Friday, September 13, 2013

Use it or lose it ...

Marlene Terry
Learned the age-old lesson of "use it or lose it," when I decided it was a great time to return to a skill I "used" years ago, nearly every day. ... And my little part-time job egged me on.
After all how could I demonstrate, teach new owner classes and sell sewing machines if I was "a little rusty" ... and I use the term loosely ... about the machines' functions or in other words, how they worked?

Thought it would be a "piece of cake." That is until I sat down at one of the new models and was expected to make it go, produce amazing stitches and convince prospective customers that they couldn't live without one.

First challenge: Where in the - - - - is the presser foot lever?

Remember the days when all you had to do was reach in back of where the needle was located and lift up a lever?
Nowadays, at least in the more expensive models, it's a computer program for everything. Really!

Touch the presser foot icon and the foot descends or ascends in one of four positions ... low, lower, high and higher.  
Actually you don't have to worry about lowering the presser foot at all. Just step on the foot control (thankfully, that part isn't much different than I remember), the foot snaps down into position and the sewing begins.
... Or  there's the hands only alternative to a foot control. 
Press the stop/go icon, the presser foot lowers and the machine takes off without doing anything else.
... The most important thing to remember with this is, you just need to press the same button to STOP THE MACHINE.

... My first try at that particular function had me screaming and an unsuspecting customer who I was demonstrating to, rattled and ducking out of sight when the fast moving process, sucked in my tiny piece of demo fabric at the speed of light.

... Don't know what my customer was thinking when we hit the floor together after my scream signaled we'd better do SOMETHING. ... But for me, it was just an attempt to get out of the way in case the machine tried to suck us in as well!
Needless to say the experience provided plenty of commotion and laughter for us and for those who had gathered to see what all the noise was about.  ... However there was NO sale!

Lessons learned:
No. 5: Things have changed in the past 20 years.
No. 4: Reading through instructions before operating modern day machines is a good idea.
No. 3: Floors that are hard as well as dirty, are for walking on and not great places to go for protection.
No. 2: Screaming when you're not sure how to control a situation doesn't help.
... And NO. 1: "Use it or Lose it" means you must practice a skill often, or someday you might wake up and ... Poof! It'll be gone!
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