Posted on June 15th, 2016 by Beth Finke
Remember the 9-year-old who wrote a post here for Valentine’s Day about how much she loves her Dad? A lot has happened to DJ Mermaid since that post was published in February. Most importantly, she had a birthday. Our ten-year-old guest blogger has been in a casting program the past couple months, and you can read this post to discover how she came up with her pen name “DJ Mermaid.”
DJ Mermaid still has casts from her hips down to her ankles on both legs, and she’s told me many times that she “doesn’t let her physical disability stop her from doing anything she wants to do.” Her guest post today proves exactly that.
Sew Good Students
by DJ Mermaid
Hey guys, DJ Mermaid here! I’ve gotten back on the guest-blogging trail and I thought this post would be a good way to start off.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I participated in a program with Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. This is a program dedicated to creative design that changes people’s lives for the better. I requested something that would help me with sewing. Two groups of students were assigned to help me with the following problems:
- Driving the fabric efficiently through the sewing machine
- Creating an innovative way to use the pedal
I am unable to use the foot pedal because it’s hard to push with my foot. I usually put the foot pedal on the table and use my hands while mom drives the fabric through the machine. The groups came up with two different solutions.
Solution One: Sew Good
- The Sew Good group came up with a guide constructed of metal to help me drive the fabric. All I had to do was pushpin the fabric onto the guide and keep my hands on the frame in case the fabric started veering off.
- The Sew Good group also created a way for me to use the “foot pedal” with my hands. The students created a box that was able to go to three different speeds simply by turning a knob. The best part about it was that it kept going at a consistent speed I set without any adjustments. The students also painted the box pink and purple. I like those colors. They even used glitter for the writing. I was wowed!
Solution Two: SewMates
- The SewMates group made a voice operated sewing “pedal” — it’s a box I plug into the sewing machine. The box has wires and a chip to record and receive my commands. The students had to use coding to program the commands. The commands are “Robot, Go, Slow, Slower, Fast, Faster and Stop.” I speak into a little microphone on the box, and, magically, the sewing machine goes. It is high tech and I am impressed that they used coding. Coding is awesome, and I do it all the time!
Last Saturday I was eager to try them out. They worked! I sewed a headband by myself with very limited assistance from mom.
And then, guess what? Mom broke the sewing machine. Nice Going, Mom! It may be a while before I am able to try my devices again!
Well, that’s a wrap!