Qualitative Math and Uppercase Fabric

I have been a faithful reader of Uppercase magazine for a few years now and I finish reading each issue having been injected with a large dose of inspiration. The smell of the ink and the weight of the paper also leave my heart feeling pretty happy. Editor Janine Vangool of Calgary will be releasing her second line of fabric later this fall, UPPERCASE Volume 2: Dot, Dashes and Diamonds. When studying the designs in the look book, I saw how literally the collection was named. Each is made of a small scale prints, some with just diamonds, some with just dashes, some with a combinations of the elements. And I wanted to do some qualitative math. That was the inception of the “Wood Type Quilt.”

A post shared by Andrea Tsang Jackson (@3rdstoryworkshop) on What is qualitative math? It’s a term that I made up. You can see how the colour tones below “add up” like ink as well how the prints are added together to create others. Transparency was on my mind and up till this point, I have mainly thought about it in terms solids. Solids are easier to deal with, come in more precise shades and have less visual noise. But I thought that Dots, Dashes and Diamonds would give me a chance to give transparency a try with prints. I could not, in the end, get both the prints and colours “add up” simultaneously, so colour took priority.

The cover of Uppercase Issue No. 25 features Joey Hannaford’s work, with wood type overlaid on top each other. The transparency of the ink shows the layers beneath and upon inspection, you can tell the order in which the inks were printed. Josef Albers talks about this in his book, The Interaction of Color. The second colour lays on top and appears more dominant in the overlapped area. I wanted to replicate this effect in fabric and came up with two uppercase Xs in the Bernino typeface rotated at 90 degrees. One is “printed” in yellow, and then “overlaid” with cyan (blue). I wish I had a better reason for using Bernino as the font, but the truth is that I like the way it looked and I enjoyed the star shape that came about in their overlap. The name of the font also sounds like Bernina, as in the sewing machine brand. (The pattern/tutorial for this block will be coming soon!)

I did not want to endeavour to repeat this paper-pieced block many times over, so I decided to make it the centre of this medallion quilt. I played with overlapping “transparent” squares that radiated outward from the centre.

There are some things I would do differently next time. An accurate scant 1/4” seam, it turns out, is important. The number of seams per “ring” in the medallion is different and results in long strips that don’t match up. There was a lot of fudging as I forced points to align. Secondly, as I quilted the Vs with my walking foot going into the quilt and then pushing out again to the edge of the quilt, my border got wavy. The blip is well-hidden by my two quilt holders, who measure 39” and 44” in height. They reached up as high as possible to hold this 48” x 48” quilt.

I took Angela Walter’s class “Dot to Dot: Quilting with Piecing as Your Guide” on Craftsy and was inspired to give it a try with my walking foot. I used the technique at the corner of the centre block; it brings attention to the X as the focal point of the quilt. Actually, pretty much every element of this quilt draws your eye to the centre. X marks the spot.

Pieced quilt back.

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