A while ago I read about Haptic Lab, a company that makes quilts using city maps, combining my love of sewing and cartography – what more could a girl want? They have full bed-sized quilts that are pretty expensive, but they also have “do it yourself” kits. What could I do but start my own Boston version?
I got the package shortly before Christmas, and this week I finally finished!
Quilting refers to sandwiching a layer of batting (usually a thin nonwoven puffy fabric of some sort) inside two layers of fabric, and then sewing through all the layers to form a quilted effect. It’s commonly combined with patchworking on the top layer of fabric, which is what most traditional quilts look like.
However, this map quilt is different. There is still a sandwich, but instead of patchworking it’s just plain pieces of fabric. Then you lay the Haptic Lab “map” over it – this is a layer of interfacing (a bit like transparent soft tracing paper) which has a map printed on it. The magic happens with the sewing – I hand-embroidered through the interfacing and sandwich with all the key roads and shorelines of the Boston area, creating the quilting effect: blue-grey quilting thread for roads, and blue embroidery thread for the rivers and sea. Finally, you have to rip off all the interfacing – this alone took two evenings, because it’s so tricky to remove without tearing out the stitches!
Here are some details. The waterfront of Boston which looks quite lovely in blue:
Boston Common and the Charles river:
And a little star for my house!
And for those of you who are interested…. here’s the back side! Not particularly neat (my embroidery skills are moderate at best), but you can definitely see a reverse image of Boston there…
So, the final question is what to *do* with the quilt now. It’s probably best displayed on a wall but I’m not sure which wall, if any, would suit it… For now, I’m trying it out as a throw on my sofa – what do you think?