Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last Day in Switzerland

So what has been my favorite things about the trip to Switzerland?

Well...let's see. Touching, sewing on and meeting the new and absolutely amazing Bernina 830 was definitely a high point. It was fun to watch the guys sew on it. It was funnier still to have to share a machine with the guys. I think Therese and I thought that we would get to sew on the machines because the guys weren't interested. WRONG!! We were each edging the other one away from the machine. Henry and Joel were just as interested in getting their projects sewn out nicely and they wanted to do the button pushing and all their own sewing. The threading of the machine was likely the most fun. It literally threads the whole needle by itself. So automatic and beautiful that it was almost surprising to us.

Meeting the people of the Bernina factory, realizing that they actually put these machines together, tool the parts in Switzerland and are a family-owned company with a real sense of pride in their work was an amazing journey for us to make. We donned work goggles and walked through the whole plant. Seeing that a Bernina employee hand tests every BSR foot, another inspects every presser foot and that the feet are all manufactured right in the plant was amazing. Their care to detail was so impressive.

The factory is located in idyllic Steckborn. People walk and bike to work. Young people serve in apprenticeships in the factory for up to four years as they prepare for careers at Bernina. That many know enough English to speak fluently with us was incredibly humbling as I can't even muster up enough German to tell someone that I can't speak German.

We also had the privilege to visit a Bernina dealership in Germany and in Switzerland. Very different from our own store but a proud tradition to see the machines represented with meticulous care and attention to detail. The employee in the store in Germany had no English. We had no German. However, she graciously showed us around her store. When I asked to take pictures, she insisted on sweeping away any thread scraps. Humble and gracious, she let us take her picture and we shared business cards. If anyone knows German and would assist me with writing her a thank you note, I would most appreciate it.

Well, I have chatted enough for today. When I next write, I am going to tell you about a secret little find we discovered as we found a store that was selling lace from St. Gallen and handmade laces. I did my Christmas shopping and have many beauties to share with you in coming VIP and Embroidery Secrets events. The couple who showed us the laces and linens often spoke of this and that from St. Gallen being made on Bernina machines. We actually recognized the genre of some of the laces. More on that in my next post!

Sew Inspired...jill

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blog from Switzerland

I am writing you from Switzerland. We are off to Luzern today. I almost couldn't write you because I can't read German. My Google account cues were all in German. So, I had to peck and guess at how to talk to you. Must have done something right because here I am.

Yesterday we toured Zurich. When I saw a store that had FABRIC in the title and was a big store, I was thrilled to think I'd found a big store of fabric. Wrong. It is a big store that uses silk fabric for home decorating which was good for us because we are getting in lots and lots of silk dupioni. The above picture is a display of silk ties. Gorgeous!!

The pillows look yummy. Be prepared. This is a great time to learn piping techniques. Watch for Linda Lee coming to the store in November. Not only is she a superb garment person but she does home decorating and edge finishes with flair.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Melt Your Heart

Today, I got a chance to collect my photographs from our friends from Texas. Marileah Mansfield of Mesquite, Texas, drove with her daughter, Carla McGhghy and Carla's grandson, Shawn McGhghy. Pulling a 16' trailer, the women had travelled several states to give aide to other sewers in the way of many, many pounds of fabric, notions, publications and sewing machines.

We have been giving out sewing machines and sewing supplies for the past month. Our supply of (especially sewing machines) is being rapidly depleted. This was welcome relief for those in need.

The newspaper ran a small clip that told Flood Victims to come and pick up sewing supplies at our store at 10am.....well, that wasn't exactly the way we said it. However, it was very providential that those words brought us many more applicants looking for sewing machines. The woman who met our Texas friends as we started unloading the truck, showed them pictures of her flooded home and her plea, "I just NEED to get back to sewing." It was heart wrenching and humbling.

As we worked to unload the box after box of sewing supplies into our small storage room, we began to meet a whole new group of people as they lined up to fill out forms to receive supplies. We are doing our best to get sewing machines for these people and are going to need YOUR help. Please look to our web site to see how you can go about donating a sewing machine for a flood victim (Stitches for Hope). This week our technicians will be swamped as they are trying to get the machines serviced so that we can start sending this newest batch home with people by next Saturday.

You will want to subscribe to our email list (www.pineneedles.net -- be sure to enter your email address along the left hand side of the home page and confirm your registration) to be sure you get more information on what we will be doing on Saturday for people who are in need of sewing supplies. We will be planning an event that many of you can participate in!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Big Hearts from Texas

Wow....today was quite a day. We had friends from Texas show up at the store with a 16' trailer filled to the rafters with sewing things for flood victims. We had hoped to get the media there to document their arrival. Oddly enough, the Gazette printed a portion of the press release that said flood victims could pick up stuff at the store at 10am today. Not exactly right....BUT....it solved a problem we were having....that is getting the word out to the victims of flooding who want to get sewing again.

So all day, we met flood victims who are sewers. They filled out the paper to get free stuff and free sewing machines. We have been getting fabric and notions and publications from all across the country the past few weeks and having been doing our best to get it out to those in need. We recently ran out of sewing machines. We have more with the ones that arrived today, but it will take our technicians several days to get them cleaned up.

If you are wanting to bring in a sewing machine to donate, you will need to have our technicians service it...OR...if you are purchasing a machine from us, we are giving you a gift certificate in our store for up to $25o. (BTW--if you are interested in donating an old sewing machine, read about how to do this on our web site under the heading Stitches for Hope.)

We are going to have a day for people to pick up sewing supplies next Saturday and will be contacting those who filled out applications. They are simple applications and some people are completing the forms for friends and family. We have found that in the stacks, there are even things like yarns and embroidery supplies and much more.

I will get pictures up on the web site when I get a chance to upload them so you can see what a generous offer this has been.

Watch the news at 10pm on Saturday. KCRG came and interviewed one of the gifters and took footage of the unpacking.