Accommodations, Dining & Transportation
There are many places to stay close by. Previously I’d recommended the Sandia Peaks Inn Motel, 4614 Central SW, 87105 but some people have had issues (traffic noise etc). I was able to negotiate a group discount there; ask for Kay @ 505-831-5036. Tell her you’re with the ABQFI Boot Camp. She’s offering a rate of 49.95 on a single king or 59.95 on a double queen. The motel is walking distance of the factory (.6 mi or 1K). You can also get an airbnb; it’s not hard to find a place. If your travel budget is tight, continue reading below for options.
Dining is easy too with plenty of places around here to eat. Speaking of, the factory has a full kitchen so you can bring food to share as well as have coffee etc each morning (some people have breakfast at the factory). Lunches of course, are catered. In the evenings, the attendees usually pick a place to meet for dinner and drinks. This is discussed in the end of day meeting and posted to the white board in the cutting room.
If you’re staying close by, you probably won’t need a car. You could even take the city bus from the airport to the downtown station and then take any bus going west on Central (a bus every 10-15 minutes). If you can’t walk far for whatever reason, let somebody know. These situations are very fluid and informal but we work together and get it done. I know it’s kind of crazy to go to a new town, meet a lot of strangers and just hang hope on it working out but it does. We are often able to arrange airport pick up and drop off. Two weeks before the event, we send out an email requesting itineraries to facilitate any transportation needs.
If you’re really tight on travel funds and aren’t too particular, you may be able to stay here at the factory. We have some air mattresses and bedding but don’t guarantee anything; it should be discussed in advance. The factory has a full kitchen, shower and 2 bathrooms. I should mention that we don’t allow any meat cooking in the factory altho microwaving it is mostly fine except for fish and bacon -nothing smelly please. We also have a washing machine and dryer on site. Contact me for more info.
As an aside, it is common that people want to share a hotel room with someone. If you have extra space or you need that space, let me know so we can put you together. Again, I know it is kind of strange to go to a new city and bunk with someone you’ve never met but I’m pretty good at pairing people up; it has worked out very well.
When to Arrive and Depart
I get a lot of questions about when to arrive and depart. Keep in mind that the 4 days are solid work days and it is best to arrive in Albuquerque the day before and leave the day after. Because there seems to be residual confusion, I asked Jamie who has attended every boot camp, to write something up for you. She says:
Participating in ABQFI boot’s camp is hard and exciting work. I’m excited to meet all of you in the coming weeks and months. The boot camp really is just that, a boot camp. We are striving to achieve a wonderful goal in a short amount of time. Because of this, every moment really counts and we need you to be ready to work the full 4 days. When you are making your travel plans, it’s best to think of the days at the factory as a full work day. Please make your travel plans accordingly. I strongly advise that you arrive the day or night before and plan to leave the day after. If you have any questions or concerns or just want to chat about boot camp, feel free to email me at onlyjamiehATgmailDOTcom
It is also possible to come earlier and or stay longer. We depend on volunteers to help get everything ready and clean up once we’re done. We have other tasks we’re working on before the official start date (see Schedule below) that you may want to be involved with.
I’ve created a sample production event schedule (pdf) that beyond minor details, will help you plan your days at boot camp. The regular session (Friday through Monday) begins at 7:30 AM every day except Friday, when we start at 7:00 AM.
Early arrivals: Because there are optional days you can attend, we have a policy about early arrivals. In a nutshell, if you have never been to bootcamp, you must arrive at 9 AM for a tour and safety orientation on whichever day it is that you come. More specifically, if you want to see pattern grading, pattern auditing and markers made, you should be at the factory by 9 AM on Wednesday. If you want to participate in fabric spreading and cutting, and want to help with that, be here on Thursday morning. Thursday is a day that we do a lot of training so it is helpful if people come early.
If you can help put the factory back together when the event is over, consider staying an extra day (Tuesday). Many people have come over on Tuesday morning to help before their flights leave later in the day. It’s also a great way to get a ride to the airport.
Below is a basic outline of daily events but the following applies to each day: We have a daily all-hands meeting at 7:30 AM so if you need breakfast or coffee, come sooner. Remember, the first day you need to be here ready to work at 7 AM. We finish each day at 5:00 PM. There is an optional dining activity (TBD) in the evening.
