Early this year I started working on something I had not attempted for 50 years – figure sketching. When I was at school, I was told I had no artistic ability, after drawing a circus scene complete with many people in it. Since then I had no confidence in my drawing and only made stick people. This year the group I belong to, Textilers, will be mounting our first exhibition. The name and the aim is Breaking Boundaries – so I thought it was time to resurrect my figure sketching, and I then intended to stitch around the lines. As usual I looked for and found an appropriate book on the subject, Stitch Draw by Rosie James. I spent many hours in the next few months observing closely, trying and trying again, and drawing the people I saw in Rundle Mall in Adelaide, one of my regular haunts. Sitting having a cappuccino means people don’t notice that you are sketching the people around you. There were some fascinating groups of people at tables, walking around, shopping, using mobile phones and so on. The fashions they wore interested me as much as the sketches I made, and interpreting them in machine stitch was the enjoyable end result. I used various backgrounds, such as strips of dyed silk (seen here) using gold and rayon threads; also I used plain colour backgrounds with contrasting stitch colours. Generally I liked to trace my original sketches onto white or coloured tissue paper and stitch through that, using a hoop upside down, with free motion straight stitch. The paper could then be removed or left on in places for effect. Fun!