Nancy Nehring's embroidered
globe. Photograph by Joe Coca.
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From about 1804 until 1844, young schoolgirls at Westtown School,
a boarding school in Pennsylvania established by Quakers in 1799,
embroidered globes, both terrestrial and celestial. Used to teach
geography in the early decades of the nineteenth century, real
globes were expensive; thus, a stitched globe was an economical
way for a young girl not only to learn her lessons but to practice
her needlework. For more details, see Judith A. Tyner's article
"Stitching the World: Westtown School's Embroidered Globes"
in the September/October 2004 issue of PieceWork.
Our embroidered globe is based on ones available
between 1800 and 1840 and features place names in use during that
period. Placing the finished globe on an egg cup, a low candlestick,
or an acrylic base are three options for display. Personalize
your globe with your initials and the year you made it.
NOTE: The six charts associated
with this project are saved as Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format)
files. The charts, which are provided in links throughout the
instructions, can be viewed and printed only with the Adobe Acrobat
Reader. To download a FREE reader, click Adobe
Acrobat Reader . For your convenience, the file size is
noted next to the PDF icon so you can estimate your download time.
Finally, if a PDF file takes too long to download, use these
to save the file instead.
- Broadcloth, 100% silk fabric, ivory, 12 x
22 1/2 inches (30.5 x 57.2 cm), 1 piece
- Medium-weight canvas, 100% cotton, ivory,
12 x 22 1/2 inches (30.5 x 57.2 cm), 1 piece
- YLI Thread, 100% silk 1000-denier thread,
22 yards (20/m)/card, 1 card each of black, ivory, and red
- John James Needle, embroidery size 7
- Sewing thread, ivory
- IBC Silk Pins, super fine (.5 mm), 1 3/8 inches
(3.5 cm) long, glass head, 250/box, 1 box
- Mechanical pencil, 0.5 mm
- Pigma Micron 01 Permanent Marking Pen, 1 mm, black
- Fabric Dye Brush Pens, permanent pigment, 1 package of 6 colors
Materials are available at needlework, fabric
and craft stores or from mail-order or online resources.
5 1/2 inches (14.0 cm) in diameter
A and B
(162 KB), Land
Form Pattern 1
(212 KB), Land
Form Pattern 2
(555 KB), Land
Form Pattern 3
(191 KB), Land
Form Pattern 4
Patterns may be photocopied for personal
Notes: Use one strand of thread throughout.
Construct the inner canvas base: Trace pattern pieces A and B
on paper and cut out. Working on the back of the canvas, align
the grain line of the larger pattern (A) with the grain of the
fabric. Trace the outer line of the pattern with the pencil; repeat
eleven more times. To indicate the seam allowances, center the
smaller pattern (B) inside the previously traced larger patterns
on the fabric and trace around the smaller pattern. Cut out all
the pieces along the outside lines.
Sew the pieces together to form the canvas base:
With right sides facing, stab a pin straight down through the
top point of two pieces; repeat at the right-hand corner. Pin
the seam lines on the right-hand side in two or three places.
With sewing thread doubled and knotted, stitch small backstitches
along the pinned seam line, starting and ending exactly at the
corner and the point. Remove the pins. Repeat until all the pieces
are paired. Backstitch the remaining long sides of three pairs
into a half sphere. Repeat for the three remaining pairs to form
the other half sphere; leave a 1 1/2-inch (3.8-cm) opening in
the center of the last seam. Press the seams open. With right
sides facing, pin and backstitch the two half spheres together.
Turn the sphere right side out through the opening. Fill with
fiberfill (the fiberfill should be packed firmly and distributed
evenly). Slip-stitch the opening closed.
Construct the outer silk cover: Working on the right side of the
silk, align the grain line of the larger pattern (A) with the
grain of the fabric. Trace the outer line of the pattern with
the pencil; repeat eleven more times. Using a light source and
pencil, center and lightly trace the twelve pattern pieces with
the land forms inside the previously traced larger patterns. Mark
the asterisks with small dots; do not trace the letters and numbers.
Cut out all the pieces along the outside lines.
Backstitch the silk pieces together as for the inner canvas base
to form the two half spheres, pressing the completed seams open
as construction progresses; refer to the land-form patterns for
proper placement when pairing pattern pieces (for example, the
side of the pattern piece labeled E 60 should be joined with the
corresponding piece also labeled E 60). Along the 180-degree longitude
lines (E 180 joins W 180), stitch only 2 inches (5.1 cm) from
each pole toward the equator (doing so creates the opening for
inserting the inner canvas base later). With right sides facing,
pin and backstitch the two half spheres together, ensuring that
the 180-degree longitude lines are aligned.
