A lot of you know I love software and high tech machines and gadgets. I have found them to save me time and give me additional abilities I don’t have on my own.This is to all of you out there who have a piece of software, an attachment for your machine, or a tool (or even a high tech machine!!!) that requires figuring out how to use it and you just haven’t, It’s time to pull it out of the closet or from under the bed or fire it up on your computer and learn to use it. I just saw the comment again on Facebook in response to one of my friend’s posts “I’ve had [whatever] loaded on my computer for a couple of years now and haven’t used it – fear of the ‘unknown’ I really need to find some courage and tackle the fear…” My response is yes, yes you do! You will be rewarded for doing so.
Most everything comes with online manuals and videos these days, and there are a plethora of videos on YouTube or for purchase for nearly every activity. Take this approach:
- Decide you are going to learn to use “THE THING IN THE CLOSET [OR ON THE COMPUTER]” using simple practice or test projects for starters. These would be items you would be willing to throw away or could put in a notebook for future reference…not a present, not something to display. I’m not going to tell you to sit down and read the whole manual, because I never do and I know from my mother that this is a barrier. So I say read the first chapter that has step by step instructions or watch the first how-to video and skim the rest. If THE THING is a machine, you need to look through the manual and see what help it has. You don’t have to read it in depth, just find the helpful pages and maybe put a sticky note on them.
For instance, even though I took the free classes for my Bernina 830, I still needed additional help in learning to run it. I found a whole set of videos on YouTube and over the course of a few days I watched every one. Then I made some test projects for future reference. They were enormously helpful. By the way, I still make test projects before I start a major show quilt, and write on the test with a Sharpie what settings, batting, thread, etc. I used. I also keep a notebook handy with additional reference thoughts.
- Take your project one step at a time. Tell yourself that each step is fairly easy and focus just on that one step. When that is finished do the next. It’s when you start thinking about the whole big picture that you might get bogged down. This may seem intuitive, but you would be surprised how many students and friends I have had that have to make themselves look at one tree (step) at a time rather than the forest (completed project). This is how I learned to tailor men’s suits. I can make a tuxedo that is as fine as any fine tailor in Hong Kong or London can make, and it’s almost all self taught from books and trial and error.
- Let yourself have fun and just play. “Playing” is really just practicing only it sounds more fun…and it is.
- Once you have sort of got a beginning understanding of THE THING…make a simple project for keeps that is just yours…no one else’s.
- Don’t tackle anyone else’s until you are really comfortable with THE THING.
I hope you will try this. I hope you don’t feel I am talking condescendingly to you. I really want you to find comfort with the tools you have at your disposal. These advanced software tools, attachments, and machines have magnificent features that can speed up your work and allow you to accomplish things you would be very surprised that you can do. You can soar, but only after you practice.
Please put a comment on my blog if you have THE THING hiding out in your closet or computer or some such.
Sew happy everyone…and go take out THE THING and let yourself play.