Every quilt has a story. Here are some of mine.
I have a "Husqvarna 870 Quilt", that I bought last year. My last machine was also a Husqvarna (that I had for 17 years, still works great), I just wanted a machine with a bigger distance between the needle and motor, and I wanted some more quilting stitches too. Some of the great features are - the machine stops when the bobbin is almost empty, to let me know, the large working space, when the needle stops in the down position, the presser foot lifts up slightly...I think any thing will be an improvement on a 1977 machine. Good luck on your search. Lots of fun, so many choices!!♥
Nearly two years ago I purchased a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 850. I like it a lot. If you quilt your own tops, there is the wider harp width. Cost was approx. $1800 including tax.
I did A LOT of research over the last 6 months since I was buying a new machine as well. I read reviews, I went to stores to try different machines, I asked around, etc. I decided on the Baby Lock Espire. It is an excellent machine. The company is a great company who takes care of their customers in case of problems, which are very rare. The Espire has a lot of space for quilting and comes with a huge extension table. There are 343 stitches, automatic thread cutter, automatic needle threader, a nice pivot function where the needle stays down, but the presser foot rises. It is has a touch screen and I am in love!! I paid $1999.
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