My poor defunct Janome machine
So I had no choice - it was time to go shopping! :-) :-) :-)
I posted on the forum at Folksy to ask the lovely people over there for some suggestions as to what machine to get, and as usual they were all very helpful. I eventually decided on a Silver 9000E. It is computerised with over 200 stitches including embroidery and 3 Alphabet fonts. It also comes supplied with practically every sewing foot you can think of including a walking foot, and it sews through thick layers. The deal clincher was the price, £299 which is about £100 cheaper than comparable machines. I bought it online and got free next day delivery and a free gift! What more can a girl ask for?
So far it's working like a dream and I love the 'needle down' option.
My shiny new Silver 9000E !