GUEST POST: Have Chair, Will Travel, by Kit Bakke

Nov 30, 2013 by

GUEST POST: Have Chair, Will Travel, by Kit Bakke

Hi, friends. As we close out this Thanksgiving week, I thought I’d give you one more post by another fantastic Booktrope writer, Kit Bakke. Kit is a girl-power history geek of the best sort; her book Dot to Dot is a young adult book about a teen and a quest and meetings with Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, and her book Miss Alcott’s E-Mail: Yours for Reforms of All Kinds, provides a unique glimpse into the past of Louisa May Alcott while imagining how she’d react to civil rights reforms of the present.  In today’s post, Kit armchair travels through Europe via quilt. You can get to know Kit better on her website

Have Chair, Will Travel

Thanksgiving and Chanukah happen on the same day this year, and they push practically into December—my prediction is that this will make the holiday season an even more intense and exhausting roller coaster ride than usual. I, for one, need a quiet zone to retreat to when all that hype and hoopla start to vibrate my spine like fingernails on the chalkboard. 

Sitting down is a good first step.

There’s so much to do, though, that I need an excuse to sit down and not feel guilty.  So I need something to do, preferably with my hands, and preferably not so absorbing that I can’t talk to people (“Honey, would you get the laundry out of the dryer?” “No, Jimmy, you can’t eat that now” “Would someone answer the door?”) all at the same time.

My choice this season is embroidering a quilted map of the world. It is SO cool! I love all maps, and this one I get to make with colored thread and a big embroidery hoop I got years ago when I made a small watercolor quilt for the Western Washington State Fair. I bought the stencil from Haptic Labs in Brooklyn . They make stencils of city maps, the world, constellations—the  word “haptic” refers to the sense of touch. Perfect for handicrafts.

So far, I’ve stitched the borders of Europe and Africa. Just this first bit has sent me to Google several times to understand the definition of a continent (turns out there are several definitions, and there is not worldwide agreement on any one). The Suez Canal marks the boundary between Africa and Asia, making Egypt a country spanning two continents, at least since the 1967 war when Egypt took the Sinai Peninsula. I sailed through the Suez Canal a couple years ago—the African side is agriculturally rich, from Nile River irrigation; the Asian side is desert, spotted with burned out tanks from the war.


Photo by Kit Bakke

Even more borderly, if that’s a word, is Istanbul—the city itself is partly in Europe and partly in Asia. Istanbul is a city like my hometown Seattle—a city built on hills, cut across by water. It’s beautiful and busy, and the food is a divine mix of Turkish, Mediterranean and Greek.  I was there last spring, looking at Greek and Roman archaeological ruins (and some not so ruined!) and otherwise wandering around. This is my picture of the library at Ephesus, an ancient port city south and west of Istanbul.

So with every stitch, I am able to keep the holiday machine running smoothly, happily staying put in my chair, and letting my mind—and my fingers—do  the walking. Try it yourself!

Cheers to all.

I’d love to hear about your travels and about your handicraft projects.

See more on my website

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