Made in Switzerland

 

It’s a while since we had a Bernina post around here, but this morning gave me plenty to fill in the gaps, because we went to Steckborn, where “the greatest sewing machines in the world” are born.  First, however, I had an errand to run at the post office here in Rapperswil.

 

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I couldn’t believe my luck when I found an empty counter, but my jaw dropped in amazement when a well dressed lady walked straight past me and “pushed in” to receive a warm Gruezi from the clerk.  Huh?  Being a stranger in these parts, I didn’t feel able to do my “Ahem! I believe I was here first” act, but that was just as well, for I then realised that I ought to have collected a ticket as I entered the building and followed the directions on the screen above the counter.

 

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I went back, collected the ticket and stood behind the three customers who had arrived in the meantime.  That’ll teach me:  When in Switzerland, do as the Swiss do – or, do as the English do and join (or form) a queue!

 

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Anyway, errands run, we set out in the car, over the hills and far away.

 

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Well, not really that far – just hour or so due north, to the shores of Bodensee, almost as far north as one can go in Switzerland, in fact.

 

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Though we set out on the motorway, we continued on smaller, country roads and as we always do, we wound the windows down to listen to the cowbells and breathe in the fresh, clean air.

 

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In not much more than an hour, our goal was in sight.  We arrived shortly after 11am to find the whole workforce standing out on the lawn in front of the factory and offices, taking part in a fire drill!

 

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As they filed back indoors, I wondered just which one of them had signed my sewing machine?

 

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We weren’t so sure where to go, but knew from an email conversation with a member of their staff, that there were no factory tours on Fridays, sadly.  But the Creative Centre was open and that was where we headed.

 

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Straight up to the first floor then, to a showroom full of sewing machines, samples and displays – but not a soul in sight.  We tentatively stepped inside and wandered around, calling “Hallo?” to no reply.  Oh well, we thought we’d take a few photos and maybe someone would appear.

 

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My hero had set off around the corner, into a kind of classroom and called me over.  “Good grief”, he said, “just think of how much that trolley full of sewing machines is worth!” (There were five 880s, five 780s and ten embroidery units underneath – somewhere around £50K then?!)

As we ogled the riches, a young woman appeared – no chance of running off with them!!  After a short conversation, she invited us to make ourselves at home, to spend as long as we liked looking around and when we needed her, she’d be right there for us.  The machines were there because she was setting the classroom up for a weekend course for Swiss purchasers of the 880 – the same course as I will attend in November, in London.  I can’t imagine the London environment will be quite so inspiring, however – we’ll see.

 

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It was fun to look around and to see the real life examples from the website and of course, to see ideas and gather inspiration.

 

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I’d not seen this indigo quilt previously, nor had I seen the accessory it was used to promote.  But whilst there, our new best friend, Frau Gross explained it all: the Spanish Hem Stitch attachment was one of the featured accessories.  Oh and yes, it seemed that she had made most of these samples, too.

 

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She explained how this small attachment allows the use of the decorative stitches to create openwork seams like the orange stitching on the book cover above.  I’d not seen it before and knowing there was a video explaining the use online as well, then maybe this gizmo would be my souvenir?  Needless to say, however, I had another couple of other feet on my wishlist (held on the Bernina App on my phone Winking smile ) and seeing those on the display, I soon had a small collection to purchase.

 

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As we completed the transaction, Frau Gross passed my hero a small gift from Bernina.

 

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I’m not sure how often he uses a tape measure, but rest assured, when he does, he will have the perfect tool for the job!  As for me, well, I had a copy of the latest Inspirations magazine – and of course, the pleasure of seeing the source of the many projects and resources which I can view online.  Needless to say, I felt inspired to go back and switch my sewing machine on immediately, but we had other plans for the day.  Coincidentally, they were also inspired by Bernina in a blog entry I read just before we left home….seeing a theme here?

I’ll continue the story in the next post.

Kirschblüte & Edelweiss

Gruezi Miteinand!