After great trial and tribulation, I'm finally in a good place with my marquee letter (baby epsilon).
I made a board (my third!!!), thankfully I was just using one that I milled last weekend, so I didn't have to mill it again. This time I did alternating blue and red colors and everything seems to work!
But I'm having trouble with the code, going back to the capacitive sensor sketch that we were troubleshooting.