The Travelling Sketchbook Comes to France

from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook 

Last year I mentioned that Anne Lawson, a talented botanical artist, instigated a sketchbook which would start with her in Australia and make its way around the World to interested parties who signed up for the project and, at each stage of the journey, a new entry would be made.  As everybody who signed up for it is a woman, it became known as ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook’.  I believe there have been others but this one – our one – began life in the Spring of 2016.

I cannot draw or paint to save my life,  nor have I ever attempted to write poetry,  but I knew that other media was acceptable so thought I’d join in for fun. Then I started dreading its arrival when I saw the standard of entries as they were added to the book then recorded online.   The sketchbook finally arrived in France last week – people have been taking their time enjoying the book and considering what to contribute and, despite having considered other options, I decided to go with my first idea.  I have taken photographs of most of the entries but didn’t take the book to pieces – too scared – so apologies to the sisterhood if I’ve cut a piece off or haven’t done their piece justice with my photography.

Click on the name beneath the images to go to the contributor’s website.

The sketchbook started and will end with Anne who set the bar high with her sketch of Kakadu Escarpment along with her garlic and lilies that adorn the front and back covers.

by Anne Lawson

Staying in Australia and up to Queensland to Kate who added this delightful paper pieced patchwork feather together with the lovely words beneath.

by Kate Chiconi

Staying in Queensland for a tasty, beautifully illustrated Ratatouille recipe from Sandra.

by Sandra Gay

Moving back down to Victoria, Chas created this brilliant cycling trail map to show us some of the sights to be seen from a bicycle on the way to Melbourne’s National Gallery. This is a long, fold out map so I’ve just included a small detail.

by Chas Spain

The last stop for the sketchbook in Australia was with Sandi Worrall -Hart who wrote a beautiful poem called ‘ The Explorer’ which you can see included in the collage below cleverly compiled by Alys from all the entries so far in the book at the time it reached her in the United States.

by Alys Milner

From California to Mount Vernon where Sue added these gorgeous mixed media pieces using fabric, beads, thread and charms.

by Sue Brown

Over to Ushasree in Indianapolis for an eyecatching and colourful collage of small delights

by Ushasree Gudipalli

Then a trip over to Europe and Greece with this take on the naming of Athens.

by M.L. Kappa

From Greece to Germany where Constanze produced this lovely textile piece which reflects the snowy landscape around her as she created her entry for the sketchbook.

by Constanze Hofmann

The sketchbook should have stayed in Germany for another entry but, unfortunately, Annett is struggling with some health problems at the moment and didn’t feel able to contribute – we wish her well and hope she’ll be able to join in next time, should there be one!

So, to France and to me.

I’ve told you I can’t draw or paint.  Kate, Sue and Constanze had already done perfectly lovely works in textiles and fabric so what to do?  I  thought about something knitted or even a bit of crochet but it would have to be something quite tiny and relevant.  Back in 2016 I attended a workshop on freehand machine embroidery and my plan was to practice and practice and produce something lovely for when the sketchbook arrived at my door.  Time passed – quickly as usual – and I didn’t get to practice as much as I would have liked but freehand embroidery is a forgiving craft and I hope I’ve produced something – though ‘naive’ (polite talk for ‘simple’) – that sort of enters into the spirit of the sketchbook, using thread instead of a pencil.

by me

I know it looks like a kid’s drawing but that is sort of the style – honest!   I like using natural linen for freehand embroidery as I think it sets off the fabrics and stitches really well but it frays like a bugger so I have deliberately frayed the edges and run a couple of rows of stay (I hope) stitching around the perimeter.  If you’re wondering what the blue lines are they are my interpretation of the map of the World.  It is very imprecise! Australia is disappearing up the skirt of the last sister, Europe is frillier than necessary and there appears to be a squished square country north of the barely recognisable British Isles but you get my drift.  As I’m an English expat living in France I  introduced a bit of entente cordiale by using French linen  (the type they produce to make those classic linen t-towels) and the dresses are all in Liberty of London fabric.    I didn’t want to make any political statement but, as it was a recent event and as I know one of the sisterhood went along with a pink plastic bag on her head, I’ve included a pink pussyhat wearer just to be topical.

As soon as I’ve worked out how to add this to the book – the linen is backed with calico and card so I’ll probably glue it in – it will be on its way to the United Kingdom for its last two entries, then back to Australia where we have hopes that it will be digitally scanned so we can all have a copy to keep.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the Sketchbook as it stands so far in Tialys blog form .

