Erin is always amused by the amount of state pride shown by people who live in Michigan (at least as compared to Illinois residents, who don't really seem to have much). It IS pretty amazing, actually. I can't drive a mile without passing a car sporting a Michigan bumper sticker, and I have never before seen so many people celebrating their state in the form of silk-screened t-shirts, keychains, flags, beer cozies, and welcome mats (among a billion other things). I think the fervent Michigan pride is partly a defensive response to a huuuuuuuuge bad rap given to the most notorious city in the state and the very high profile economic collapse of the state's most famous industry. Another part of it is a genuine love for the state and its easily recognizable shape. Other than that, I think it's just sort of fun and trendy to have a mitten-shaped image on your car, t-shirt, etc.
I have lived in many states (specifically Washington, Alabama, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, and finally Michigan) and really don't see a whole lot of differences between them other than climate -- they all have nice people, irritating people, grocery stores, malls, parks, good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods, etc. I don't understand why people think the quality of life or the personality of the community members will be so wildly different from state to state. When I told people I was moving to Michigan last year, everyone acted like I was moving to Section 8 housing in the middle of a violent ghetto. I guess when the rest of the country really only hears about the horrors of the abandoned buildings, ridiculously high crime, and abject poverty in Detroit, it's hard to imagine that there might be a thriving economy with really nice suburban life just a few miles away. (For the record, our house is right at 28 Mile Road, so we're only 20 short miles from 8 Mile -- the northern border of Detroit.)
BUT I DIGRESS. My sister-in-law, Stephanie, moved back to Michigan from Minnesota less than a year before Corey and I moved up here, and she definitely has state pride. My mother-in-law spotted some pillows with a Michigan appliqué on them when she and Stephanie were shopping in northern Michigan last summer, so she was the one who gave me the idea to make this fun pillow for Steph for Christmas.
It's about 18 inches square, and I used some heavy-duty tan fabric that I found in the "utility fabrics" section. The fabric I used for the state shape was a bit of lightweight canvas I had left over from a tote bag I made for Erin a couple of years ago. I used light blue piping, and this is probably the best job I have ever done with sewing it on properly. I rounded the corners a bit to make it easier with the piping.
My only complaint? The ridiculously irregular borders of this state! I just about made myself cross-eyed trying to get it sewn on decently. I just hope nobody looks too closely at it. I had even simplified the shape quite a bit when tracing the darn thing from the map, but it's still kind of a crazy mess thanks to those pesky Great Lakes shorelines. Too bad Steph doesn't live in Colorado or something. Then again, that would have resulted in a pretty boring pillow. (Somehow, I don't think people run around with t-shirts bearing the silhouette of Colorado -- not without in image overlaid of their cool flag. Now THAT would be a fun pillow to make to commemorate having lived there! Maybe someday I will make a pillow for every state I have lived in, using each state's most recognizable symbol.)