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!


Colour Post: X, Transparency & Space

Everyone’s Got an X features transparency, with translucent “white” stripes overlaid on a coloured bar on a darker background. First up, a couple of definitions and then we’ll get to how we can achieve this effect in our own versions!

  • Transparent: allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.
  • Translucent: allowing light, but not detailed shapes, to pass through; semitransparent.

Translucency is a degree: 100% translucent is transparent. Any degree of translucency is semi-transparent (not fully transparent).

Everyone’s Got An X is composed of three layers:

  1. A background layer (Fabric A)
  2. An opaque coloured bar crossing from left to right/top to bottom (Fabric C)
  3. Four translucent white stripes crossing on top of the other two layers (Fabrics B and D)

This effect is achieved with just four different fabrics! The first version used a dark grey background layer (A) and a pink bar (C). The transparent white stripes are, in fact, not at all white! They are made with a lighter grey (B) and a pale pink (D).

Photo by Emma Poliquin.

The same reasoning was applied to this earthen tone version above. You may be able to see that the “white” stripes are a bit stronger —meaning they are more opaque and less transparent. This means that they are quite pale in tone, with a starker contrast from the colours “behind” them.

Pieced, quilted and bound by Anja Clyke. Photo by Emma Poliquin.

How about using prints? Here’s how I approached the fabric selection for the baby version above:

  • I determined the background fabric first.
  • Secondly, I picked a print from the same collection that contrasts the background. It reads as a blender (or “near-solid”).
  • Lastly, I picked solids for the stripes — one that looked white stripes obscuring the background and bar. 
Pieced and bound by Brenda Harvey. Photo by Emma Poliquin.

This green one — it looks straightforward enough, right? A monochromatic version. But look closely here: What is going on with the layers? If you think about it as we have with the other examples — background, then bar and then stripes — it doesn’t work. However reordering the layers makes the colours make sense: The base layer is the dark teal, then the transparent white stripes are placed on top of that and lastly a translucent green bar lays on the very top. Josef Albers book Interaction of Color talks about this as “space” — even though we are only working in two dimensions.

From Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color.

Playing with the dominance of one colour over the other, the blue looks like it’s on the top layer (top image) vs under the green (bottom image).
From Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color.

In the next post, I tackle coloured stripes in lieu of white stripes using digital tools to mock them up!

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.

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.

Euclid: Lustig Elements meets Carolyn Friedlander

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.