A Liberty Print Map of the World

Flossie Teacakes' Liberty Print Map of the World

It was a lovely thing to discover people are still reading blogs in the comments to my last post - thank you so much for letting me know :) I thought I'd drop in and share a few photos of the project I'm currently working on, which is a Liberty print map of the world (that's Africa above). 

Flossie Teacakes' Liberty Print Map of the World

I spent several months thinking about this project before I began, pondering what size the map would need to be for all the names of the countries to fit in, how I was going to colour the map, and other bits and bobs. I ended up chatting through some of those things with a map maker, who told me there's actually no official guide for what colour should be assigned to a country, and that while some maps let this be dictated by temperature or have some kind of key relating to population or rainfall, others simply assign colours at random and that's absolutely fine in Map Land. 

Flossie Teacakes' Liberty Print Map of the World

In the end, I decided to assign colours by continent, although that's not without issue: several countries are transcontinental and views are torn as to whether they're more one thing than another when colour-coding a map in this way (for example, Georgia is generally treated as part of Asia in this scenario, but many Georgians identify more closely with Europe). Russia is another sticking point - the majority of it rests in Asia, but Moscow and its more populated areas fall in Europe making this seem the decider, but discussing this with a Russian friend, she suggested that I could just as easily assign Russia a colour all of its own, as its size means it can also be seen as a separate entity entirely, which is how she'd view it in this scenario. In fact, Russia still doesn't have a fabric as I've decided to leave it to the very end - it's just such a whopping big land mass that I think it will need just the right fabric to get the balance right with all the other prints. 

Flossie Teacakes' Liberty Print Map of the World

I am wary of making a mistake - when I made my map of the UK several years ago, I unwittingly based it on a map with county boundaries that were a thirty years out of date, as well as making a few of my own errors, which provoked a fury I hadn't been anticipating, and which came as quite a shock. This time, I'm much more mindful of trying to get things right, but the more I've researched, the more I've become aware this is an impossible task: territories are disputed; boundaries and names change constantly (most recently, Macedonia has become North Macedonia; Czech Republic, Czechia); maps alter depending on where you're viewing them from, as Google use your location to show you the version of the world map you're likely to find most palatable; there are thousands and thousands of islands in the oceans and I can't sew every one of them; and I'm not a cartographer, or even someone with a pub quiz-worthy knowledge of basic geography, so will inevitably make mistakes again. 

But despite knowing I can't get it right, the compulsion to make a map of the world remains. I was thinking about why we humans are so instinctively drawn to maps and although I can think of lots of reasons, when I was looking through some books of map illustrations recently, I realised what I really love is that each representation is unique, but also instantly recognisable as 'map' or 'world', as though a basic visual imprint of these things rests in our psyche, primed for us to match things up alongside it, giving confirmation that, yes, that's a map; that's the world. 

I think it's that same thing that makes me want to replicate London Underground's tube map or iconic buildings - because there's something enjoyable about experimenting with something that will remain instantly recognisable (my friend Ben recently showed me this tube map created from tubes of squirted paint, which I love). And there's something just as enjoyable about that as an onlooker too - for Christmas, my daughter bought me these peas - they're made from wool, crocheted, and have smiley faces - but still we recognise them instantly as peas and there's something delightful in that instant recognition.

Beautiful crocheted peapod made by Lybo

(I know people may be desperate for their own peas after seeing mine :) They're made by the lovely Lybo and you can find them here - she also sells the crochet pattern to grow your own - when I mentioned them on Instagram, Lybo told me it caused quite a rush on peas, which may be the loveliest thing I've ever been credited with...although really it should be attributed to my daughter for finding them in the first place). 

Anyway, back in Map Land, a few final thoughts: 

- I think Laura Mercier just make the best tweezers - the generous thumb and forefinger rest always makes me feel so much more nimble-fingered when tweezing eyebrows or countries into place (fear not: different tweezers for different jobs). 

