Fabric!  I’m so excited and terrified and think I might sew through a finger.  Anne makes me take Mr. Pointer Finger and try to stuff him under the needle, claiming that it would be pretty darn difficult to accidentally sew myself in.  Point taken.

Today’s task is to continue the line theme but on fabric.  So step 1 is to thread the needle.  Lucky for me, we chose Baby Lock Presto machines here at The Create Workspace and they have self-threading needles.  Yup, you read that right.  Needles that thread THEMSELVES.  We’re living in the future, folks.

How does this sorcery work?  The kind engineers at Baby Lock have made this incredibly simple, even for those of us with spatial relations issues (ahem).  Once the spool is tucked into its little home, you literally wind the thread through the numbers on the machine.  It’s like a maze, but with the correct path all laid out for you.

The final step, number 9 (number 9…number 9…number 9…no Beatles fans here?  Just me?), is a big lever on the side of the machine.  One big push of the lever and the machine pops the thread through the needle’s eye, with a small loop sticking out the opposite side.  All one has to do is grab that small loop and pull it through.

Donesie!  One of my larger middle school sewing crises thoroughly averted from here on out.  Oh, and the bobbin?  Drop it in.  Done.

And now, fabric.  Anne procured me a perfect starting piece:  a scrap of quilting cotton with stripes ¼” wide.  The goal is to sew right down the center of the stripe without wavering.  I pick a light stripe at the center of the scrap and set to work.

First line goes reasonably well.  A bit wavy, but hey, it’s my first go and I didn’t sew my finger in (I know, Anne, I know).  Full of newfound and ill-placed confidence, I go for one of the red stripes.  Here’s the thing:  it’s a lot harder to stay straight without that lovely contrasted border between the green and red to serve as a guide.  Light red next to dark red presents a bit of a challenge.

Nevertheless, I persevere.  Ok, not the straightest lines in the universe, but a step forward on this novice’s journey.  Onward!


No more stalling, time to face the machine.  I’ve procrastinated nicely, starting by making myself my new favorite morning treat:  a cappuccino made with Fairlife chocolate milk (yes, I know, but don’t knock it till you try it).

But now even that is gone, so it is time to begin.

Anne has kindly agreed to take me on as her student and has suggested that we start slow.  I knew I liked her.

So task one is to work on straight lines.  Anne’s tactic here is no thread, no fabric.  This feels a bit like the “Friends” episode where Phoebe wants Joey to learn guitar without an actual guitar.

Anyway, we’re starting today with just the machine’s needle and a small piece of lined paper.  The goal is to keep the settings at low and slow, just working on control.  Follow the lines on paper and let the track of tiny holes show you how you’re doing.

Ok, so this is a brilliant way to begin.  My first few attempts felt like I was back in high school driver ed, afraid to give a powerful machine too much gas.  I stopped to ask Anne if I could ruin a sewing machine with too many starts and stops, grinding down those lovely gears.  She told me to just keep going.

Line by line by line by line.  Slow going and I’m nowhere near perfect on those lines, but I’m at least getting a feel for the machine.  By the end of our session, we even took it up to medium (ludicrous speed will have to wait), and I didn’t die.  Though I may have hyperventilated a bit.  Mostly my eyes just teared up a lot.  I think this is the result of not blinking ever.  Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a perfectionist?

Anyway, paper now thoroughly lined.  Next.