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Sew Far Away: Needlecraft charts of the best of travel

See the world through cross-stitch

Long before I took my first trip to Europe, I had been to crazy Ludwig's outlandish castle in Neuschwanstein, the charming medieval city of Rottenburg and St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. I've come to know every architectural detail of the Noonan House in Jacksonville, Oregon and the Golden Pavillion in Kyoto, Japan. Though I never climbed the slopes of Mt. Shasta, I know the gulches and ravines that give it its form.

With a needle and thread, I have traveled to some of the world's most beautiful places. With every stitch I sewed, the small towns and famous buildings I embroidered became more familiar. When I was finished, I knew these places.

Most people think that travel is the physical process of visiting places. But the best of travel comes with a deeper understanding of where you've been. Any way you can slow down...stop to really understand where you are, what you are experiencing, will make your travels more rewarding. And building connections to places you've never been will make getting there more meaningful.

Pick a pattern...from a place you long to visit or as a reminder of a great trip you've taken. Get some AIDA cloth and embroidery floss. Start stitching and relax as you are taken to another place and time. Hang the needlework in a special spot to help you save for you second honeymoon or long awaited vacation or give the picture to a friend to honor a special moment you shared together.

Or simply browse these patterns and pictures and realize how spectacular the world is. Then start saving your pennies and plan for a vacation of a lifetime.