I purchased a new sewing machine yesterday!! I've been thinking about it for a while, trying to decide if I really "needed" a new one. My Singer has worked well for several years, but the feed dogs weren't working well any more. (I'll admit, I don't know if they recently stopped working of if they never worked very well and I'm just noticing.)
I thought about it. Hmm. Then I went to the local dealer. They sell Baby Locks and the Elizabeth in my price range with enough new features to justify getting a new machine. I went home and checked the reviews. People that had it seemed to like it, although it seemed as though some of the other brands were more highly recommended. Hmm. I thought some more. But then I decided to purchase it. There were two major factors: 1) The dealer is about five minutes from my house. If there are problems that is significantly more convenient than driving 1.5 hours to both drop off and pick up. 2) It is quiet. My husband is often talking on-line to friends while playing games in the same room that I piece. He's been very nice about it, but the Singer is really rather loud and makes it hard to converse.
So far, in the one night I've been using it, I've been very happy. It is much quieter. It has a button for sewing (instead of a foot pedal). That is similar to the quilter I use, and has a significantly more consistent stitch length. There is a thread cutter...it doesn't seem to be better than chain stitching, but when I do need to cut the thread it is nice not to have to hold the thread ends on the next piece. There is also a knee lift for the presser foot and I haven't decided what I think about it yet.
I also got a 1/4" foot which has been pretty nice, but some of the seams of the triangles I was piecing got caught on the foot.
It's been fun!!