current obsession: vintage embroidered maps

right before the snow started to fall this weekend, i found myself staring at a beautiful embroidered map inside of sol moscot’s, waiting for aaron to get an eye exam and pick up his new frames. as i was staring i remembered another gorgeous embroidered map i saw during our trip to brimfield and felt like kicking myself for not getting it. [image above via violet folklore]

these days, i seem to be gravitating towards antique embroidered maps in a way that’s almost subconscious. i almost always troll ebay for vintage maps (i love old maritime maps) and found myself randomly adding the word “embroidered” to my search without even thinking about it. i don’t know what it is about these maps, but they’re such sweet, and quirky, ways to illustrate specific geography regions, or an entire country. [image above via george glazer]

i tend to be drawn to maps that use imagery to represent the agriculture or landmarks of one region (like the california map above), but you can find all sorts of maps online at ebay, 1st dibs, and even etsy sometimes. if anyone’s got another great source for vintage embroidered maps i’d love to know! (i’d really love to find one for the mid-atlantic or south)[image above via jon worth]

  1. katy elliott says:

    I love these. Great inspiration.

  2. kate says:

    WANT!!!!!!! Lovely. Someone please share where you find these.

  3. bailey says:

    I am totally with you. I saw one of Mississippi while staying at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale last summer. I coveted it so much that I seriously contemplated smuggling it into my luggage. But my conscience prevailed.

  4. Kellie says:

    Have you seen the map pillows available at uncommon goods? I have been in love with them since i first laid eyes on them!

  5. laura says:

    my grandmother made one of these many many many years before i existed, and i have admired it my entire life! i remember being totally transfixed by it as a child. it’s the whole united states, with little symbols stitched all over to represent cultural or agricultural characteristics of various regions. it’s been hanging in my mother’s dining room for the past 10 or so years, and i really covet it. since she died when i was about 4 years old, i never really had the opportunity to engage in artsy activities with her, but as an adult i absolutely know we would have bonded over such things. it is such a special object, and i’m so happy to be reminded of it by this post!

  6. Love these! I could stare at maps all day long when I was little. Still have lofty aspirations of framing some one of these days.

  7. Laura says:

    I just watched julie and julia and it looks like julie had a couple of maps (one looked like louisiana) above her bed. very cool!

  8. Jennifer says:

    I just listed a pair of vintage North and South America maps on my Etsy site. I’ve had them for a while, but have never figured out what to do with them. I would love to see them go to a happy home instead of hanging in my closet!

  9. Erika says:

    That looks like it’ll be a fun project! :D I’d love to make one for my own home state of NJ.

  10. Estelle says:

    Love these. I blogged about my grandmother’s embroidered map of France earlier this month. She made it before she had kids and it hung in there home, framed for many years. She gave it to me when I was 22 and visited her in the south of France. It’s a treasure but to big to fit in my house right now. I so wish I could hang it on the wall and gaze at it all evening. I love seeing that other people appreciate these too.

  11. Isette says:

    This post reminds me of the incredible embroidered map my historical society has from 1809. It covers from the Atlantic Coast to the edge of the Louisiana Purchase – detailed down to the rivers!

  12. ladylala says:

    i also saw the ones at the shack up inn in clarksdale, ms! these posts make me so happy that i collected my grandmother’s work while she was still around. i love having a connection to the things in my home.

  13. hrhkat says:

    that california map isnt quite right, the poppy should be more west…i should know because I live where all the poppys are

    and yes its gorgeous when all the fields are orange.

  14. kate says:

    I love them too!!! I have a couple of them; my prized one is a Great Lakes map that my great grandma made. It says, “Ye Great Lakes”–love the sense of humor. If my house was on fire, it’s what I would grab.

  15. Brimfield is the best place on earth!

  16. Cameron says:

    There is an artist in Ohio who has been doing a felt & embroidery state map set that is a fresh take on these vintage maps. She’s only done a few of the states, but so far they have all been beautiful:

  17. Nativeson71 says:

    Great thing to highlight – on my own weekly loop throught the thrift stores in my community – I often see these embroidery crafts hanging on a clothes rack – some are unique and worth the .50 I pay for them….others have no value. I have a tiny stash of these in my home – suitable for framing or something.

  18. laura says:

    Funny that Kellie posted about the map pillows on the Uncommon Goods website—-I actually asked for one of those for Christmas. I got it in the mail yesterday and it’s gorgeous!

  19. Theresa says:

    The “Long Isle Land” looks like it’s throwing up the rock fist. :) Anyone else see it?

  20. Martin says:

    actually not a map, but the Bayeux Tapesty came to my mind when i red this article (

  21. I have a great embroidered map of Cape Cod looking for the right home up on etsy right now!

  22. Debbie says:

    I was wondering if I shared a photo of the U.S. That was embroidered in 1851…would anyone be able to give me an idea as to its worth? It belongs to my neighbor that is getting on in years and was made by one of her grandmothers.


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