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How the Earth and Moon Pincushion was Designed

July 10th, 2016

This blog is a continuation of tech support’s (husband’s) guest blog on the Earth and Moon pincushion. In this blog Joe explains how he designed the pincushion. -Sherralyn

Several years back I got the idea to use a globe of the Earth with attached Moon as a novelty pincushion and emery in place of the traditional tomato and strawberry. I talked to Sherralyn about the idea and she thought it might work but said that it was not obvious how to sew up a pincushion sized sphere. So I looked at some possible solutions. I considered a gore map. But Sherralyn didn’t like all the darts that approach implied.


I looked into using approaches like those used to make tennis balls


and soccer balls.

I came across dymaxion maps


and Cahill’s  maps


and Waterman’s butterfly maps.watermanMap

Finally we settled on the Waterman butterfly projection map as perhaps the easiest to sew up on a machine. Its compact shape fit onto a 8½”x11” piece of paper better than the more elongated maps. As a sewing project, this approach has two single darts, four clusters of triple darts, and one main seam.
I drew shapes based on the Cahill/Waterman octahedrons, added seam allowances, and marked the darts. I made the shapes blue and manually placed images of land masses copied from a map where I thought they should go.

Oh, and I added a patch with Antarctica on it.

As the Moon is only about ¼ the size of the Earth, Sherralyn thought that a simpler approach was needed for the satellite. Photos of the two sides of the Moon were placed into yellow circles and a few darts were added. This allows the Moon to be sewn up like a small cushion. While the Earth and Moon are roughly to scale, the cotton pearl connecting the Earth pincushion to the Moon emery would need to be almost 7 feet long to keep to scale so you may want to compromise accurate scaling there with a more practical length.

The original pattern was scaled for US letter size paper but would fit on A4 paper as well. When I uploaded it to Spoonflower I rearranged the components to fit an 8”x8” swatch but did not change the original shapes.

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