May 10, 2009
I’m not a hugely crafty person, and I’m rubbish at finishing massive projects (no time!), but I can’t resist tinkering with things, and I’m a huge map fiend, so I came up with a little crafty project a little while back that even someone with limited crafty talent (i.e. me) would be able to manage: a cross-stitch version of the tube map.
My love/hate relationship with public transport is well documented which made this even more attractive. But if that wasn’t enough, my reasoning was this:
- It’s all straight lines
- and blobs for the stations
- and easy angles
- it’s already laid out on a grid structure
- Beck’s simple graphic design means it uses set angles, thicknesses and colours
- Instantly recognisable, even without any words on it
- I live in London and take the tube every day
- It’s just mindless enough to be able to do without full attention i.e. while watching a DVD box set or something on telly
So, here’s how I did it:
- I got a tube map from the TFL site
- cropped it to the central zone (basically zone 1 + a chunk of zone 2)
- in photoshop, erased all the station names
- still in photoshop, increased contrast
- used mosaic filter to transform image into 5×5 blocks
- added a 5×5 grid over the top
- blanked any squares with partial colour in them (this meant shifting some stations slightly to the left or right)
- simplified the pattern by filling in boxes with block colour (e.g. stations)
- went to local craft/knitting shop and selected some embroidery silks based on tubeline colours (not exact, but I can live with approximation)
- sewed a purple perimeter border which looks decorative but which actually made it easier to count off stitches inside the grid
- annotated a printed version of the map, with square counts (between stations, for example)
- started in the bottom right hand corner with the H&C (pink) line and then worked my way around the map, line by line
- I left all the stations until the end
So here’s the pattern, in case anyone else wants to have a go:
For reference, it’s roughly A4 size, using 14-count Aida fabric (which I got from John Lewis).
It’s not perfect – there are some small counting errors in there, so I had to get a bit liberal with some of the joining angles, especially towards East London, and the stations are a bit square – but it’s not bad for a freehand thing, and a first attempt.
All in all, I’m pretty chuffed.
You can see I’m in the process of adding a border to it, to secure the edges, and I’ve still got to fill in the Thames before I can frame it or turn it into a cushion, but it’s too nice outside today…