Tag Archives: Travel

When RR’s away…

… Lynne Pusscat will play!!!

It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve just waved a fond farewell to RR, who is off back to the UK for work. I’m joining him at the end of the week, and we will visit family and friends, watch 2 rugby games, eat a lot of curry (and Fish and Chips and Chinese takeaway and Jam Doughnuts…), go and see the Lego Movie, and drink copious quantities of tea, before returning to Switzerland happy and exhausted and several pounds heavier.

Incidentally, not 5 minutes after RR had left the apartment, Mr Boy had claimed his side of the bed and is currently revelling in his new status of “Man of the House” ūüôā I don’t think he’s too distraught at the departure, do you?

Mr Boy on bed

RR’s driving back, as he’ll be in the UK for 2 weeks. So I sent him off with my sewing machine, which is in need of a good service. There are no Janome dealers here in Switzerland, and the local sewing machine store wanted 300 CHF ( around $340, or ¬£200) and 3 weeks to service my machine. ¬†300 CHF??? Three weeks???! Dear Lordy me! So, she’s off on holiday to Bath where, for around a quarter of the price and a turnaround time of 1 day, she’s going to get a jolly good service and tune-up by a proper Janome dealer. Hooray!

In the meantime, I shall be playing with my lovely new machine.

Oh yes, a new sewing machine!

I took advantage of the January sales to invest in a lightweight sewing machine that I can take away on quilt retreats and to classes. My MC11000SE is a wonderful machine that does everything I have ever asked of her, and more, but lightweight she’s not! She weighs in at around 50lbs (23kg) – and is way too heavy for me to lift. Not a great feature when I want to take her places…

So meet my new machine – the Janome MC5200.

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What a little beauty!

At a weight of 18lb (8.5kg) she’s infinitely more portable than her big sister, but has plenty of features to keep me happy. I’ve not had a chance yet to have a proper play and explore exactly what she can do, as I’ve been busy finishing The Quilt from Hell, but now I have five blissful days free to sew, sew, sew, before I join RR in England!

So RR’s en route, the kitties are settled in their accustomed spots in my sewing room, the apartment is clean and tidy, the freezer is full of food, and I have a stack of projects in my head and a lovely cup of tea at my side. What more could I ask for?

Let playtime commence ūüôā

A lap quilt for Mum

For the longest time, Mum has wanted me to make her a quilt. And I was going to. Really I was. Then, just as I was about to cut up the fabric, I happened to ring her, and she just happened to mention she’d redecorated her bedroom, and all my carefully laid plans were scuppered.

Damn!

But ¬†having got that far, the idea stuck. Mum deserved a quilt. I’d made one for Dad (out of desperation, when I had no clue what to get him for his birthday, and using the colours of our rugby team, Bath Rugby). I’d made one for my sister (for her 40th birthday). I’d made one for my niece, the beautiful Miss B. I’d made one for Mad Cousin Jude when she got married, and a baby quilt¬†when she had little Jacob back in September. I’d made quilts for various friends, sundry babies, and several for myself, and yet no quilt for Mum. I felt like a terrible daughter.

And so, over Christmas, I hatched a plan.

I had a trip back to the UK booked for January, to spend a couple of days with Mum. A bed-sized quilt was out of the question in the time available, given my exhaustion following my pre-Christmas sewing frenzy. In any case I wanted to check out the new colour scheme in her bedroom before I made a decision about bed quilts. But, I wondered, could I make a lap quilt for her before my visit? Mum has a beautiful conservatory on the back of her house, and she loves to sit there and read in the morning, but in the winter it can be rather chilly first thing. A lap quilt would be ideal!

And sitting in my sewing room, in a box, all forlorn, were the remnants of the kitty camouflage quilt. This consisted of a stack of 9″ half square triangles,¬†a tangle of unused jelly roll strips and a yard or so of border fabric that I’d decided not to use on the¬†original¬†quilt. All in warm colours that I knew Mum would love.

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So what to do with half square triangles? A pinwheel and hourglass quilt, of course! And because the triangles were already pieced and squared up, it went together really quickly.

