I asked the same question on the other sewing machine form, but didn't really get a good answer, so I started messing around to see what worked. Simply put, no, the Q foot is NOT a free-motion foot. However, I found that I WAS able to use it to free-motion quilt. I didn't try using it for applique or anything, but did use it to free-motion quilt a quilt sandwich (basically a layer of batting between two pieces of quilting cotton).
It worked quite well. To do it, I dropped my feed dogs (for me, this was a matter of just flipping a switch on the back of the machine), set my stitch length to zero, put the foot down, and sewed. Go REALLY slowly at start, because if you move the fabric too quickly and the needle is down in the fabric, you can break a needle. The only downside I found was that because the toe isn't open, it can be sort of difficult to see the stitches immediately next to where you are sewing, but overall, it works quite well.
Good luck, and please post to let us know how it worked out for you.
I also say go with Brother. They make very high quality machines, and I really like my $300 Brother over my mom's $500 Singer. I've also had a lower end Brother (around $100) that worked very well. I have to say though, I'm not a fan of their low-end electronic machines (the ones with the LED screens). I would say either go for the most expensive non-digital one you can find, or go with a mid-to-high range digital machine.
I think they're pretty legit, but it's really not that hard to learn to digitize yourself, provided your logo is fairly simple. Stitch Era Universal is a free program (Google for downloads), and has an auto-digitize function that's fairly simple to use. If this sounds too complicated, go ahead and give digitizing a try (or you could PM me, and maybe I'll do it for you for free if it's a simple logo).
There is a way to change the order as far as which part of a multi-color embroidery design sews first, but bear in mind that if the stitches overlap one another (eg; a completely brown dog with white spots. If you embroider it in reverse, the spots will be covered up by the brown if you sew them out of order). To do it, you just need to manually select which part of the design to embroider, and select your own order. To do this, stop the machine, select "adjust", and then select the menu option that looks like a spool of thread, and select the +/- keys to select which part of the design to embroider. These directions might not be 100% correct, but look at the manual, and there should be a section on redo-ing a color if you make a mistake. These same instructions can be adapted to change the order everything is sewn in.
You can try knitting non-conventional materials as well. There's "plarn", which you can make from leftover grocery bags. You could also try your hand at knitting some very fine gauge wire to make bendable, moldable things. Or knit things that don't get worn---- bags, potholders, rugs, tea cozies, etc. Or, get a head start on some Christmas/Holiday presents. It's nice to knit warm clothing items in the middle of the summer knowing that later in the year they'll make someone happy, and that'll leave wintertime to knit warm things for yourself when you can really enjoy the process.
I own a three sewing machines as well as a serger (the sewing machines are by Brother, the serger by Singer--- just the cheap $200 one). The reason that I got the serger was because I wasn't able to do any overlock stitches on my first machine. I think I could probably live without my serger. Major perks: no switching sewing machine feet to alternate functions. I can have both set up and running at the same time to go back and forth between the too. Also, that handy built-in knife to trim along the edge is useful, but dulls rather quickly. I think I need to get it replaced.
Downside: I think it's a little more difficult to find instruction for sergers. Youtube didn't yield much when I was trying to learn, but I'm sure a class would teach you all you need to know.
So after not properly doing my homework, I realized that my new Brother SE-400 machine didn't actually come with a free-motion foot. I was wondering if I have to actually purchase this foot, or if I could use one of the other included feet to do this, provided I drop the feed dogs first. I have the following feet for the machine: buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, zipper foot, button fitting foot, monogramming foot, blind stitch foot, embroidery foot.
Anybody with thoughts/experience on the subject? Thanks in advance.
PS: I absolutely LOVE this machine, by the way, for anyone considering getting it. I updated from the basic 25-stitch Brother machine ($75 from Walmart), and this has been the best investment ever. The embroidery functions are idiot-proof, it stitches well, and has all sorts of neat features that I had never used before. Love it!
My mom and I have both been working on a blog documenting our journey through a book we have, "A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!". The book suggests doing a project a day using the 365 prompts (eg: Create a unique mask using any materials you like, or Create something in the steam on a bathroom mirror), but we've decided to tackle just two projects a week so that we can put some more effort into each one. Today's prompt required my to make something camoflauged, so rather than making something actually blend into the background, I decided to use camo material (we've chosen to follow the prompts rather loosely).
I used an old pair of ratty shorts to draft a pattern, and came up with these. The original shorts didn't have any pockets, but I managed to make up some hipfront pockets (also known as inset pockets.) There are some pretty easy tutorials if you just google how to make these.
I absolutely love my shorts, and can't wait to wear them tomorrow. Pretty glad to have these too--- it's 105 degrees out, and my wardrobe consists mostly of pants.