looked at and tried out a number of different machines. While I have been tempted, I knew that I did not want the learning curve of an embroidery machine - while I love, love what they can produce. Basically I am a quilter so I needed something that would do all the requisite things (forward, back, zig zag) as well as a few stitches for quilters. I also still do a bit of sewing for the grands, so having a few cutsie stitches was fun, too. My old Pfaff 7550 (why did I think it was too extravagent to buy the top model, the 7570?) has 229 stitches on it. My Gretta has 220 - more than enough for me. In fact, I probably won't use all of those, but I suspect there may be some that I use a whole lot. Once I had a sewing machine tech. tell me that the 7550 was a good ole "work horse" and so that is why I was not interested in having to trade it in. The ad said the price included a trade-in, but they ended up selling me the new machine without a trade in. Score! The only extra I purchased was the (clear plastic) table that slides onto the machine, specifically for quilting.
Among the functions that I am really enjoying are:
* a 10 inch opening right of the needle - larger than many
* two lights to illuminate the "sewing field"
* and what has been my favorite, so far, if you 'tap' the foot pedal, the needle will go into the fabric but the presser foot will raise just enough to re-arrange the fabric or, better yet, allow you to insert fabric for chain piecing.
And in order to try out these wonderful new functions, I have been playing with scraps and making "crumb chaos" blocks , a la Patti They are something to use up a whole lot of bits and pieces. I'll let you know when I get enough 'rounds' done to actually have blocks. Not yet, but it is kind of fun (and reasonably mindless). Woo Hoo!!!!