Quilting the World

Finished World Quilt

Last year for Christmas I finished a top for Kent that looks like the Earth from Space called Blue Marble. Kent and I are both cartographers or map makers so this quilt was especially fitting for me to make for him.

World Quilt pattern
World Quilt pattern

I decided a while back that I would do contour or topographic lines and originally the plan was to do an overall quilting pattern. When I pulled the quilt top back out and looked at it I decided not to do an overall pattern because there were 4 different features found in the quilt: areas that were Land, areas that were Water, areas that were Clouds and areas that were Space.

BlueMarble_onbed

I decided to approach this as I would approach making a map. When creating a map, the cartographer collects source materials to decide how to best visualize the data on a map. They have to take into account many aspects including the area to be mapped, the scale of the map, level of detail to include, etc… Much of this is determined by the audience and purpose. Depending on a map’s purpose, cartographers select what information to include and what information to leave out which is part of their cartographic license. No single map can accurately show every feature on Earth’s surface. I couldn’t resist sharing this old picture of cartographers busy at work making hand-drawn maps in 1943.

Cartographers at Work
Cartographers at Work

As I was deciding how to best quilt this I gathered a lot of source materials just as a cartographer would to figure out the best way to quilt the World. I found many examples for the different types of quilting I decided to use for reference. I also found a map of North and South America that shows generalized topography for each continent. Here are all my source materials laid out to plan for quilting the World.

Source Materials
Source Materials

In the end, I decided to quilt each of the 4 different features in the World quilt a different way. For the Land areas I quilted contour or topographic lines in black thread. I did not just do an overall topographic meander; instead I mimicked the topography of North and South America based on the maps I had and the relief shown on the quilt.

For the Ocean areas I quilted bathymetric lines (i.e. contours lines for water bodies) in blue thread. I referred to my maps of North and South America and the coloring of the Ocean for these areas.

For the Cloud areas I quilted a water-like meander in white thread. I had seen this design many times before, but hadn’t ever tried it. The “lines” of this quilt made it very easy to do the Cloud areas.

Finally, for the the Space areas I did a simple meander.

Space Quilting from Back
Space Quilting from Back

As you can imagine the back looks a little wild.

I must say it feels good to have this quilt finished; it took me a little over a month to do the quilting, but it was worth the effort. Here is a picture of the finished quilt.

Finished World Quilt

We decided to hang it in our Living room so I’ll post a picture of it once it is hanging. I am also really excited about the amount of quilt tops I have quilted this year. I started the year with 13 tops to quilt and am now down to 3 to go. That is quite an accomplishment and finishing is ALWAYS good!!!

    Sew long from the Quilter on Osage Hill!

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