Accommodations, Schedule and Parking


I was able to negotiate a group discount at the Sandia Peaks Inn Motel, 4614 Central SW, 87105 . You are to 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). There are 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.

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. Let us know by emailing your itinerary once it is set. You will be sent a reminder to send your itinerary so we can arrange pick ups from the airport and hotels.

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 fine -except for fish. No microwaving or cooking of fish is allowed. 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 minimally, you should come the day before and leave the day after. Because there seems to be residual confusion, I asked Jamie who is an alum, having 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

In short, please plan to arrive the day before and to leave the day after. You could also stay an extra day if you can help us put this place back together and finish packaging of the products. If you arrive early enough and need something to do, come over to the factory. It is really fun to have people just drop in. Kind of like Christmas.


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.

There are also optional days you can attend. For example, if you want to see pattern grading, pattern auditing and markers made, you should be at the factory by 7:30 AM on Wednesday. If you want to learn about spreading fabric for cutting and want to help with that, be here on Thursday morning. Thursday is also a day we train cutters so if you think that would be fun, make plans to attend that. 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: Cutting the fabric, 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, 90% of dubious quality but there is NO instruction on any of these topics, anywhere.
  • Track Two: Sewing training and sample making. We will be sewing sample garments and 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 :). Also, you will need to collect your sewing tickets as this is how you will get “paid”. Yes, we run everything on a piece work system. Piece work is not the absolute best way to pay and organize production but it is a good start and an excellent way to cost products. The best way for us to teach through example is to use it ourselves. But anyway, you will get a pay stub for each bundle and operation that you complete. At the end of the fourth day, the highest earners (in descending order) get to pick their “pay” from the goodie box (for which you’ve been asked to bring something to contribute).

DAY 3 (Sunday)

We sew some more.

DAY 4 (Monday)

Finish sewing, inspecting, and packaging.

the factory1


There is very limited parking so car pool to the factory if you can. I’ve created a map that shows the hotel and amenities in relation to the factory, a larger parking map and the image at left (above). If you click on it, you can see a larger version.

Last but not least is the Reading List and suggested practices. That’s on another page as it will evolve over time.

Miscellaneous Stuff

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).

Show and Tell: On the last day after the gift exchange (see “optional” on the tools and supplies page), 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.

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, issue you a badge, a parking pass and collect your emergency contact information.

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.

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 nearly 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. Try to be patient with me if it becomes an issue. I’ll stick some links in here later if you are curious about how it affects me.

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