Registration is very simple. On the "Upcoming Workshops" page, choose the workshop you would like to attend, select whether to pay your deposit or the full amount, and add it to your cart like any other web store. Please, if you have any special parts needs or questions, let us know what machine you will be bringing (if you have decided). It helps us better prepare for any individual needs you may have.
First and foremost, bring your desire to learn and your sense of humor. You will need them both, as we not only gain skills and knowledge but we have fun! Secondly, bring something you can learn the most from. A nice 301 in working order is welcome always, but you will learn more skills that you can use later from a rusty and dirty (even frozen) older machine.
Please try to bring a complete machine, or at minimum one with a bobbin, shuttle (if your machine uses one), and a spare needle will be helpful too. If you are missing slide plates or some other part that isn't critical to the machine's operation, we can work around that. Let us know beforehand and, if at all possible) we will order and bring the part you need.
Please let us know as soon as you have registered what machine you have and what is missing. I will do my best to locate the needed part(s) and have it with me at the time of the workshop. I cannot promise I will get them, as many parts have been out of production for decades. I do have many parts machines though and may be able to bring what you need.
There are several vendors who carry lots of parts for more common machines and we try to bring a lot of that stuff with us. For parts we don't keep, my personal recommendation is our friends at https://store.woodlandquiltworks.com/ for a large selection of antique and vintage sewing machine parts.
We are often asked about bringing treadles or hand cranks, and of course they are welcome! This workshop is primarily for older machines. We also have some who want to convert a machine to a hand crank during the workshop and that is fine too. We try to keep plenty of hand cranks with us. If you need a spoked handwheel for the conversion, please let us know ahead of time. Although we try to keep to or three of those, we do run out occasionally when someone suddenly buys all we have. Giving us a heads-up that you are going to want one will prompt us to hold on to one just in case.
Yes, it says Moron Parts because that is the way "more on" is pronounced here in KY. ;-)
We will have on hand things like pedals, new universal motors, cord assemblies, bobbin winder rings, tension springs, spool pins, and other parts that fit a variety of machines. We also keep some of the more common slide plates like the Singer 66/99 and 27/127. Some parts that are specific to only a single model or parts for less common machines (like old Whites or Nationals for example), we might just happen to have it but don't bet on it. Ask ahead of time.
Although the workshop curriculum is designed primarily for domestic machines, there are many industrial-class machines that are that are just over-sized machines built like their smaller siblings (such as the Singer 96 or 34). "Industrial" isn't the issue, it is that some specialty machines are very complicated and take more time than is available in a 2-day workshop. If you wish to bring an industrial, please bring one that you are somewhat comfortable with taking apart and reassembling. With 10 other people, I can't ignore all the others because of one very complicated machine that is taken apart and the take-aparter can't remember how to put it back together. I'm fine with helping because that is what I am there for, but I can't spend half the 2nd day figuring out how to reassemble an unfamiliar machine that I didn't take apart. It is a bit unfair to the others in the group. :-)
We want everyone to know that we supply all needed tools for the workshop but you are more than welcome to bring your own too.
If you have a cordless drill and/or Dremel-style rotary tool,
these are heavily used and it never hurts to have plenty. We bring along 3 rotary tools and two heavy-duty cordless drills, which usually suffices even if no one brings their own. We do provide buffing wheels and such too.
Also, we ask that everyone bring a roll of the blue "Shop Towels."
We have had a lot of problems trying to launder all the cotton towels we bring because campgrounds with laundry facilities is hit and miss. If everyone brings their own roll of Shop Towels for wiping and cleaning, we can be assured there are enough cotton towels to use polishing, buffing, etc.
If you have some specific tools that you like to use, you are welcome to bring them. However, screwdrivers with a tapered tip are not suitable for sewing machine service and repair and I ask you as respectfully as I can not to bring or use them (I will explain why in detail during the workshop). This includes just about any screwdrivers commonly found at most hardware and auto parts stores, Walmart, Sears, etc. Even most screwdrivers sold by high-end vendors such as Snap-On and Mac have tapered tips!
If you are familiar with "hollow-ground" screwdrivers and are already using these type, then you are welcome to bring and use those (if you prefer).
Our workshops focus primarily on the machine and not its means of power, so the electrical stuff is addressed only if we can get the machines together and sewing. Due to the laws and regulations pertaining to electrical work varying greatly from state to state and insurance company lawyers being always on the prowl, I cannot personally rewire machines. I can replace parts in workshops, such as wiring assemblies, lights, etc. I can (if time allows) explain how to rewire a machine. I can, however, watch you wire one and point here and there in order to show you what to do next. :-)
We find that more participants fear this part the most, yet learn the most and gain the most confidence during this part of the workshop. Taking her apart, learning ways to remember where the parts came from, learning proper screwdriver selection and use, and some fun ways of freeing up the frozen!
