Friday, April 4, 2014

A Pieced Alphabet

Chaparral is a lower case alphabet I recently designed. It is made by combining piecing and stitching.

This shows the piecing for the word Chaparral before the stitching is added.

Using stitching to define the letters allows me to keep the piecing very simple. This in turn means this alphabet can be made very small. (If you've ever tried piecing letters you know that most alphabets end up quite large)
The long horizontal pieces help ensure that everything lines up nicely.

The entire alphabet looks like this:

Most letters start as rectangles.

A few, like g, q, y, f and t, are rectangles with a connector corner at one end. The 45 degree angle makes these letters more attractive and readable without adding complexity.

The letters x and z are angled. These letters I would paper piece. This adds a little complexity but not much. These are not letters that are used very often so I can live with paper piecing in this case.

The letter s is a problem. If I make it from a rectangle it looks strange. If I give it a slant and paper piece it, it still looks strange. If I paper piece it then add connector corners, it looks much better. But it is no longer simple and I can't make the s as small as I could otherwise.

If I do make the s using connector corners there are a couple of other letters I could do this to and improve their appearance as well.

The best way to assess an alphabet is to see the letters used in words.

If I use the alphabet as originally designed, it is readable; however, the s and o are a bit distracting. But I can make this very small.

If I use the improved letters, I prefer the way it looks but I can't make it as small because the piecing is more complicated.

The solution is to admit that this alphabet has limitations and use it only with words that have no o or s in them.