A great project to be involved with  🙂



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  1. #1 by claire93 on March 16, 2017 - 14:50

    I think your contribution is brilliant! All contributions are brilliant, in fact, each in a different way.

    • #2 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 08:56

      Thanks Claire, there’s a good mixture isn’t there?

  2. #3 by Chas Spain on March 16, 2017 - 15:45

    Hi Lynn – I’m so happy I’m up late at night to see this pop into the inbox. Oh it’s so beautiful – (I always get a bit emotional when I see the next offering) – but everything about your so light and naive work is wonderful.

    • #4 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 08:57

      Thanks Chas – I was a bit daunted by the ‘proper’ artists taking part so thought naïve was the way to go.

      • #5 by Chas Spain on March 17, 2017 - 11:53

        Not at all – real artistry in this lovely work. Love it.

  3. #6 by knettycraft on March 16, 2017 - 15:52

    It looks gorgeous Lynn… and it perfectly symbolizes the sisterhood – and that we all are different but equal 🙂

    • #7 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 08:57

      Thanks Annett and I hope things are going well for you.

  4. #8 by Kim on March 16, 2017 - 15:56

    What a fabulous idea. Lucky is the lady who keeps the original!

    • #9 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 08:58

      Yes, there will be some discussions about what will happen to the original and whether we will all be able to have some sort of copy to keep.

  5. #10 by Beads and Barnacles on March 16, 2017 - 16:00

    This is lovely. What a great idea.
    Your quilting is great. I keep planning to learn how to do it.

    • #11 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 08:59

      No quilting here – it’s all freehand embroidery – but you should learn to do both! 😉

      • #12 by Beads and Barnacles on March 17, 2017 - 10:52

        Lol yeah that was what I meant… I have done some quilting in the past. No free hand embroidery though…

      • #13 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 11:04

        Perhaps you’re thinking of free motion quilting which is a similar thing but I find it a bit scary (as I do with all quilting to be honest) as dropping those feed dogs and letting the needle run riot through three layers of painstakingly pieced and backed work which already looks good is a bit of a journey into the unknown for me. I do it when I’m using the quilt as you go method because, that way, if it all goes pear shaped, I’ve only ruined one block rather than a whole quilt.

  6. #14 by M. L. Kappa on March 16, 2017 - 16:18

    This is just lovely, Lynn! So different and imaginative. I love it that everyone’s interpretation is so original. Well done us 💪💕🌺

    • #15 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:01

      It’s been an interesting and exciting project to be involved with so far hasn’t it?

  7. #17 by Born To Organize on March 16, 2017 - 17:38

    Lynn, I’m grinning ear to ear as I read this. Thank you for recapping all the entries so far, and for your gorgeous, clever and original entry. I *love* it. It feels like the essence of all of us. Holding hands around the world, uniquely individual in hairstyle and dress (and yes hats) yet united by a love of art, craft and sisterhood. Your are so creative! My fantasy is to visit each sister in person one day. What a joy this has been. Thank you for this post.

    • #18 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:03

      Wow – that’s a good fantasy. Perhaps we should do it again and, next time, you could personally hand deliver the sketchbook to each participant 🙂

  8. #19 by Born To Organize on March 16, 2017 - 17:42

    Reblogged this on Gardening Nirvana and commented:
    Have you been following the travels of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbook? Lynn, who blogs at Tialys, has just published her gorgeous entry. She beautifully captures the essence of all of us in her piece as the sisters hold hands around the world, uniquely individual in hairstyle and dress (and yes hats) yet united by a love of art, craft and sisterhood. She also recaps the entries as the book continues around the globe.

  9. #20 by The Snail of Happiness on March 16, 2017 - 17:42

    Eeek! So now the time has come when I actually have to sort out my contribution… I’m not intimidated at all… honestly…

    • #21 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:04

      Yes! – That’s just how I felt. Have you decided what you’re doing yet or are you going to wait until you’ve seen the book ‘in real life’?

      • #22 by The Snail of Happiness on March 17, 2017 - 10:20

        I’m either going to knit or crochet something, but I haven’t quite decided yet… I really want to use some locally produced wool for this very special project. I’m so looking forward to seeing all the amazing contributions ‘for real’.

