So, I'm currently working on what I'm calling the 'Travel Quilt'. The star fabrics are sort of vintage travel with an old postcard feel, postage stamps and vintage bicycles. I have been playing around with designing the quilt in Photoshop with the fabric samples so that I can get a feel for how it will look when it's done. After talking to my wonderful quilting teacher, Karen, about my concerns of too much pattern and about wanting to incorporate some vintage touches like embroidery in the design, she suggested using a neutral off-white and tone-on-tone embroidery in the 6x6 blocks.
Well, let me tell you what that set in motion! I found the most amazing site for embroidery patterns, Urban Threads, where they have some off kilter, and completely my style, designs! I found some great Steampunk collections which would match this quilt beautifully and that I can think of using on easily a dozen other projects :) They actually offer their designs in 3 different formats; machine, hand, and digi-art. I love that flexibility!
Of course, I don't have an embroidery machine, so that set me spinning another direction. I was reading reviews, checking Craigslist, Ebay, etc. I was in love with this Singer Futura CE-250. I found a great review here. It is a few years old and I don't see a follow up on how much she likes it now that she's had time to play with it. But it sounds like she was looking for exactly what I am in a machine, something that I can use my own designs with, that has a larger embroidered size hoop, and doesn't break the bank.
I just started looking at the Singer Futura SEQS-6000 and it looks like it's pretty awesome. Does anyone have any other recommendations that fit the bill?