Monday, December 6, 2010

I found the first USA in a quilt magazine some years ago. It was part of a patriotic quilt.

It is inconsistent. The U is bottom heavy. The S is Fat. The A is top heavy and feels short. All three letters could be from different alphabets.

I think these letters were designed on a grid and that the designer was afraid to go off the grid.

I decided to try redesigning these letters using the same grid.

I started with the simplest letter, the U, and made the verticals slightly wider.

It is no longer bottom heavy. When it comes to sewing, the old U and the new U can be sewn the same way. One is not easier to piece than the other. One just looks better.
To make the A I turned the U upside down and added a crossbar.

It's no longer top heavy and it's no longer short. Originally the A and U shared almost no design elements. Now they do. Now they look like they are from the same alphabet.
I began redesigning the S by placing the bottom of the U at the top and bottom of the grid.
Given the thickness of the letter stroke, it isn't possible to join the top and bottom using a diagonal. So I used a horizontal join instead.

The vertical bits at the ends of the S are a bit fussy. The other 2 letters don't have fussy details.
When I remove the fussy bits the ends of the new S are like those of the original.

This reads well without the fussy bits and it's simpler to sew.

THE MORAL: An alphabet needs to be consistent to look good. Consistency is not a matter of conforming to a grid. A grid is just a tool to help you design. Consistency comes from using common design elements.

There are a lot of different possible pieced alphabets; to see some of mine go to My Posts by Subject in the sidebar on the right and click on Lettering.

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