      • #23 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 10:37

        That was going to be my second choice – again, nobody else has done that yet – but it was difficult trying to think of something small enough that would be relevant. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  10. #24 by Creative Crafts DIY on March 16, 2017 - 18:04

    Awesome creation dear…am really proud to b part of it ☺️

  11. #27 by nanacathy2 on March 16, 2017 - 18:06

    It is utterly. charming and the style is not childlike but niave

    • #28 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:06

      ‘Naïve’ is the only sketching I can do which is why I like freehand embroidery. I must do more of it and, next time, it will be naïve in a more accomplished way 😉

  12. #29 by katechiconi on March 16, 2017 - 18:16

    I LOVE it! I think you’ve encapsulated the Sisters perfectly and aptly, the linen is a wonderful choice, and we’re all delighted to be dressed in Liberty 🙂

    • #30 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:08

      I really enjoyed the freehand embroidery workshop I attended last year and meant to continue with it but, of course, there was paper piecing to learn and WIPs waiting for me and it got a bit forgotten. I love it though and what a great use for the teeniest scraps.

      • #31 by katechiconi on March 17, 2017 - 17:51

        … such as the pink pussycat hat!

      • #32 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 19:05


  13. #33 by CurlsnSkirls on March 16, 2017 - 19:42

    Deligtful entries from everyone.
    Love your embroidery + quilting!

    • #34 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:10

      Thanks Del – it’s been an interesting project to be involved with.

  14. #35 by Dartmoor Yarns on March 16, 2017 - 20:03

    You’re too modest, methinks. It’s absolutely fab and perfect of the book. What a wonderful idea. thanks for sharing all the artwork, I really enjoyed it.

    • #36 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:11

      Thank you! I nearly contacted you actually to ask for help in shrinking a knitting pattern down to sketchbook size but decided to go with the freehand embroidery in the end.

      • #37 by Dartmoor Yarns on March 17, 2017 - 12:40

        Thanks for thinking of me anyway. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  15. #38 by Catherine on March 16, 2017 - 20:31

    What a wonderful idea and project to be part of! I love your piece. Each so unique and making it so special!

    • #39 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:14

      Thank you Catherine – I’m so glad I joined in now.

  16. #40 by craftycreeky on March 16, 2017 - 20:37

    I love it, it’s perfect for ‘The Sisterhood’ , getting excited but apprehensive about making my entry, nearly my turn 🙂

    • #41 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 09:13

      Have you decided what you are going to do yet?
      The book will be arriving at Gatwick Airport on Monday and posted off as soon as my husband gets it to the post office so not too long to wait now.

  17. #42 by dezertsuz on March 16, 2017 - 21:21

    The whole book is amazing and what a wonderful thing to have. Far from thinking your contribution is simple, it seems to me to wrap up the entire theme of the book – people around the world, holding hands, accomplishing something beautiful. Different looks, different languages, different skills, different hopes and dreams, but all coming together for this sharing. I think it’s a perfect entry. Well done!

    • #43 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 11:18

      Thank you Susan – although I am pleased with my contribution I was slightly apprehensive about how it would be received but I feel so much better about it after reading all the lovely comments such as yours.

  18. #44 by Heide on March 16, 2017 - 23:36

    What a wonderful project — and what a gorgeous addition you’ve created! Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartwarming post.

    • #45 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 11:13

      Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  19. #46 by Frivolous Monsters on March 17, 2017 - 00:14

    You say you’re not good at drawing but then I imagine that you had to sketch that before committing yourself to thread. I think it’s very impressive. I know from seeing cartoons that creating a style of characters that looks likeable is hard work.

    Some of the others look stuck in, and made from alternative materials, too so I worry about the weight of it…and the postage!

    • #47 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 11:12

      Thanks for that.
      I’m lucky in that I only have to send it over to the U.K. – and I’ll probably use my husband as my ‘mule’ again as he travels over every week for work and is accustomed to me sneaking parcels into his cabin bag. There are two more entries to go – one in Wales and one in Yorkshire – and the last will have the unenviable task of sending it all the way back to Australia. Still, we all accepted that possibility when we signed up and, I suppose, the compensation for being last is you get to see the whole book complete ‘in real life’.

  20. #48 by KerryCan on March 17, 2017 - 13:04

    You did a great job with your entry! It’s been fun to read your summary of the travels and see this all in one place. Such a FAB undertaking!

    • #49 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 19:08

      Thanks Kerry – I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post.

