Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is a collaborative effort, born from the seed of an idea between bloggers Anne Lawson and Kate Chiconi. It started when Anne offered (and mailed) sketchbooks made from experimental drawings or practiced watercolor washes. Anne offered them to blogging friends and sent about half a dozen around the world.

sisterhood Cover and map

Inside back cover: Foldout map (left) and original page art by Anne Lawson (right)

Kate added her own gorgeous drawings and some fluffy feathers to her version of the book, then sent it back to Anne.  You see where this is going, right?

Anne posted Kate’s drawings here, and then through this comment thread:

I think we need a larger sketchbook, and initiate a Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook ~Kate Chiconi

the project grew wings.

All told, 15 bloggers signed up to take part. One of the sisters set up a Word Press blog, another created an interactive map of the traveling sketchbook. Anne is adding photos to a page on her blog as each of us completes our entry and sends it on to the next sister.

sisterhood sketchbook inside

Opening page: Textile art by Kate Chiconi

I broke out in a cold sweat when the sketchbook arrived in the post. I’m crafty and creative in my way, but was a bit intimidated by the artistic abilities represented in the sketch book. I calmed down, let different ideas wash over me, and eventually decided on a paper quilt using images of the art and poetry that came before me.

My entry is The Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe. I copied each of the traveling entries so far, and created a collage of squares. I printed the squares on watercolor paper, then double stitched them to a piece of onion skin typing paper. I included a square of the map, and a square of my recent squirrel pillow project. It’s called Four Loves: Animals, Sewing, Nature and Photography.

The poem in the upper right hand corner comes with a sad tale. Viv in France, part of the original sisterhood, died suddenly and unexpectedly while visiting her daughter in July. I found this poem on her blog, and hope her family will appreciate the posthumous entry on her behalf.

sisterhood quilt full page

Sisterhood Quilt: *Upper row* Kate, Chas, Chas and Viv *Middle row* Anne, Sandi, Sandra and Alys *Bottom row* Anne’s cover, book detail, map (copyrighted material belonging to original artist)

sisterhoood quilt

The threads that draw us together

Contributing Artists so Far:


Anne Lawson
Kate from Tall Tales from Chiconia
Sandra (Lady Red Specs) from Please Pass the Recipe
Megan (Chas) from Chas Spain
Sandi, who lives in Wandin East

sisterhood map of Australia

A corner of the map. All this fun started in Australia

The States

Alys from Gardening Nirvana (that’s me)
Sue From The Magpie’s Nest (the sketchbook is with Sue now)

Artists to Come:

Ushashree from Creative Crafts DIY


Marina in Greece, Athens Letters
Lyn, also in France, Tialys
Constanze is in Germany
Annett blogs at Knetty Craft
Jan is in Britain, The Snail of Happiness
Margaret, also from Britain, The Crafty Creek
Then back to Anne in Australia

It’s been a joyous experience taking part in this project*. I hope you’ll come visit our shared blog and get to know us a bit better.

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.
Isadora James

*except when I freaked out at all the talent on the pages before me



46 thoughts on “Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe

  1. This is the neatest thing, to see all these folks’ creativity and the art that results. I was hoping more people would write about it. And your entry is quite clever and ties together everything the way a quilt combines fabrics. I like that you put your squirrel in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is neat, isn’t it? I love the word neat by the way, and have used it liberally all my life. 🙂 A lot of effort went into the founding of the sisterhood, how we would display the work, the direction of travel, the interactive map. It’s such a collaboration, all done with fun and thoughtfulness. There’s a metaphor here, I’m certain of it. I’m glad you liked my little squirrel square.

      Thank you, thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Clever thing! what a good idea to literally stitch us together :-).
    It’s fascinating to see what everyone brings to the Sketchbook, all wrapped round in Anne’s beautiful bound pages. What a treasure it will be!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful Alys! Your huge heart shines through as you gather everyone together and make a page that binds and unites 🙂 This is such a picture of who you are, I love it. The whole idea is most wonderful and what a great treasure it will be in the end. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Wow! I love that every entry is so different, yet all can combine into a whole. Which you have shown so beautifully! I can’t wait to get my claws on the book – before breaking out in the proverbial cold sweat. Being towards the end means you get to see more of the entries! Well done again. Alys!🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kerry, paralyzed is a great word. In the end, it came down to using the things I know: paper and thread and my trusty sewing machine. Even the bobbin cooperated so that I was done in one. I wish everyone could hold this treasure of a book. Thank you for your kind words.


  5. All I see is a blogging community getting tighter and tighter. The world gets smaller and larger at the same time. I am in love with this idea! I know most of these contributors and am in awe of all the talent. I love what you have done as well. Pauline always says it right so there you have it. You have stitched the group together. Looking forward to seeing it as it travels.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a community we have, Marlene. Never in my wildest dreams could I have known where this wonderful world of blogging would lead. I too am in awe of all the talent hear: poetry, quilting, painting, technology, all beautifully represented. Even the post offices across the world are cooperating beautifully, ensuring the safe travels of the represented sisters.

      Thank you for your always, gracious comments and for your love and support. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I feel fortunate that I already had something I felt would be appropriate to put in the sketchbook or I’d have been completely paralyzed too! I’m hoping my contribution will not intimidate future participants but show them how far and wide the possibilities range. ;- )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue, I can’t wait to see what you contribute. Good thinking having something prepared ahead of time. I’m impressed.

      I like the idea of fare-ranging possibilities. We’re all creative in our own way.


  7. I have to say “ditto to Pauline” too. You have brought us together, Alys, such a sweet soul.
    I told my elderly Mum about the Sketchbook and she loves to hear about its travels. I will show her the photos of your Sketchbook Quilt and I am under strict instructions to show it to her when it returns to me! We wondered how many other projects were circling the world.


  8. I love this idea and have serious envy of whoever takes final possession of it. I suppose it’s too complicated to make copies so that each contributor can have their own? I’m just off to look at all the entries so far – fascinating reading!


  9. Wow hon, that’s the coolest idea! Congratulations on participating and I adore your contribution. You my dear should never doubt your specialness or compare your ample talents to others. I tend to think creativity comes from the heart and while we share a piece of that, it will always be unique to you and that’s a wonderful thing. A quilt stitched together is the perfect analogy for this lovely collaborative work. How absolutely awesome to have the journal travel hand to hand around the world. I did skip over to the TSOTTS blog and visited each entry. I apologize to all the contributors that I haven’t time today to leave a message for each, but my thoughts and feelings will transpire when time allows. Amazing Alys, it’s all inspiring and frankly heartwarming to hear each woman talk about the journey of this sketchbook while in their care. Loving it all and loving you ❤ xo K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mwaaaaa. You always say the nicest, most supportive things. Thank you, Boomdee!

      It’s extraordinary seeing this journal skipping across the miles. It gives you renewed faith in the postal system too.

      It’s so good of you to go visit the others. We’re all busy and I know everyone in the blogging world understands. At some point you just can’t keep up with everyone, even though you desperately want to.

      Thank you for being here. Hugs xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Alys – coming here belatedly to say thanks again – it’s been so nice to read all the messages about the gorgeous way you have stitched us together (little bit misty here!) and your lovely posts. Sorry to read about the combination of forest fires and the republican at the moment – too much for one lifetime. We have antarctic winds and lashings of rain here – the poor planet trying to even itself out I’m sure. I’ll get back into posting this month a bit more again.


  11. Pingback: One, One-Thousand – Gardening Nirvana

  12. Pingback: The Sketchbook in all its glory! | Anne Lawson

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