DAY 1 (Friday)
We are running 2 tracks the first day and you can switch back and forth between them. We will conducting sewing tests and that sounds much more ominous than it is. Basically, we assess your skills and interests (maybe you don’t even want to sew and that is okay). We can help you build skills with the equipment, get some one on one coaching and see where you feel comfortable fitting in. Through out the process, you will be encouraged to move onto other operations if you want to. You just need to let the coaches know and get certified on the new operation. I’ve been training sewing operators for a long time, even those who have never used a sewing machine. But I digress; our first day will focus on these two areas:
- Track One: Fabric cutting, shade marking, fusing, marking, creating sewing bundles, attaching sewing tickets and labels. All of this information is INVALUABLE in organizing production. You can find “industrial” sewing tips all over the web, 98% of dubious quality but there is NO instruction on any of these topics, anywhere.
- Track Two: Machine and sewing training, sample making and sub assemblies. We will be sewing sample mock ups to familiarize people with operations. Ideally people can help with work instructions so people can get an idea of the different operations that will be needed.
You are strongly encouraged to “apply” for any sewing position but again, you can switch jobs too. I will be also training the coaches on how to train you. We may even start production if people are up to it. Last time, people were chomping at the bit by lunch time. We can do that provided our cutting room is ready to pass us some bundles.
DAY 2 (Saturday)
We sew. A lot. Be advised that if you leave your machine to take a break (you can take one whenever you want), somebody else will probably have your machine and is sewing your bundle when you return. At least that is what has been happening so you’ve been warned :).
DAY 3 (Sunday)
We sew some more.
DAY 4 (Monday)
Finish sewing, inspecting, and packaging.
There is very limited parking so it is best to car pool to the factory if you can. I’ve created a map that shows the Sandia hotel and amenities in relation to the factory, and available spots around the building.
My neighbors have never complained about my visitor’s parking and I’d like to keep it that way. If you have a car, you’ll need to be assigned a parking pass as part of the intake process.
Prepare an introduction: On our first day, we will introduce ourselves at the morning huddle. Please prepare a 30 second or less, introduction. Brevity is key; were everyone to limit their intro to 30 seconds, it will take at least 30 minutes to get through them all as there is always a bit of chatter (encouraged). This is the main reason we start at 7:00 AM on the first day.
Show and Tell: At the end of the day on the last two days, we do a Show and Tell. You’re not required to participate but we all enjoy seeing products from other people’s businesses or personal projects. It is a hands on demonstration and a lot of fun. There is no restriction on selling so feel free to sell or take orders. The factory always has fabric and related items to sell.
Upon arrival at the factory: Head straight back through the sewing room, Kathleen’s office and into the kitchen where the boot camp registrar will get you signed in, and issue you a badge and a parking pass.
Keys: The front security door of the factory doesn’t close without locking. We have a constant problem of people leaving the front door hanging open with the keys in the lock. I’m beside myself over it. If you are the last person through the door, LOCK IT. Otherwise, anyone walking by can see the keys hanging from the lock and steal them. Then I’ll have to re-key every door and replace every padlock in this factory (11 padlocks, 7 doors) at the drop of a hat. For a time, picking and re-keying locks was one of my fun-filled leisure activities but I do not want to do it at the end of a long day. At the first infraction, I will permanently lock the front door and everyone will be inconvenienced by having to walk all the way around the factory to the back entrance. As a practical matter, many people find walking around to be easier since they don’t have to wait for someone to answer the door.
Daily departure: I like for everyone to leave as close to 5 as is possible. Generally there is an evening activity planned so it’d be great if people could socialize then (I don’t attend except on the last night). I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having everyone around but I will be socially depleted and desperate, frantic for solitude by the end of the day. I need downtime before I can even go home or I will not sleep. Without downtime, I will be too raw or crispy the next day.
Autism: The ringleader (me, Kathleen) of this whole shooting match is autistic; diagnosed 20 years ago. I’ve learned to fake it pretty well but it doesn’t mean I’ve “overcome” it; I have to work a lot harder to function at the level I do. It is best that you are as direct as possible (no hinting around or subtext). Occasionally I lose speech and can’t talk (to explain an answer to your question or whatever) -in these cases be patient and if possible, be reassuring to me because I’m trying not to panic and may have to have someone else help you. I tend to get upset if people don’t follow rules -the reasons for which are fully justified but I don’t have time to explain why (if you ask me what time it is, I’ll tell you how to build a clock)). Jamie says this post I wrote on Quora is good to start with. I recently found this site that I like too.