Additional Tools & Materials: cross stitching aida cloth, wooden embroidery hoop, inkjet printer, card stock
The computer application I chose to help render this letter study is the fantastic MyPhotoStitch.com. I found this one to be much more agile than the one I used to make my freehand painted 8 bit letter a few days ago. This tool allowed me to convert an image of a letter - lowercase i in the typeface Matrix Inline Script - into a cross stitch pattern. Not only that, but it would let me choose how many colors I wanted to use (the last tool had ranges to choose from, and was very imprecise), and the exact size I wanted the pattern to be. This would be so much fun to use on a more complex image, as many people have done.
Back to the letter study, I knew I wanted to start with a letter that had some movement, and if possible, some degree of decoration or dimensionality. I tried some more complex woodcut style fonts first, but those were either too complex to tackle in the allowed time, or became muddy and unreadable as a letter i. I also didn't want to use an upright, monoline sans serif, because that would just be a block of tiny x stitches and where's the fun in that? Matrix Inline Script was a good fit because (to me) the typeface is still identifiable and the block construction of the letter is apparent through the steps up and down on either side of the letter.
I included a lot of process shots because graphically, I loved each step the letter took from start to finish. Emigre's original letterform is of course beautiful, but the dot and grid cross stitch pattern it generated also had an interesting form. I liked it so much that I even isolated it from the grid (image 3).
This took me about four hours, but I love how it turned out. I even made sure to keep the back nice and tidy (as my grandmother would always chide me for not doing) so that I could share a photo of how crazy the back of the letter looks. See image number 8 - it's a reversed photo of the back of the aida cloth. I think, as I said - this method to create a full typeface would work best with a script, or at least an italic letterset, just so the blocky construction is still visible.