Stitching through my travels

I have just returned from 2 weeks away in Europe. My husband and I spent the first week in Vienna where he had a conference and I stayed for a second week in order to attend a conference in Basel, Switzerland. We had a lot of fun, the weather was warm and we ate a lot of cake and drank a lot of beer. The meetings were good too.

In anticipation of this Saturday’s now OVER-SUBSCRIBED Making It Better Workshop at the Australian Design Centre as part of Sydney Craft Week, I decided to keep a stitch diary, aiming to sketch with thread, as I was inspired to do so from what I saw. I grabbed some scraps of denim from the studio that were left over from previous bag making and a handful of threads, needles and blunt ended baby nail scissors (that you can take on planes) and began.

my odd collection of travel ‘sketches’ inspired by 2 weeks in Vienna and Switzerland

It was such an enjoyable process that I plan to keep it up. I completed a handful of ‘sketches’, none of them works of art and some of which I am more pleased with than others. But they were never intended to be complete or brilliant, but rather doodles, sketches, studies, to explore possibilities, shapes, stitches, textures and colours and as small meditations.

The process of making them was interesting: I felt focussed, relaxed and excited by the work, my thoughts travelled in new directions and my imagination was fired. I noticed that I began to observe my surroundings more closely the more I doodled. I saw patterns, colours and shapes everywhere. My actual sketchbook is full of ideas for more stitching.

I am not sure what to do with them now. Any ideas?


I have since been reading about stitch diaries and there are many precedents. I am very excited by the idea and will write about it some more in a post soon. Have you ever kept a stitch diary? I would love to hear about it and, obviously see some examples from other diaries.

Sadly, I managed to lose my precious knitting bag with an almost completed shawl in it, somewhere at Sydney airport. No trace so far. I really thought I’d have a good chance of getting it back. Last night I began a replacement and I finished it this afternoon. I don’t like it as much but it will grow on me. I have taken photos of the steps and I will share  with you soon, should you want to make your own. As with my previous bags, I took inspiration for the front decoration from the lining which was a dense, strong Japanese (I think) cotton from my stash. I used a light denim for the outside and Sashiko thread for the embroidery. I marked the fabric using a saucer and the small nip size from my husband’s cocktail measure, using a chalk pencil and a plastic ruler! None of the children could provide me with a compass, despite having bought approximately 300 maths kits for them over the years of their schooling.


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