Honest confession - maps have never really been my thing. On the other hand, my husband loves them. So when I told him about this challenge with the theme of Maps, I asked him what I should do. He said I should replicate the Fisher map we used on our honeymoon trip. Fisher Maps - if you have every trekked into the border country of Minnesota and Canada, you may have used a Fisher map, made by the W. A. Fisher Company. They are iconic maps that have been made since 1929. You can read more about the company here.
A little about our honeymoon trip. I had never been to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW, but it is usually shortened to BWCA), but I had been KOA camping (meaning, comfy camping in a camper), so I figured I knew enough. Ha. Camping in the BWCA is sleeping in a tent, eating by campfire, using a very out in the open toilet (okay, there are trees), and no showers. Hubs had been to the BWCA quite a few times, but this was his first time going in solo, with a new wife in tow. We learned a lot, about camping - and each other.
Years earlier, my dad and my brother built redwood strip canoes, and hubs thought it would be a neat way to honor my dad (who he never got to meet) by taking the canoe on the trip with us. It was a beautiful craft in the water, but it was heavy even before being fully loaded. To give you an idea, hubs made an oak yoke for the canoe, so it would be easier for him to carry. We took it out for a trial run (without packs, etc.), and the yoke broke when he flipped it up onto his shoulders. Hmm. It was so wide at the center that it took up most of the roof on our old Chevy Impala, while other cars were zipping by with two canoes strapped to theirs. But as I said, it was an awesome canoe in the water, so we were determined.
A week before we were to head in, there were news reports of a bear attack in the BWCA - a rare thing. The attack just happened to be in the area where we were headed. Hubs wisely decided that it might be good to go to another lake rather than have me worrying about a bear (not that it stopped me!). When getting approval to switch our entry point from the ranger at check-in, she quipped, "If you can make it a week in the BWCA for your honeymoon, your marriage will last forever!" Well, here we are, 30-some odd years later. I guess we did something right.
Upon arriving at our campsite, after paddling through the rain and hilly, muddy, slippery portages (only two, thankfully), we found a little plastic giraffe left on a big rock. Since our campsite was on a point, we dubbed the campsite "Rainy Giraffe Point". I seriously considered taking that little giraffe with me for a momento when we left, but in the end, left it for the next campers to discover.
Fisher maps are known for their bright colors, a yellow green for the land, and blue for the water. There are topographic markings as well, and I wasn't sure how I was going to stitch that in on the land. I was surprised to find a piece of Tula Pink fabric I had in my stash - no idea when or where I bought it - that had a design that looked topographical, and in the right color! I love it when that happens.
So I did a rough trace of the lake, just making it kinda like the actual shape. I traced it in reverse on some fusible, and fused it to the blue fabric and cut it out. Even with rough tracing, those little ins and outs called for a sharp scissors. Before I attached the lake to the map, I sandwiched the yellow green fabric, batting and backing and did some quick grid quilting to mimic the latitude and longitude lines on the map.
Once that was done, I fused the lake onto the quilt. I decided to hand stitch around the outline of the lake using Aurifil 12 wt. blue thread, then I stitched in some depth lines, but not exactly like what would be seen on the actual Fisher map - just enough for you to get the idea. Next came marking the campsites in little red x's - the campsite we stayed at is marked with a heart. BWCA maps come marked with designated campsites, which have a fire grate on site and biffies (toilets) nearby. Campers are only to camp at those specified sites, and they are first come, first served. If all the sites are taken, you find another lake on your route with an open site.
I also stitched in the approximate route we took across the lake to the campsite. It rained the entire way, but thankfully broke long enough for us to get our tent up and attempt to hang our packs. Did I mention that our packs were heavy too? The ropes broke while we were hanging the packs, so we ended up putting the packs in the canoe, and the canoe out in the water (tethered to a tree) and hoped no bear would come into camp. I was beginning to see why the ranger said what she did . . .
Next I attached the label, which I wrote up with a Pigma pen. Then I worked on the silhouette sketch of Rainy Giraffe Point - that little giraffe-ish figure was a bit difficult in that tiny size!
For the backing, I used a fat quarter I've had in my stash, just waiting for the perfect quilt. It seemed appropriate. Then I added striped binding, because I like striped bindings.
Here's a peek at my finished quilt next to a Fisher map. I think it worked out well!
I'm looking forward to seeing the other Maps quilts! Thanks for the fun challenge!