Euclid was a Greek mathematician and the “father of geometry” that lived in the 4th- to 3rd-century BC. Euclidean geometry is basic to our understanding of mathematics, including the Pythagorean Theorem.

In the mid 20th-century, Alvin Lustig designed only twelve letters “Euclid: A New Type”, based on Euclid’s writings. In 2010, designer Craig Welsh contacted Elaine Lustig Cohen – Lustig’s collaborator and widow – to complete Euclid. In 2016, a Kickstarter campaign saw this project through to a modern and complete typeface named Lustig Elements. Using a rigid grid, quarter circles were used to express curves and diagonal elements. The result is an elegant and cohesive typeface that is perfect to replicate in a quilt.

Deconstructing the original letterforms, from design intern Nicholas Stover

The 2017 Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Executive Challenge was “Word Play: Quilts with Text.” My personal challenge with Lustig Elements was to learn how to piece curves. At her “Speed Dating with Improv” workshop, Krista Henneberry of Poppyprint taught us how to do this by floating the pie piece on top while gently coercing the “L” piece into a straight line underneath. It worked pretty decently and I am happy to report that I will not shy away from quarter circles any longer.

At Patch a few months ago, this orange grid linen/cotton blend from Carolyn Friendlander’s Euclid collection was in the sale section and it had to be the background of these letters. I was simply going to use white for the letterforms, but when her Friedlander collection launched a couple months later, I found that the pattern subtly reappeared at the exact same scale and colour in one of the prints.

I took my time piecing this together and like how it turned out at that point. I grouped three letter together for no real reason other that I liked they way the looked. I decided it was a diptych and that made me retro-justify my decision.


Then it came time to quilt it. With a Euclidean geometry diagram, I started on my old Kenmore machine – the one I have used for about a decade. I keep this machine at Pier 21 for my residency there. I came home to finish it on my new Juki T2010-Q and the letters on “LID” got very wonky. The binding made everything worse. Although I love my new machine, I have a lot to figure out still…

Lustig Elements and Carolyn Friedlander: A match made in heaven.