Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's No Secret....

....I like the fabrics by the Kaffe Fassett team at Rowan Fabrics. 

I got hooked on them when I started working at Bright Hopes Quilting, which carries a very extensive selection of bolts. I'd say, off-hand, we have about 125-150 bolts to choose from and it kills me when we receive another shipment. 

They are not to everyone's liking and that's okay..... the colors can be extremely vibrant or gently pastel. The designs can be anything from slightly 'cartoonish' like this Big Fish Shoal, by Brandon Mably....

to elegantly painted florals of Phillip Jacobs, reminiscent of English chintz..... like THIS!  

Here is "Shanty", which reminds me so much of the west coast of Sweden..... the colors, the small saltbox shape to the houses...

So, where does this Kaffe Fassett come into the picture?...... here is one of his designs I have used extensively... it is just the best!

Kaffe Fassett is an artist from California who decamped for England years ago and quietly went about his business creating some of the most interesting knitting in generations. Yes, knitting.

That has as much to do with technique as it ever did about color-play but it may have been equally responsible for his attention turning toward fabric design. AND HOW!!!!

The team and Kaffe Fassett have written many books on quilts and the patterns to create them along with some exquisite on-site photography. So much beauty, so much research. 

You can read all about his life in his autobiography, Dreaming in Color, a terrific read for anyone interested in what a rich life in art can be, especially if the artist is willing to live with and without.... and isn't this a GREAT cover photo?
I mean, c'mon! Who is so ridiculously handsome!?

So, here I am, buying and using these strange, saturated fabrics in a variety of quilt patterns for the past 12 years. I have (ahem) quite a collection of 'left-overs' as well as fat quarters and yardage....... I thought 'we' had a vast selection to pull from until I visited a shop in Georgia in 2013 and realized.... "Hang on, that design comes in THESE THREE COLOR-WAYS??????" and off I went!

Okay, in full disclosure, whenever I cross paths with Kaffe Fassett fabrics, I basically lose my mind and begin blathering as I carry bolts to the cutting table. "I can't leave these beauties to languish in that shelf! I have to bring them home.... they need to be in a good home......."

And so, I do and I did and they have been piling up, despite all my efforts to use them in a variety of are just a few....

New York Beauty

Lone Star

Double Wedding Ring - Quick Curve Ruler


Hopscotch Too

Can you tell? I really like these fabrics!!!!!

Now, one day in a fit of cleaning up my work space, I was looking at what I had and decided it clearly wasn't enough and went online to add to the pile Kaffe Fassett shot cottons.

What is this, you ask? this 'shot cotton'?

Okay, Shot cotton is fabric where the warp threads (up and down) are one color and the weft threads (side to side) are another.... so they have a natural shimmer to them, an extra dimension, as it were. 

(Thai silk is famous for this particular look but that is silk, not cotton. "Same, Same, Only Different" comes to mind)

Two years ago, or so, Kaffe Fassett and his team released new and fabulous-looking bolts and a book of his patterns based around these particular fabrics and, naturally, I swooned over the fabrics and wanted them like nobody's business. Unfortunately, no one in my area carried any so I had to order it off-line before I could see it 'in person'.

Okay, so I ordered a reasonable amount and variety of colors (less than 3 yards) (seriously) (no. Really! I'm being truthful!) , based specifically on the KF fabric I had yards of on-hand. I had in mind an idea for a medallion quilt I wanted to make featuring the Kaffe Fassett look.

But I need to tell you, in the sad event you are like me and cannot see and feel these fabrics up-close and personal... shot cotton has a looser weave than standard greige-good (which is printed) and certainly a lot looser than batik (which is typically dyed). As a result, these are not the best choice one can make when sewing quilts, particularly if your pieces are small(ish). BUT, BUT, BUT... if you starch the fabrics gently and give them a nice press... they respond quite well to rotary blades and 1/4" seam allowances. (Just don't think for a minute that you are going to needle-turn them without a struggle.)

With what I now, including a generic hank of background white, had on hand, I began
designing and sewing this:
Center Block

As I say, this is the center of what has become a medallion quilt and now, after many months, the quilt is on the big machine and tomorrow, I begin quilting.

I cannot tell you how excited I am!

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