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The shop near me sometimes allows you to borrow one of the demo machines for the weekend so you can really try it before you buy it. You can also just take a class at the shop and ask to use one of their machines so that you can try it.

You might also try going to one of the big quilting shows in your area. They typically have all the new machines being showcased, and you can talk to lots of people about what is good about each machine so that you can hear what they have to say. And you can play with the machines and do some side-by-side comparisons.

I'll probably hit the spring quilting show this year so that I can get a better look at the long-arm machines as well, but I'm also going to make a trek to my local long-arm dealer and see what they have before that so that I can start playing around with them and figure out if I really want one, and if I do, which one it would be.
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