I've recently moved countries and am without a sewing machine. I was thinking of just getting a good basic model, and then a friend of mine told me about the Quantum Futura (made by Singer)... I am now captivated by the idea of getting an embroidery machine. The one I am interested in is the CE-200, because the CE-100 just doesn't seem to come with enough stuff.
I have done some machine sewing and consider myself fairly competent; I've never owned an embroidery machine before.
Question 1: Is the Futura my only option below $1000? (I've looked at reviews on patternreview.com, and most of the others seem to be MUCH more expensive.) I know I'm going to be spending gazillions on supplies anyway, and my bonus wasn't THAT big, so I don't want to go completely nuts spending on the machine. (Also because knowing me and hobbies, there is a nonzero chance that I'll embroider like 3 things with it and then never use it for embroidery again. In which case I would prefer to minimize my guilt.)
Question 2: Has anyone used the Futura (or any other low-cost option, if there is one) and liked it? Hated it? How much of a pain in the butt is the software to use?
Question 3: Is it any good as a sewing machine? I do need a machine to sew with too, and I'd prefer one machine to do it all.
Obviously, I'd ideally like to go to a sewing machine store and play with one of these before deciding whether to buy it or not. But I've already failed my shopping roll a couple of times, so I'm resigning myself to the possibility of playing with Singers in general and then ordering off the web. (Shopping suggestions for the LA area would also not go amiss.)
Thanks in advance for any clues! (Cross-posting to advanced_sewing and machinembroider.)