Flossie Teacakes' Liberty Print Map of the World

- I generally use my old mechanical machine (that's the 1529 in that post, not the vintage Singer) as it's so much more precise to have complete control over everything, but having an automatic needle up/down feature is super helpful when doing hours of appliqué like this, so this is the one time my electronically-minded machine comes out.
- If I'm sewing at night, I often find it difficult to differentiate between similar colour fabrics and would quite like to get some kind of additional light for my sewing machine - it isn't metal bodied for a magnetic light and I can't see a place where a light could easily clip on....do you have recommendations?

Flossie Teacakes' Liberty Print Map of the World

Finally, I've had the skylights in my loft open as I've been writing this, which feels quite amazing - although it's still very much coat weather, it's a new thing for an open window not to feel like a bracing ice bath (although it should be noted that this is not an entirely joyful observation - I am such a fan of winter - but still, the lighter evenings and blossom feel like a treat for now).  

I hope you're having a happy week, 
Florence x

Comments

  1. Your map looks lovely and so precise!

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    1. Thank you so much, Laura - it's got more precise as I've gone on...there are a few bits of Africa (which was my first continent), where I felt very much like I was settling back into machine appliqué after a long break ;)

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  2. This is going to be incredible

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Susie - I'm so pleased you think so :)

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  3. Your map is looking fabulous and I'm eager to see what colour/print you choose for Australia :)

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    1. Australia is going to be red - I'd really wanted it to be orange as this makes me think more of that scorched earth colour I remember from my childhood there, but I didn't have enough red prints for how many countries there are in South America, so I had to switch them. I actually did an Instagram poll this morning asking my followers in Australia to decide on a choice of two prints for me - it's been so lovely to hear from people on the other side of the world all day :)

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  4. Oh my, this is absolutely incredible! I am always amazed at the talent that some people have, you can sew, design, imagine a project and work it out. I do hope that this eventually becomes a print. x

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    1. Thank you so much, Kay :) I'm so hoping it will too, but I'm currently thinking over how the place names will be readable on a print unless I make it the same size as the actual map, which will be 1m x 70cm (it's been sized to go in a particular frame from Habitat). I'm unsure how well they'd sell when they'd be enormous and substantially more expensive than my A4 prints, so at this point I'm still pondering...x

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  5. I am enjoying following your progress with this on Instagram so good to get some background info. xx

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    1. Oh Lin - thank you so much for joining me in both places 🥰. x

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  6. It is going to be amazing (it already is). I admire your patience and determination to create something so intricate as a world map.

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  7. I am embroidering a street map of my city, so pleasurable and every street brings memories. As for a light, do you have an LED strip light that adheres to the top of your machine? It is invaluable for me. I'll post a link in another comment.

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  8. Link to the kind of light I mentioned: https://www.amazon.com/Madam-Sew-Bright-Machine-Lighting/dp/B07SQF2DFR/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=sewing+machine+LED+light&qid=1616509949&sr=8-13 They are available from many different sellers and not only through Amazon.

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    1. Oh wonderful! It's like a sewing machine runway - I think I could probably guide planes in as well as my world map. I'm so grateful - this will be perfect - thank you. x

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  9. Wow! This is going to be an amazing piece of art. xo

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  10. I have found a rather inexpensive light that works very well in my sewing room (which does not have enough light at night). Here is a link to show you - easy to use, three brightness levels, easy to recharge via usb link to the computer or a phone charger. :) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WNRN9WQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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  11. This is looking so good and can’t wait to see the final colour pick of Russia

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    1. Thank you :) Russia ended up being quite dark, but uses one of my favourite prints.

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  12. You really have gold in your fingers. Very nice "world" sewing work :)
    Thanks to share to us
    Natasha @ moppetdolls

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  13. Hurrah Flossie is back blogging, I have missed your blog I have followed you very quietly since the beggining of you blog so don't ever think no one is looking , there are many of us I am sure who just lurk in the background. Your Map is amazing my eye is drawn to Russia when I look at it , I am really looking forward to seeing the finished piece . Keep on Blogging Florence you have many sewing Girl Fans out there, or in my case not quite girl fans at 69.

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    1. Oh Sue, this was such a lovely message to receive - thank you for venturing out to let me know. x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x