We have found that one of the best methods available to removed rust is Evaporust. It is non-toxic and removes rust quickly and efficiently so the workshop doesn't stall waiting on slower methods. We will cover some other methods if time allows (and debunk some useless ones). We do not use vinegar o other corrosive methods that remove rust but also damage the metal that is not rusty. Counter-productivity is not something we encourage. :-)
We will use several different products to clean your machine depending on what part we are cleaning and its condition. We use denatured alcohol and other solvents, Brasso, lots of Gojo, and other products that I have found over the years to be not only effective but SAFE on machines and decals. We do not use Gojo on all machines! The method of cleaning is specific to each machine and we care about the safety of your machine! We will show you how to assess a machine and decide which method is safe for that specific machine.
The question I am most asked is, "How do you get your machines so shiny?" Well, you will learn how to make everything shine, from that dull paint to that rusted hand wheel, down to each individual screw head. Although the most time-consuming part of the workshop, this is where your machine actually begins to show her true potential.
As we begin to put her back together, we detail each piece and be sure it looks as good as it can. Each individual part of your machine has the potential to make or break the final appearance. Even if your machine goes together easily, you will learn from the other machines in the room as we call attention to issues and solve the problem as a group.
Tweaking, adjusting, and making her sew. Since the tensioners and other major parts have been removed and replaced, we must work through issues to make her sew again. Without the use of manuals, we attempt to time the machine, set the needle correctly, how to thread a machine by just knowing a couple easy to remember tips, and (once we have made a stitch) adjust her to sew like new!
From time to time we have had questions concerning specific dietary requirements (sugar, gluten, nuts, pork, etc.) and this is how we address that. While we do not want to exclude anyone, we leave the menu completely to the hosts' discretion. We do not dictate what they must serve nor assume any control over what participants bring to share with the group or snack on. We only ask that the host provide a simple lunch each day and leave it to them to decide what to provide.
If you have any dietary needs that are specifically health-related, it is our suggestion that you consider bringing your own lunch so that there is no risk of misunderstanding. If there are certain foods that, in being in the general vicinity of cause a health or allergic risk (such as nuts) we cannot in any way guarantee the absence of such things. If you have concerns that are legitimate health concerns, please contact us. We can't promise a solution but we can at least look into it.
I understand that some things don't smell good to everyone, but that is not something we can go out of the way to control or cater to. The smell of coconut (or anchovies) over an extended time makes me nauseous, but I will not tell a host or participants they cannot bring and eat it in the workshops. If you like coconut-anchovy meringue pie, bring it and eat it, I won't say a word. On the other hand, I love kimchi but I know it might make other folks uneasy, so I'm not likely to crack open a jar at lunch. My point is this; If a participant brings something to share with the group or snack on, and it happens to be something that you find disagreeable, we will just have to overcome the issues as best we can. We want everyone to have a good (and safe) time, but at the same time I won't attempt to prevent the group as a whole from enjoying something (like coconut) simply because one person finds the odor disagreeable.
If you are overly-sensitive to certain odors, sounds, etc. please consider there may be many odors and some loud noises. This is, obviously, a workshop setting. While we try to use cleaning products and methods that are low-odor and most of the time can be done at the kitchen or coffee table, some things (such as Brasso) will put off an odor that is a bit stinky to some folks. At times there may be 4-6 Dremel tools running at the same time. This is not extremely loud but it is louder than sitting in front of a single sewing machine while it stitches. I also, on occasion, use an electric hammer that is a bit loud. While I try to warn everyone before I pull the trigger, sometimes I forget and everyone in the room is startled. Just putting that out there so there are no surprises. :-)
I realize that stairs or excessive distances (from parking to the workshop location) can be very stressful to some folks and we do everything in our power to keep this to a minimum. I trust in our hosts judgement when securing a location but there have been locations that presented obstacles to some individuals. We overcame it, but we have tried to get better in at least letting those signing up know ahead of time if there are long stairs or distances to cover. If you have concerns, and there is no mention of stairs or distance in the description of the workshop you are interested in, please feel free to contact either us or the host to inquire. If you happen to contact a host and find that there are issues that we are not aware of (because they are not mentioned) please let us know so we can pass that information along. If you are hosting a workshop and there are hurdles, please be sure to let us know so we can add that to the workshop description.