Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Switzerland Journal: Day Eight

Wednesday, May 22 2007. We've been in Europe for a week now. Wednesdays are market days, and Kate lives on Markgausse, the street market is close by. Bernie ventured out early to explore the market and pick up a few things. He returned with a bouquet of roses for our charming hostess, orange roses, knowing orange is Kate's favorite color.
You can see a bit of the orange couch fabric down by Sherman's hand, and a bit of the nice light airy flooring in Kate's living room in this picture.
After breakfast, Sherman headed back to the office, to continue to do his part to keep intellectual properties safely defended, using the precise legalese and curious filings to assure no one can understand what is in the document being filed, except another attorney of course. Professional job security!
I borrowed one of Kate's visor hats, trying to keep a little cooler with an open crown. Our first stop was the St. Gallen bear cub statue, a statue which reminds everyone about the story of St. Gallen selecting this location after an encounter with a little bear.

Kate's friend Starr, a retired Air Force officer living in St. Gallen joined us to view the quilt exhibit at the Textile museum. The dress in this quilt is gossamer silk, so delicate I cannot imagine what it must have been like to construct the design.
I insisted everyone vote on their favorite quilt; it makes one really consider what they are seeing in a new light when they have to decide. This was my favorite; having striped and checked fabric create a millifleur design just knocked me out. Striped and checked fabrics are so tricky to use in quilts, they tend to draw the eye so strongly that they usually stand out way too much. I'm still crazy about this quilt!
Kate loved this quilt, and blogged about it on her site. I just had to laugh at it; it made me think about someone who is dear to me, who's observation about birds in general is that for the most part, all birds really do is "Flit, sit and sh--" I lived blocks from the Pacific ocean for years, and have well learned that a sea gull flying over head is NOT a good thing.
Kate voted this as her favorite quilt. The gloves were fun, but I was more taken by the strip work.

I'm going to be a good little's the metadata documentation. for that quilt.
I must say it was pretty clever to use an old leather jacket's pocket as part of the quilt, and to put such delicate lacy gloves in the "tough chick" pocket.

(Oops, I forgot to document the Sea Gull quilt. Here's the poop on that one(smile!))
Kate was having a hard time deciding which quilt was her favorite. This one, entitled "Primavera" was high on her list. The stitchery was gorgeous as well as the piece work.
Kate was really good about taking pictures of the quilts. I'm afraid I am a tad jaded on the subject; Houston hosts the International Quilt Festival each and every year, a four day event where seemingly million of quilter converge on Houston and the enormous Houston convention center turns into quilt central, with the top quilts of the entire universe on display. It take good walking shoes, and stamina to actually see all the quilts, and some of them are so amazing they simply stun you, leaving you slack jawed and unable to move for long periods of time.
Metadata on the quilt above, which found vaguely depressing.
Hum. What ever rocks your boat.
Up close this quilt "Scar" was gorgeous.
Kate and Starr admiring quilts, I'm admiring the marble flooring.

While Kate and Starr were "all about" the quilts, I was raring to have a chance to look at the textile library in the building. The cabinets were such a pretty shade of sage green!
It was a two story library, with lovely arched widows. The periodicals on top of the low cabinet were so delicious to see!
I interviewed the librarian, whose name I didn't catch. She works as a solo librarian, managing the collection and creating a cataloguing format to meet the unique needs of the collection.
I was hoping she was considering retirement, but it looks like she still plans to keep her job for a few more years.

Dang it.

I would consider writing a grant to create in depth indexing of the collection. Right now the collection is shelved by designer last name, and the samples are shelved and catalogued only by year. Me? I want to be able to have a data base of each lace sample, by theme if there is one, color, design density, year, designer and any other element I can discover.
Could I can write a grant to do that? Seems unlikely, but you never know. I catalogued an art collection one time using the Getty museums cataloging system, and made modifications as needed. Dublin Core might work...oh dear, I'm afraid I've gotten technical, and am boring the non-librarian types.
Let me instead point out how stylish are the lace librarian's glasses and ring! If there is a way for you to zoom in, her blouse's fabric is amazing. She agreed that working as a librarian in a textile design library influences her choice of clothing.
What clean neat shelving!

Catalogue ALL books about Coco Chanel as one subject area and shelve them together.

Librarians reading this: Discuss among yourselves why this is or is not a good cataloging policy.

