On making house calls

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I hear so often from people around me that they're having trouble fixing something or learning something in the sewing world. It could be a new sewing machine, could be some new technology, or could be a problem getting a machine running or whatever. So I decided to offer my expertise and charge for it. I have the expertise in some areas and I'm good at tinkering so I can usually figure out things that I don't know.

Normally, people come to me but depending on the circumstances, I go to them. Yesterday I went to her house. Why?? There was a long arm involved, connectivity issues on her WiFi, plus the number of devices involved that it just made sense that I went there.

It was an intense day, but I'm happy to report that the long arm (that has sat for months) is now up and running and it was a pretty easy fix! Should I tell you what the problem was? Well, for starters, the needle was backward. Once we got that fixed, then we played around with the speed and life was good!!

Now - it's an easy thing to put the needle in backward if you don't know about the type of needles that go in a long arm. Needles in your sewing machine have a flat surface on one side of the shank of the needle. The flat surface always goes to the back. Needles for long arms do NOT have that flat surface so you need to pay a wee bit more attention to how it goes in. There's a groove that runs along the shaft of the needle - that groove needs to be in the front so the thread has a place to run down to the eye.

Anyway - it was an easy fix and no need to call support. I love those kinds of sessions. So all is great for that customer - as long as she doesn't mess things up! Which is easy to do. There's so much technology that marries our devices together.

Now here's the other thing and this is advice for all of us. WRITE DOWN YOUR PASSWORDS. I know that we're not supposed to, but seriously with all the configurations that are required these days, it's hard to remember what password is for what. You can even buy a small book that is just for writing down your passwords. I refuse to buy one and instead, I have a small notebook where I write down the necessary information.

Here's the other thing - write down the user name. Sometimes it's your e-mail address, other times, it's something else. The more that we become connected to the internet, the more important this becomes. Yes - Google and other websites will manage the passwords for you - there are options. But I spent a LOT of time fussing with passwords in the past and now I'm trying to get them all tidied up.

I wouldn't move onto the next step yesterday until those passwords were written into a book. Now the key will be - will the book get lost??? But we won't go there! That's out of my hands.

It was an all-day affair and then I was off to my sewing class. I didn't have time to get home which I knew I wouldn't. I was hoping to stop in Hamilton to check out European Textiles, but there was no time for that either. But now that I know what we need for class, I'll be making a trip - probably this weekend when traffic is less.

Thank goodness for doing some research before. I knew where the Mohawk Campus was having ridden my bike there on several occasions when I did The Ride to Conquer Cancer. That was the stopping point overnight. But where on the campus to park a car? And where was the classroom? So I had checked out the maps and classroom assignments before heading out yesterday. Smart!!! I stopped and asked a parking guy and got excellent directions. I also asked how the parking worked. I had purchased a parking pass. The fact that I had done all that before I went is incredible. Normally, I'd fly by the seat of my pants.

Anyway - you buy a pass, but you don't get a physical pass. How does that work? Well, the parking guy showed me how they do it. He drives a little cart - all nice and enclosed for the weather. There's a big scanner on top. They scan all the license plates as they drive around and if you're in the database - great. If you're not - you get a ticket! I bet they wait until 7 PM (classes start at 6:30) and then he zips around the parking lots checking plates.

I had also checked out the room number before I went and thank goodness for that. That place is like a maze, but I managed to find the room easily. I wasn't sure what to expect. Was this going to be a workshop type room? Industrial sewing machines? Nope - it was a plain ordinary room and yes they have sewing machines, but they are older models tucked into a closet. No worries. We can take our own if we want.

There are ten of us in the class - some young, some not so young, some skinny, some not so skinny. I think it's a good mix, but ethnically, there's no mix at all. And all of us are women. Interesting! Although I'd love to see a gentleman making a skirt!

So we're making a skirt. We have a choice of three patterns as the items to be covered in the program are very specific. Waistband, zipper, lining and a vent. ACK!!! I've made skirts before, but not with a vent and I don't think I've ever lined a skirt. But - I think it's going to be just what I wanted. Yes - there is loads of stuff that I already know and that's OK. Thankfully she didn't ask us what our backgrounds were or why we were in the class. I'm not breathing a word of my background. No one needs to know.

Here's one of the choices. Butterick B5466 View B or C.

McCalls' M8004 View B

KwikSew K3877 or K2957

Hmmm - I'm thinking that Kwik Sew patterns are not the easiest to find around here so that eliminates those two. And of the other two - I think I like the Butterick one better. I'll be checking it out later today or tomorrow. I have another private class today - this time the topic is totally different and involves design.

Over half of the marks in the class are for making SAMPLES, not for making the garment. How to make darts, pressing, hand sewing and a whole lot more. And we can keep making the samples until we get it perfect. She should not have said that! Not that I'm competitive or anything! I think it's going to be a lot of fun and I look forward to next week. I think I'm going to start by using one of their machines. It's just for making samples, but if I'm not happy, then I'll take my own sewing machine the following week.

I'd like to take a quick moment and thank Ronda for getting us hooked on this darn Virtual Challenge. I'm obsessed with getting steps. While I did 13,000 yesterday, that didn't help with the deficit that I'm in. I knew it wasn't going to be a good day, but today will be different. It won't be as long so I can get some more steps in later this afternoon. I'm already over 7,000 for the day. That's a story for another day.

Here's something that we can all take away from this. I saw a sign at the gym this morning - ONE POSITIVE ACTION. I thought that was pretty clever. You decide what the positive action is - but it could be anything. Imagine how our life would be different if we all took ONE positive action each and every day. After a while, many of them would become habits. And then - well - who knows what would happen. We'd all be perfect! Just kidding - that's never going to happen!

OH - I have something for you today. I found this great article that you can print out (it's a one-pager) on sewing machine tension. Here's the direct link to it. And if that doesn't work, I downloaded it for free from The Fat Quarter Shop. If you don't understand this, you should. Get some scrap fabric and some contrasting threads and play with that tension dial. DO NOT rely on the auto settings.

There's going to be a test on needles and tension! So brush up on those two very important topics!!!

On that note - have a super day!!!!


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