‘Beautiful hand-sewn maps of the US. Just looks at the detail’

While browsing People of WalMart Tuesday morning for my daily dose of schadenfreude, I wandered away to the top of the page and visited affiliated site Regretsy, dedicated to lampooning the more dubious items for sale or commissioned on the handmade arts and crafts website Etsy. In search of a good laugh, I found it immediately on that day’s front page when I beheld this quilt that was apparently depicting the 48 contiguous US states.



Well, I learned quite a bit from this quilt, I must say. I had no idea that Rhode Island and Vermont had grown to become two of the largest states, or that Maryland was the smallest member of the union, or that New Mexico is cut in half by Texas, or that Nevada had ocean access.

My favourite comment from the page:

This map is accurate for its time. As you can tell that by the lack of Alaska and Hawaii, this map was made between 1912 and 1959, probably closer to 1912. As everyone knows the older you get, certain masses migrate further and further south, and the same is true with countries. This explains the why the New England states appear larger in this map that the currently are, and why Texas is getting fatter and fatter.

The image being a bit blurry, I decided to digitise it* and see what it looked like rendered as an actual ‘map’:

US Quilt outline


Well, at least it’s a little more recognisable once the states are drawn in:
US quilt with states

Right. (Of course, why there’s suddenly a large lake west of the malformed Oklahoma panhandle is beyond me.) Finally, a straight-up comparison to an actual US map at the same scale via overlay.
US Quilt overlay

Gee, you’d think someone who sews for a hobby would know how to use a ruler. Wait a minute- I absolutely get it now! It was a cartogram all along! Well, that’s what I’ll tell myself to get to sleep tonight, anyway.

*For accuracy’s sake, I spent as much time on digitising as the quiltmaker apparently spent looking at a map.

Further Reading:

Killer, H. (2010). Continental Drift. Regretsy, 23 August 2010. Available at http://www.regretsy.com/2010/08/23/continental-drift/. Accessed 24 August 2010.

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