Travel Tips

Travelling is one of my passions, I love to visit different countries, meet their people and often I am fortunate to get ideas for new needle point designs!  But on my trips I always take some stitching with me, in fact being seen to stitch often starts an interesting conversation with local people and fellow travellers

The following suggestions are for family holidays not for needlepoint retreats or specific courses when one can expect good light,, calm surroundings and uninterrupted stitching time, when of course one takes more demanding designs and one's full battery of equipment!

Over time I hope I have learnt some important does and don'ts especially having just returned from Myanmar where I was able to make these notes Do let me know of tips you might like to share!

Plan in good time!
Allow time for any standard kit to arrive, longer for one with special colours or threads requested.
If taking instructions only, allow time to get the right coloured canvas and threads together.

If planning to work an original it is wise to stitch an area to check colours and the best threads.
Suitable designs
Small items, not too complicated, spec cases, Kindle or iPad covers, gift gitems.  This last trip I worked on a small panel with a decorative S and colourful border for a great grand niece's first birthday.  It is worked in crewel wools and pearl cotton  Threads such as silks that need careful laying are not ideal travel pieces!

Size and mesh
A piece that will fit in your purse or carry on means you will never be bored at airports.  My piece this trip was 12 inches square and on 12 mesh.  Lighting may not be good in your room,so taking a design that is possibly less fine than your usual can be wise.

Airplanes forbid scissors (though FAR allow very small ones but even these have been confiscated from me in the past!). There are small gizmos to cut threads and my favourite is the 'Clover'.  Needles seem to be Ok but do take a spare pack just in cases.

One never knows how much stitching opportunity will present itself, however I suggest taking an additional piece just to be safe.  On this last trip I finished my one piece with still a 14 hour flight to get back home!


I simply don't enjoy stitching without a frame; the narrow and light artist stretcher bars are perfect and if going expressly to stitch (for example our annual trip to Italy) we all take our floor frames, the Lowery with the side clamp is our favourite.  Fortunately my daughter in France has one which I borrow when there, so if you have a holiday home it may well be worth getting a second floor frame especially if it enables you to avoid checking in a suitcase and paying for it!

A bonus that might present itself is to find a fabric to finish your piece,  In the inle Lake District of Myanmar, previously known as Burma we visited by boat, a
silk and cotton weaving village and I found the perfect fabric to back my 'S' design.  It will make the gift truly Myanmar!  On another occasion I was working on this 'envelope' design and needed a decorative clasp; a happy search in the souks of Morocco found this piece -again I remember that holiday every time I look at the finished
Extra details of this envelope design, I worked it on one of the Italian trips, as I consider metallics and laying threads need concentration to get good result which ones doesn't get on the move!  I also found the striped silk and matched both the colours and the width of the stitch columns to the width of the fabric stripes.

Another piece stitched again in Italy by Sarah illustrates coordinating a fabric successfully with your design.

Lastly take a camera or some method of recording possible ideas.  I also take pencil and paper as photography is not always allowed!

No possible designs present themselves?  How about the colour combinations, the yarns, the beads, take some home and enjoy using them!


  1. Inspiration often comes when you least expect it. What better way to welcome it than to have it come knocking on your doorstep somewhere far from home, right? Of course, if you find yourself in London with an itch for creation, when the inspiration hits you, you gotta be prepared. Anyway, your tips are sure to help us, crafty people, make traveling a lot more fun. Thanks for sharing, Anna! More power to you! :)

    Clifton Johnson @ Insuring theProduct


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