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I pieced the backing from the leftover border fabric and some of the jelly roll strips, and I used more strips for the binding.

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I quilted a large circular flower motif in each of the 12 original pinwheel blocks…

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… and a smaller, travelling floral and leaf pattern in the centres of the secondary pinwheel and hourglass blocks.

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I finished the binding last Monday evening, the night before I went to visit Mum.

And so on Tuesday I arrived at Mum’s, and I gave her the quilt – happily, she loved it! As did her dogs, Barley and Anna (although fortunately their fur blends in reasonably well with the colours on the quilt…) It’s already installed in the conservatory and has already been put to use on chilly mornings.

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Quilt dimensions: 50″ x 66 1/2″ (127cm x 169cm)

Fabric for top and backing: Cinnamon Spice by Blackbird Designs for Moda Fabric

Batting: Quilters Dream Select Cotton

Thread – Isacord 0651 polyester

Anyway, I’ve now promised Mum a bed quilt before too long – to match her newly decorated bedroom, and to try and blend in with the fur of My Friend Samantha, her lovely, affectionate cat.

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Looks like it won’t be a white quilt then!

Off to New York – woohoo!!!

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Barcelona – A dream finally fulfilled

I really am extremely fortunate to have the most fantastic niece, the lovely Miss B, and a wonderful sister and brother-in-law who are happy to let us ‘borrow’ her during the summer holidays. This is our third summer in Switzerland, and the third summer Miss B has come to visit. And this year we’ve been lucky enough to have her stay for 2 weeks ūüôā

Now, one of the (many!) great things about living in Switzerland is how close we are to so many really cool places, places that just NEED to be visited! And who better as a travelling companion than the lovely Miss B?! When she visited last August, I took her on a surprise trip to Paris, which was great fun; this year we decided to ask her where she would like to go, and having impeccable taste (a trait she has surely inherited from her aunt!), she chose Barcelona.

Barcelona! For pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to visit Barcelona! I don’t quite know why I never made it there before, but it was definitely worth the wait to visit this beautiful city in the company of my two very¬†favourite people. ¬†And what a fantastic time we all had! I could wax lyrical for days on end about the sights, the history,¬†the food, the architecture – but suffice to say we arrived back in Lausanne yesterday evening exhausted, happy, several kilos heavier and vowing to return very soon¬†ūüôā

Now if there’s one truth that poor RR has come to realise, it’s that wherever we travel in the world, there’s always a quilt shop that needs to be visited. In Barcelona there are several. But at the start of the holiday I’d agreed to restrict myself to only one shop, to make sure we had enough time to do all the other things we planned to do. After some careful research, the shop I chose was Nunoya, not only because of my love of all things Japanese, but also because they stock Kokka fabric, which I adore. And with the help of Google Maps, we soon¬†found this little gem of a store tucked away in the Gothic Quarter.

Nunoya exterior Nunoya window

From the moment I’d seen their website, I knew I was going to enjoy my visit, and the shop itself didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t enormous, but there was more than enough fabric to ogle, plus cute Japanese gifts, sandals, bags. They even take commissions to make dresses and kimonos! Tempting, or what?!

Nunoya interior   Nunoya fabric assortment   Nunoya assorted fabric cuts

I was served by a friendly, English-speaking¬†lady – which was handy as unfortunately Spanish is one of the languages I don’t (yet) speak ūüôā She wasn’t intrusive when I was browsing (don’t you just hate that?!), but once I’d decided on my purchases she was quick to help and get cutting.

   Kokka fabric   Nunoya meow fabric

Given the abundance of glorious fabric, I feel I was extremely restrained – I contented myself with a couple of metres of fabric for a baby quilt I’m planning to make, and 6 fat quarters for presents. Happily, they also do mail order, so I have already scouted for my possible future needs (a skirt in the cutest bird fabric beckons, I feel, and I now know exactly where to go for any future cat-themed projects!)

And so it was that we left the shop with purchases gorgeously wrapped à la japonaise to continue our evening of rambling down Las Ramblas, munching on tapas, and falling even more in love with the beautiful city of Barcelona.

Nunoya bag after purchase Rambling down Las Ramblas