Meet “R”: Typecast Blog Tour

Today is my day on the Typecast of Characters Blog Tour hosted by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of Whole Circle Studio! Today’s instalment is brought to you by the letter “R”.

Typecast R, typography quilt block

Typecast is an alphabet of English paper pieced uppercase letters. Each finishes at 6” x 9”.

I had the privilege of meeting Sheri at QuiltCon in Nashville. Sheri is a graphic designer by training and worked extensively in the museum exhibit design field for a very long time. Her experience and passion for type shows in Typecast.

The letters are made of modular pieces that are used throughout the alphabet. And careful consideration has been paid attention to in the kerning of the letters (spacing between the characters)! This is something that type designers live for…

English paper piecing progress

I chose “R” for no real reason other than I like the letter form. The combination of the curve and the diagonal add movement. It’s not symmetrical along any axis which adds to the dynamism of the shape.

Typecast “R” in Nebulous by 3rd Story Workshop with a white R.

I used my own fabric design printed on Spoonflower fabric. The subtle difference between the lighter parts of the fabric and the white of the “R” make you look a little more carefully at what is going on, both in the shape as well as the fabric.

The Typecast pattern guide and paper packs are available for purchase and all the details can be found at in the Whole Circle Studio shop!

There is lots of inspiration on the blog tour, so check out all the posts from A through Z!


English Paper Piecing & Watercolour on Fabric

I took a intro English Paper Piecing (EPP) workshop with Jenn of Quarter Inch from the Edge earlier this summer and found it to be a very satisfying process. Since then, I pondered what project would be good to explore EPP. I dabbled in fussy cutting, more linear rather than radial arrangements, solid colours — but nothing felt quite “me” untiI I listened to an interview with Ashley Nickels on the Crafty Planner podcast. I have been since following her Instagram feed closely and got a flash of inspiration late one night, a few days before my family vacation to California. I “needed” a travel project (right?), so I embarked to English paper piece some watercolour fabric.

First EPP attempt. I thought that the painted fabric would be a good background for it, but the intensity of the solids was too much for the airy watercolours.

Before I started working with fabric, watercolour was my favourite medium. It is quick and portable. The best part of it is the edge – where the colour meets the toothy, water-absorbent, weighty watercolour paper. That’s where some serious magic happens. As I was gawking at Ashley’s watercolour quilts that fateful night, I went down some Instagram rabbit hole and stumbled upon an image of some watercoloured paper hexagons featuring this very beautiful edge phenomenon. When I woke up the next day, I could not for the life of me find that image again. I searched for days and came up with nothing. Maybe it was a dream.

Ashley’s original technique uses fabric dyes to achieve vibrant and intense colours (check out her Creativebug class). I prefer low-stakes experiments when I’m starting out, so not spending a lot of money on paint and fabric helped me jump right into this process rather than having to figure out “proper” or best way to do things. I found this tutorial by Cami Graham of Tidbits and loosely followed it. I used some very old watercolour tube paints and Martha Stewart fabric medium, which turns any paint into fabric paint. For fabric, I used an old white pillowcase that was very much past its prime.

The painting process was quick and dirty.  I modified Cami’s process a bit to make sure that I got those edges that I seeking. It took me very little time, maybe half an hour or so. After air-drying the fabric, I machine-washed and dried it. It ended up losing some colour, but still retained those important edges.

I randomly cut the fabric into squares, then prepared the hexies for my very long three-leg journey from the East Coast of Canada to SoCal. I brought baby nail clippers to cut thread in place of scissors, in hopes that security would not confiscate them at the airport (and they didn’t!). After entertaining my boys for a bit of first plane ride, I pulled out the hexies. Some had the “edge” and some were all painted. I played with them like a puzzle, trying to line up the edge from hexagon to hexagon. And then…A coastline appeared. That’s what I was looking for; I just didn’t know it.

See the tiny islands in the sea to the left?

Inspiration comes from lots of places. This time it came from other artists, rabbit holes, and playing around. What will become of this piece? I have no idea. Will it become a series? I would like that. Will I return to it? I hope so. But for now, it will have to sit on the backburner.

Colour Post X Have You Met… Lucy Engels

I work intuitively, organically, things just feel right. I like experimenting just to see what happens, but I also set boundaries for myself. – Lucy Engels

Lucy Engels is the creative hand behind SkinnyMalinkyQuilts. Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, Lucy is first and foremost a printmaker, screenprinting being her favourite process. She began quilting in 2013 after becoming an aunt: “Creating a quilt is like printmaking. Working in layers, adding texture, playing with colour. And obviously being able to print on fabric brings to two disciplines together.”

Lucy embarked on a series of 1/3 hexie English paper-pieced colour studies in the fall of 2016 and completed a set of ten “Quilt Prints.” Her aim was to explore colour and experiment with different photographic backgrounds; she came away with stunning results. “I love playing with a sophisticated palette whilst enjoying bold combinations.” When asked about her process, she found it hard to parse out her steps: “I work intuitively, organically, things just feel right. I like experimenting just to see what happens, but I also set boundaries for myself. Like with these [Quilt Prints], set shape, limit colour palette in each and only make ten.” Many of us have an intuitive sense of colour, but many of us don’t. I asked Lucy if I could break down some of her colour choices for others to see where her beautiful conclusions could be rooted. Below is a little colour analysis of three of her quilt prints, which will give you an idea of how these colour combinations work so well. And maybe even embolden you to make similar choices.

When we are looking at Lucy’s combinations, it’s important to note that she uses a lot of neutrals to give breathing room to her stronger colours. Black, white, taupe, cream – these all give some space to really let the colours sing. In the discussion of the colour palettes, we take these neutrals out of the equation to simplify how we think about them.

Analogous colours, saturated

Quilt  Print No. 3 is a pleasing sunset of colours, ranging from purple to yellow. As we can see on the colour wheel, the colour are an analogous set, meaning that they all sit adjacent to each other on the wheel. This gives it a very harmonious feel – like the colours are all related, because they are! Another noteworthy feature is that the colours are all quite intense. The colours that sit on the grey band — that is, the third circle from the centre in each hue set — are the most pure. There is no black or white in those colours; they are saturated. Notice that these colours are pure colours or sit close to the purest hue.

In contrast, Quilt Print No. 7 is muted. The colours are once again analagous – greens and yellows, a hint of blue that are next to each other on the colour wheel. The difference here is that they move away from the purest hue. Some of the greens are quite dark and some are very light, but none are very green.

Analogous colours, muted

Complementary colours, contrasting tones


Next, we have a complementary set of colours in Quilt Print No. 9. The blue and orange/yellow hues sit across from each other on the colour wheel. The darkest tone is navy, which anchors the lighter tints of blue and pale peach and yellows. This contrast in tone helps to define the composition; the dark colour breaks up the very even tone across the lighter colours. The black in Quilt Print No. 7 above functions in the same way.


Lastly, Quilt Print No. 10 was inspired by the 2017 Kona Colour of the Year, Pink Flamingo. Lucy chose a lovely set of greens in this spring-like colour scheme. This complementary set is explored in my first colour post about Kona Pink Flamingo and Pantone Greenery.

The Quilt Prints are available as original pieces and printed postcards Lucy’s shop, SkinnyMalinkyQuilts. You can find the full list of Kona solids that she used on her blog.