The one good thing to come out of the death of my sewing machine is having an excuse to buy a modern sewing machine. And holy wow have sewing machines changed A LOT since my old machine was built almost 50 years ago. It was quite overwhelming to see all of the possible features beyond just the straight and zigzag stitches I had before.
In shopping for a new machine, I spent a lot of time visiting my 3 local sewing machine shops and trying out some of their machines (for all I'm not impressed with Milwaukee's lack of fabric stores, we have some great sewing machine shops!). I tried out Berninas, Brothers, Vikings, Janomes, and a Babylock. If you ever buy a new machine, I highly recommend trying out as many machines as you can get yours hands on - it really helped.
In the end, I settled on a Janome DC2013. I liked this machine for a lot of reasons: it sews beautifully, it's easy to thread and use, it has a nice collection of stitches, it has memory for defaulting to needle down/up, it can automatically stop at a complete repeat of the decorative stitches, and it comes with a large number of feet (though I did also spring for an invisible zipper foot). The DC2013 is just a nice solid, middle of the road machine. Plus, it didn't hurt that I heard a lot of good things about Janomes in the course of my research.
So now I have a new sewing machine! I'm very excited and have already been doing a little sewing on my new machine. One of my first projects has been a royal pain in my behind (fault of the fabric, not the machine) so I'm sure I will have lots more sewing things to talk about in my next post.