Do I need a compact sewing machine?
Are you considering taking classes? If so, get a compact machine. They are light and easily transported from your home to the location of the class. Just like any other hobby or discipline, classes are a great idea for the novice. With the tools you learn in the classes it is much more likely that you will get "hooked" on sewing rather than letting the machine collect dust in the corner. Once you are "hooked" get yourself a regular, full sized machine. At this point you will better know what you want out of one as well.
What about the more experienced person