Using small running stitches and the black silk thread, stitch
the outlines of the land forms. Ensure that all seam allowances
are open before you stitch across them.
Insert the inner canvas base through the open seam of the silk
cover: Begin by turning the silk cover partially inside out; the
seams and poles of both the canvas base and the silk cover should
be aligned. Secure by pinning the seam of the Prime Meridian (0-degree
line) to the canvas base. Place this seam on a table; squeeze
the canvas base to make it smaller and pull the silk cover over
it. Pin and slip-stitch the opening of the silk cover closed.
Remove all pins.
With the fabric pens, draw along the running stitches, using blue
on the water sides of the stitches and any color but blue on the
land sides of the stitches. Refer to the land-forms patterns and
list of place names for reference.
To wrap the longitude lines: Place pins in the globe around the
equator every 15 degrees (which roughly corresponds to the time
zones), dividing the space between the vertical seam lines into
four sections (each section will be approximately 3/4 inch [1.9
cm] wide along the equator); place pins half the distance between
the equator and the poles around the globe again dividing the
space between the vertical seam lines into four sections (each
section will be approximately 1/2 inch [1.3 cm] wide); place one
pin in each pole. Tie a slipknot around the pin at the South Pole,
leaving a 6-inch tail. Firmly, but not so firmly as to cause indentations,
wrap the ivory silk thread continuously around all the longitude
lines of the globe, starting at the 180-degree longitude line.
Tie ends together; bury each tail inside the globe by taking a
1 1/2-inch (3.8-cm) stitch in the globe; clip tails.
Add the line for the equator: Using the red thread, begin at the
intersection of the equator and the 180-degree longitude by leaving
a 6-inch (15.2-cm) tail and tying a slipknot around a pin; wrap
around the equator four times, using pins to hold the wraps parallel
and in place. To anchor, wrap once more, using the same thread
and stitching a cross-stitch over all the wrapped threads at every
other intersection with the longitude lines and through the silk
fabric. Tie ends together; bury each tail inside the globe by
taking a 1 1/2-inch (3.8-cm) stitch in the globe; clip tails.
Mark the latitude lines with a pencil dot every 10 degrees (1/2
inch [1.3 cm] apart) along each longitude wrapped line. Place
pins at each mark. Using the ivory silk thread, stitch the latitude
lines above and below the equator from pole to pole: Bring the
thread up on the left side of a longitude line and take a long
stitch to the right toward the pin on the next longitude line.
Couch down with a tiny backstitch over each intersection with
the longitude lines; continue around the globe. Repeat for the
other latitude lines.
Add the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn latitude
lines at 23 degrees, about 1 1/4 inches (3.2 cm), north and south
of the equator, respectively); use one wrap of the red silk thread
and stitch as for the latitude lines; backstitch at the intersections
with the longitude lines. Add the Arctic and the Antarctic Circles
in the same manner at 66 degrees north and south, about 1 1/4
inches (3.2 cm) from the poles.
Place pins at the dots that correspond to the asterisks of the
pattern and wrap the ecliptic line, using the same number of wraps
and cross-stitches as when you stitched the equator. The threads
that run above the pin at the Tropic of Cancer and below the pin
at the Tropic of Capricorn will pass the equator at 180 and 0
degrees longitude as they are wrapped around the globe. Remove
Using the black permanent pen, write the place names on the globe,
making sure that the labels are within and/or evenly spaced across
outlines, latitudes, and longitudes. Refer to the land-forms patterns
and list of place names for reference; the names of the oceans
and continents are larger than other place names. (See list of
place names below.)
About the Designer: Nancy
Nehring of Sunnyvale, California, writes about historical needlework;
her most recent book is Tunisian Crochet (Little Rock,
Arkansas: Leisure Arts, 2004). Her Irish-crochet doll dress won
first place in the crochet/tatting category in PieceWork's Needleworker
of the Year Award 2003.
3. Tropic of Capricorn
4. New Guinea
5. New Holland
7. Chinese Empire
12. Bay of Bengal
15. Indian Ocean
16. Southern Ocean
26. C. of Good Hope
27. Gulf of Guinea
29. Atlantic Ocean
30. Tropic of Cancer
31. Equatorial Coloure
33. C. Horn
34. South America
35. New Amazonia
37. Straight of Magellan
38. Hudson Bay
40. North America
43. Gulf of Mexico
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