I received the new Janome Heavy Duty Model Sewing Machine for Christmas this year from my husband. It was a machine that has been reconditioned and was purchased from Overstock.com. at a great price. This machine has extra features like "needle up/needle down", "needle threader" (which I must say is helpful with my aging eyes), 7 extra accessory feet, It has three straight stiches, six zig-zag stitches and an automatic buttonhole stitch. The stitches are all computerized. There is a complete alphabet both upper-case and lower-case. There are also 89 specialty stitches, which include blanket stitches, decorative stitches, embroidery stitches, and extra button hole stitches.
The machine also has two different thread holders, one for smaller spools and another for regular or cone spools, a thread cutter and a foot pedal. One of the feet is a jumper foot which enables you to machine quilt when lowering the feed dogs and using the foot. The threading of the machine is easy as well with the steps being numbered from the thread to the needle. I have used this machine for piecing quilt tops, mending and general sewing. I intend to attempt free hand quilting with it this coming week.
I look forward to many years of quilting and sewing on my new Janome. This is my second Janome machine and I wouldn't purchase another brand, the Janome machines are built to be sturdy and perform well and I have not been disappointed.
Update On Jul 28, 2009: I decided to update this review because I have now been using it for almost a year. I have made six quilt tops, and several smaller projects and still love this machine. It is quiet, has a speed feature which has become my new favorite. There is a sliding switch with a little turtle at one end and a rabbit at the other. You can slide the switch depending on what you are working on to slow down your sewing or speed it up. When I am trying to make sure that I have a scant 1/4" seam I leave it on the turtle, but when I am doing chain sewing I can speed it up so that I can zip through the batch of squares. Janome has machines at all price levels and because I love the two I own it is now my brand of choice.