Lace embroidery samples, by the company who apparently owns the building. The librarian wouldn't let me take a look. Private collection, proprietary information. Curses! Maybe I can slip her a mickey, and at least get a glance at those books.
Franz Druckmuster's lace work samples are inside these books, shelved by year. Can you imagine how frustrating it was NOT to be able to see what lace was being created and sold in 1872??????
The old handwriting by a librarian from long ago. I don't know what the labels said, but I still wanted to look inside the books.
I don't know, S2,30 just doesn't cut it for me as a cutter. (Librarian insider joke....)
Sighing deeply, I left the lace library, and we headed back home. While we were inside the museum someone must have put up all the red flags overhead. Some festival was coming up. Kate says festivals happen all the time. Doesn't Kate's hat look cute? She made it herself, and you can see a close up of it on her blog here.
We were scheduled to meet Sherman for lunch by his office, so we had to pass on having a treat at this sidewalk cafe. It was hot, hot, hot, and I would have loved to parked myself down with a glass of something cold, like that first lady is drinking. She's having an orange something or another, of course.
My walking shoes were feeling really hot on my feet and I decided to shop for some different shoes. Not these, I think you would need a license to wear those shoes, you could hurt someone with those toes!
Kate and I headed to H&M, where in a matter of minutes I bought a black cotton tank top, a really loud green and white cotton knit duro top, and a scoop necked duro style orange cotton knit top. And a pair of flat black and white striped cotton fabric sandals. The rock music in the "popular with the young folks" combined with the total lack of air conditioning inside to make me shop fast and clearly without any fashion sense at all, as you will see later.
Window shopping, street fashion watching. The "I don't care if my bra shows" attitude is seen everywhere. I could understand it if the bras were made from the fabulous St. Gallen embroidered lace, but this one was just plain old plain old white bra. I willing consider the dress in the window...on someone else. Fabulous!
Trudging along the streets of St. Gallen.

The light from the windows reflected on the street, and the lady ahead in the fluttering orange skirt and head bandanna added to the festive mood.
Kate and I kept going back to this skirt for another look. It is made from what appears to be plain muslin, with an unfinished hemline, threads are dangling from the hem. The waist detail got our attention, the fabric is somehow gathered into a stitched bunch, yet the pleat/gathers still hang nicely below. The skirt cost 800 Swiss Francs, right Kate? The sign is below...maybe it was more. We were agog. The black and white polka dotted dress next to the skirt was a fabric design marvel as well. We thought of blogger Erin over at Dressaday, and her worship of all things polka dot.
The four of us regrouped for a pizza lunch at the restaurant downstairs from Sherm's office. Bernie had enjoyed his shopping day.
I'm channeling the Mannheim statuary in my new duro style top. Moo! (The dots make an interesting optical illusion. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
Following an excellent bottle of water and various styles of pizzas, including eggplant, we three left Sherm (again!) and went to look at the St. Gallen haberdashery and millinery shop. Sherman has acquired hats from this shop and while he was successful finding a Panama straw Borcalino in Milan, none of the styles there suited Bernie.
It didn't take long to find Bernie's perfect style. A nice "Fino", and the wide black hat band suits him well. The shop owner gave Bernie a quick lesson on how to handle a hat, and the correct placement of the hat upon the forehead. He was wonderful!

Wow, what a handsome man! It wasn't long before he was noticing women watching him in the streets, and having people stop him to ask about his hat. One of my rakish hat buddies once wisely observed the following: "A hat on a man is to a woman as lingerie on a woman is to a man."
Think about it guys.
And remember, a baseball CAP is not, (I repeat, IS NOT) a HAT!
After lunch, Kate and I caught a local bus over to the Bischoff Stickerei (embrodiered lace ) mill end shop. Image the most grey, plain looking space inside a nondescript building, with walls lined with boxes of lace, bolts of lace and bins of lace scraps that are being sold by the kilo.

You can't.

I could hardly take it all in myself while I was there. I wandered about in a daze, as Kate kept thrusting fabulous lace finds into my hands.
There were Middle Eastern men and women digging through the binds, their pungent body odors mingling with the distinct fabric store scent that any sewer/fabric store shopper knows so well.

At first I was selecting a piece here, and a piece there. The humming bird above, that is about eight inches long, cost two Swiss francs, just a bit under $3 USD.
I found this in the kilo bin...

in the kilo bin.....

