My name is Maureen, and I've never sewed a stitch in my life, but I'm ready to learn! In a few months (I'm saving up right now), I'm going to buy a machine, but I don't have a clue where to begin. My inspiration is home decor: pillows, blankets, and quilts (is quilting the same as sewing?!). I'd also like to be able to hem pants and skirts. My budget is tight, around $600. Of course I'll visit some local dealers, but I'm wary of getting caught in a sales pitch. So I was hoping that Sew-What's-New, seeming like a very positive/helpful community, could shed some light on my search. For example, which functions should be on a "must have" list, and which functions should a novice avoid? Any, ANY information or resource suggestions would be HUGELY appreciated! Thanks, y'all!