I am absolutely in love with this special project.
As soon as I started making happy states (like Buddy Rhodes, the first one ever!) , I started thinking about how I need to make a scaled map of the United States, out of felt, with every state sporting a cute lil' face. And I did!
Again, I started with the tiniest state - Rhode Island. When I planned the map in Illustrator, I decided to make the whole thing about 4 feet wide. RI still ended up only 5/8" across! Waaaaaay too tiny to run through my machine, so I hand-stitched it. I hand-stitched MA, CT, VT, NH, NY, NJ, DE, MD, and WV as well, and used my sewing machine for the rest.
I didn't really consider the color for each state too much - I just tried to space the colors out and avoid putting similar colors together. I probably deserve some flack for not making Colorado red (as the word "Colorado" suggests), but I already had a red Texas and didn't want to repeat that color so soon (excuses, excuses - I know!).
Most of the eyes are little french knots of varying sizes, except for some of the large states which got little felt circle eyes. I scaled the faces in relation to the size of the state. The only quirky weird thing I did that I sort of regret was give Vermont light green eyes. None of the other dark states have light eyes, so Vermont is special. You're welcome, Vermonters!
And lastly, I made each state separately then hand-stitched them all together. That's where the "labor" part comes in when I say this was a "labor of love!" If I were to ever make another map, I'd do things differently - maybe approach things more like a quilt than a series of stuffed things. But I love the way everything came out!
Click through the gallery below to see some photos of my process and the finished piece.