Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth

Hi everyone,

My mum is an avid fan of Lord of the Rings. She read The Hobbit to my sister and I when we were children and I’ve lost count of the number of times she has seen the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For Christmas this year, I decided to embroider the map of Middle Earth. It’s a fairly mammoth task, but I know she will love it.

As I work on embroidering the map, I’ll be posting updates about my progress as well as information about what I’ve done–Just in case anyone else wants to take on such a feat!

So, I started with a map of middle earth that I found on google.

I opened up the map in (a free program that does pretty much everything Photoshop does) and I made a few modifications. I really wanted the map to be purely black and white so it would make transferring the map onto fabric much easier. So, I used the artistic effects in to turn the map into a pencil sketch. Then, I sharpened the image until the text and the lines were very visible. You can see the edited map below:

I sized the image to 45.57cm X 60.75cm, making it small enough to fit into an A1 frame. So, the final embroidered piece will be fairly large, but with the level of detail on the map, I don’t see that a smaller size would work. I’m unsure that the size I am doing is large enough! I’m particularly worried about some of the smaller text.

I then used an online program called block posters to split the image for printing on A4 paper. You can download the pattern I created to save time by clicking here: BlockPosters-YourPoster-118_Middle Earth Map

I then ordered a .5m x .7m piece of 27 count white linen (£7.50), a 15cm embroidery hoop and 1000m of Black embroidery thread (no idea whether this will be enough yet) from Ray Stitch.

Once everything arrived, I started to transfer the pattern on to the embroidery fabric. This is the tricky part! Well, the first tricky part. Essentially, I used a light box with the A4 pattern pinned underneath. Then, using a pencil (although, a fabric pen that washes out might be better/easier) I began to trace the image. At first, I pinned the whole pattern underneath the fabric, but this got a little tricky to maneuver because my light box is tiny. So, I pinned two A4 sheets and began tracing there.

At the moment, I’ve traced some of the main parts of the top right hand corner. I didn’t think the tracing was working that well at first, but looking at it today in the daylight, it actually looks pretty good. I still have a fair amount of detail still to trace, but some of the smaller details will be left until I actually embroider. For example, the shape underneath the “U” of “Rhun” will be tiny embroidered circles to represent trees, but this detail is too small to trace using a pencil. I am a little worried about embroidering some of the smaller text as it was difficult to write that small! I may try embroidering a line of small text to see if it’s possible. If not, I may need to reprint the pattern out larger! Fingers cross that won’t be necessary.

Below you can see the embroidery fabric laid out with the part of the pattern I am working on pinned underneath the fabric. I’ve laid the rest of the pattern out on top so that you can see what it looks like.

A close-up of the part of the pattern I have started to trace:

Once I’ve traced the pattern entirely, I’ll post again. This may take a while… In the meantime, happy reading!


See the next post of the Embroidered Map of Middle Earth here: Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth UPDATE

5 thoughts on “Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth

  1. Rain Adkins says:

    Utterly stunning. You are far braver than I. 🙂 Did you finish?

  2. Jess says:

    Ha! I was searching online today for a map of middlearth so I could make a big embroidered one….and here you are, already doing it! Awesome! May I use your map?

  3. Looks amazing!!! I bet the finished result will look amazing!

    • Frances says:

      Thank you so much! I really hope so 🙂 I traced some more last night (see new picture) and I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out. I thought the tracing would take me forever, but I only worked for about and hour or so last night. I just hope some of the test is legible when I start embroidering the letters!

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