When my wife Diane opened her sewing machine dealership in 1987 she ran it solo for several years. I continued writing software and doing computer consulting until I got burned out. She had grown the business to the point that she needed full-time help and I was happy to oblige. There was much to learn!

The first thing I learned was that to sell sewing machines you must be able to demonstrate how they are used. I had no problem just running a straight stitch down a piece of demo fabric, but when it came to demonstrating how to use the various feet I made a lot of mistakes. Proudly showing off the automatic buttonhole on the Memory Craft 8000, I failed to pull down the buttonhole sensing lever. Of course the buttonhole just kept going in one direction. (In spite of this, I made the sale!)

When we retired I decided to return to the world of computers, focusing on the Apple iPhone and iPad. Although I had been programming for 44 years, these devices were very different from any I had ever worked on before. Fortunately I had my oldest son to  mentor me as I developed the first version of FootBook. He made me start over no less than three times, as my first clumsy efforts were not acceptable! I’m not sure how much of that was payback, but it worked out for the best. Now, seven years later, I am very much at home with the devices and the software.

The art of sewing is a lot like that. My first attempts at free motion quilting were absurdly awful. Even now I am unable to do more than a couple of loops before the stitch lengths are completely random. Fortunately I no longer have to demonstrate my lack of skill. The point is, some things require a lot of time and practice to master. There are techniques that help you learn, but trying and failing over and over is the best path to success. With our videos we try to show the best way to learn techniques, with the goal of helping you master them as quickly as possible. The learning process is a lot more fun if you have a clear path to start with. As Henry Ford famously pointed out, there are no failures, only things that don’t work.