This heavenly lace was a bit more expensive, something like 6 CHF per meter. OK ladies, what do you think, should I buy a meter of each or not?
I'm thinking of stitching them over my white shirt cuff, and dreaming of baby bonnets extraordinare!
I also got white pulled work linen placemats there. Perfect for the breakfast table.

Kilo bin...

The remnants bin fabrics sold by the kilo? Note: It would take a large shopping bag STUFFED with the stuff to make a kilo of weight. The price per kilo? 8 CHF (Swiss francs, roughly $6.30 USD) The best buy going in all of Switzerland! My problem: How to fit the stuff into my suit case and what to do with it once I got it home.

The little patches were easy to get, they cost either one or two CHF each, so if I like it, I bought it, or bought two in some cases. The black patches would look cute on the top of flat velvet shoes!
I'm "borrowing" this picture from Kate's blog, as it shows how some of these fabrics are normally used. Maybe I can stitch the little triangle shaped patch onto the waist of my waist height white cotton granny panties! Maybe I could stitch several of them at the waist....hmmm. Something to think about, (NOT)

How could I possibly think fast enough to know what I would eventually want to do with each lace design, in order to purchase the correct amount of the lace that wasn't just remnant length in the kilo bins. I couldn't...and I'm sure I will nash my teeth one day when I'm inspired and discover I could do something fabulous if only I had another quarter meter.
The white lace little pieces above are about three inches big and cost one or two CHF each. The baby buggy made me think of all my lucky friends who are eagerly awaiting grandchildren to sew for.

I've put a web photo albumn of just the laces which you may see by clicking here. Let me know what creative thing you would do with this bounty! I need your help!
We hurried home, and it was getting late, but I could still see the farmer's market. The vendors were closing up shop, but we were able to buy some cheeses (including a cheddar made with carrot juice along with the milk!)
Perfectly straight tomatoes on the vine.
There were stalls of flower arrangements....the furry pods in this arrangement caught my eye.
...and these little pots of a plant that grows flat and produces little orange berries the size of a pepper corn. The pots were about a big as the palm of your hand.
We all regrouped up on the rooftop after the heat of the day. Whew, it was a HOT one again!
St. Gallen, the sounds of your church bells will happily ring in our memories forever.
(I'm admiring Bernie in his hat here, posting two pictures of him in a row. I think I have a crush on him...)
Later we went out for our final dinner, a fabulous feast upstairs at a fine restaurant called "Engeli" (Angel) were we enjoyed fine wine (Ticinese Sauvignon Blanc for those who want to know) fine food and fine friendship. How it came to be that not one of us took a picture, I can not say!
One last look from up on the roof top overlooking the streets of St. Gallen on our last night here with our friends. Thanks again Kate and Sherman for inspiring us to make this trip and for being our friends, hosts and our favorite guides in Switzerland.


Marie Christopher said...

Oh, my! Love it. Makes me feel like I was there with you guys. Thanks.

Lovella ♥ said...

I almost need to take notes on the side of things I want to comment. By the time I get to the end I forget all I wanted to say....(probably not that mind boggling anyways).
The laces are wonderful. I've always been a lace girl. Some years ago I made a black lace leaf dress. Just loved it. I always pull it out when I don't know what else to wear to an evening event.

Yesterday I was in town and looked out for orange things. Not too much. Maybe next year. I remember my sister in law last time they were in Europe commenting the next season that they had seen it all the previous year abroad.

I was quite excited to see the pointy toe heels. I have several pairs and have been wondering if they are on their way out. It seems that everything is wedges here this summer.

After seeing Bernie is his classy hat, I've decided I just have to post pictures of Terry in his western bad boy hat when we were on our motorbike trip a few years ago. You are quite right about men in hats.

Oh about the quilts. I love looking at quilts. Every year our Mennonite Committee has a sale that brings in well over a hundred thousand dollars for world poverty. Women make quilts all year long and they are sold 100% for charity. It's a wonderful thing. The quilts range from simple to quite elaborate, all done for a labor our love.

Julie said...

Oh, Jill.... I can hardly breathe... If I had stood in front of your kilo bin !! I would have sold my ticket home and bought lace instead...
Only one problem... how would I carry all my lace when I am walking home???
What would I do with them all? What does it matter?... I would HAVE them to look at!!
(use as exquisite detailing on cushions?)
And those sample books of lace you couldn't open...Ahhh!!!.. I would have hid in the library until they closed and then spent the night looking to my heart's content!!!
And the quilts were wonderful... loved the pocket detail with silk gloves!!
Loved your post---

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!