  21. #50 by Carole Mayne on March 17, 2017 - 16:22

    This is an absolutely heartwarming and wonderful project. Your piece sums up the whole experience of life. People getting along, people enjoying life, people reaching out to others, connecting, sharing joy and pain, and finding the beauty of our inner child- that spark of God – that makes us One. xoxo

    • #51 by tialys on March 17, 2017 - 19:08

      Thank you Carole and, although I feel unworthy of such great praise, I am pleased my piece and the project as a whole has touched you.

  22. #52 by sew2pro on March 18, 2017 - 00:59

    Gee, I hope this gets sent by Registered Post (or something!).
    Lynn, you contribution is not lacking in art in any way!! It has such energy and the characters are endearing. I’d love to see you do more of this.

    This project reminds me of a (non-fiction) book I read “Can Any Mother Help Me?” about women who did something similar to this around Britain after the war as like an early social network. Well done to the whole team.

    • #53 by tialys on March 18, 2017 - 10:14

      Thanks Marianna 🙂 I’ve already made a Mothers’ Day card using freehand embroidery and I’m determined to practice some more and get much better at it. There are some people who do amazing things with this sort of embroidery – really detailed, sophisticated pieces – but I’m quite happy with the simpler designs.
      That book sounds really interesting – I’ve had a look at some articles about it – I might keep my eye open for it or put it on my birthday wish list.

  23. #54 by magpiesue on March 19, 2017 - 18:36

    Hi Lynn, I’ve been off the computer for several days (except to play the occasional game of solitaire) so I’m only just now seeing this. It’s delightful! Charming, perfect. 🙂 What a treasure this sketchbook is.

    • #55 by tialys on March 20, 2017 - 09:48

      Thanks Sue – I love your two pieces in the book. It’s getting a little unwieldy now and two more entries to go in. I think it will definitely have to be rebound by the time it gets to Australia, if not before.

  24. #56 by poshbirdy on March 20, 2017 - 14:16

    What a truly gorgeous project. Your contribution is wonderful, as are the others. What a huge amount of creativity in one volume

    • #57 by tialys on March 21, 2017 - 10:27

      I was a bit nervous when I packaged it up and sent it off yesterday – it feels like a big responsibility.

  25. #58 by jendavismiller on March 20, 2017 - 14:47

    Splendid! The book is lovely so far, I’m certain there will be big reveal of the finished work? Your contribution is absolutely charming, Lynn. I love the sisters holding hands, holding the world together. And being from across the pond, I appreciate the pink pussyhat. It will be a simple reminder of the state of things in 2017. Love your embroidery, naive, simple, sweet….not childish….beautiful!

  26. #60 by PendleStitches on March 20, 2017 - 15:42

    I think you’re selling yourself short. Your piece holds its own amoungst all the other talents. It’s totally delightful.

  27. #62 by Jenn on March 22, 2017 - 20:43

    Love the thread drawing and your use of playful fabrics.

    If you’re not already familiar with her work, there is an embroidery artist who works under the name Tobyboo. Her take on London icons is fantastic.

    • #63 by tialys on March 22, 2017 - 21:48

      No – I wasn’t familiar with this artist. I am now, thank you! I love her style.

  28. #64 by Creative Crafts DIY on March 25, 2017 - 06:07

    Your contribution s very unique and awesome ☺️👌👍💐

  29. #65 by insearchofitall on April 12, 2017 - 05:51

    I had to come back again for another look. Who knew there would be so much diversity in the sketchbook. When it first began, I thought it would all be drawing. I’m delighted to see all the different mediums used here. They are all wonderful!

    • #66 by tialys on April 12, 2017 - 09:28

      Thank you. Just as well it wasn’t all drawing as some of us – certainly me – couldn’t have been involved. It was a challenge to find something to put inside such a project but, like you, I’m pleased that it celebrates the different skills and talents people have using thread, yarn and fabric as well as the pen and pencil. I wonder if we’ll do it again next year and whether it will have an even longer journey as more people become interested – we’ll definitely need a bigger book.

  30. #67 by Wild Daffodil on April 30, 2017 - 10:13

    Oh, I do love this project, I have read about it on The Snail of Happiness, but this is the first time I have seen photos. Just wonderful! Your entry is perfect, thank you for giving the story behind it. I’d love to be part of another one should it ever happen. I’m intrigued to see what Mrs Snail makes and to see what happens to the book when it is completed.

    • #68 by tialys on May 1, 2017 - 11:25

      It will be exciting to see what happens to the book eventually – I know we are looking into having some sort of copy made of it so that we can all have one to keep.

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