Eastern Europe in Stitches

In 2018 my husband and I took a trip to Eastern Europe. It was a cruise down the Elbe River, starting in Berlin, and, after an overland trip through Poland, ending in Warsaw.

I had actually traveled to Prague once before in 1969. While traveling through Europe  I obtained a visa and just went, out of curiosity.  I was not impressed. My curiosity was quickly quenched. The city looked drab, dirty and gray.

This time Prague and the rest of the cities we visited: Berlin, Wittenberg, Meissen, Dresden, Bad Schandau, Decin,  Krakow and Warsaw were very different. They were vibrant and colorful. I was particularly impressed by the meticulous rebuilding that had taken place after the massive destruction during World War II.  Some of it as a result of Allies’ bombing, and some the result of destruction by Nazi Germany. Warsaw in particular was razed by the Nazis after the failure of the Warsaw uprising. The city was painstakingly rebuilt.

I have long had the practice of sketching while traveling. But this time I tried something different. I took some scraps of cloth, pieces of wool felt, and needles and embroidery thread to make little “travel quilts” as we went. It worked pretty well for me. It seems there was often time while enjoying the scenery when I could stitch in my lap. My little stitching bag was small enough to fit in my purse. Sometimes I made little drawings on white material, and stitched them. I also kept my eye out for objects I could add. Trips to a couple of flea markets netted a good supply of items, including a big collection of used postage stamps, mostly from Eastern Europe. That was a treasure trove!

I ended up with almost two dozen small quilts.  When we got back my husband, who is a photographer, and I held an exhibit of our works together.