Tag Archives: Kaffe Fassett

Finish Two, Start One New

As I reported earlier, I’m rounding up my unfinished tops that are ready to quilt and putting pedal to the metal. Two are now done. One, Swimming Upstream, was pieced this year. The other, Shirtsleeves, has been in a plastic tub for at least a year.

Swimming Upstream 2Swimming Upstream came about because I found some leftover 1.5 inch squares and HSTs plus a few leftover blocks. Using Sandi Cummings’ techniques from Thinking Outside the Block, I did a mash up of traditional and contemporary. I free motion quilted it with a loopy meander. It was misery, with the bobbin seizing up at least 30 times on this small (about 24 by 32 inches) piece. Each time I rethreaded, took out the bobbin, cleaned the bobbin case, etc. I used Aurifil thread on the top and bottom and generally did everything recommended. I also tried putting in a different bobbin. Some days I had no problems. Other days I’d get only about 2 inches of stitching done between seizures.

Shirtsleeves 2Shirtsleeves is made mostly of my husband’s old cotton dress shirts, with a bit of other striped fabric. The bits of yellow sprinkled throughout reflect Kaffe Fassett’s influence. He does a shirt fabric quilt like this in his book Passionate Patchwork. The back uses more of the shirts. There is sure a lot of fabric in men’s shirts, even in the smaller sizes. The quilting is a simple 2 inch grid. The label is part of a front placket. I didn’t want to have any buttons on this quilt in case I give it to some new parents.

Shirtsleeves backNow for the new part. Since I had finished two quilts I could start one new one. (Yes, this is totally arbitrary, but self discipline is a goal of mine.) Since I’ve started Joen Wolfrom’s Craftsy class on color I thought I’d try a color gradation.

Here’s my colors arranged for paper pieced leaves using a pattern by Deb Karasik.

leaf fabricsYou can see the fourth gradation in the leaf below.

paper pieced leaf rose 1I’ll be at this project a while as I have only four leaves done so far. The worst part is picking out the little bits of paper. The pieces are too small to use freezer paper piecing. Guess I didn’t learn how tedious this method was with my last project. But …

paper pieced letters


Filed under Completed Projects, In Process

The Shirt Off His Back

Well, my husband wasn’t wearing them because the cuffs were so frayed and they were made of pinpoint oxford cotton, so why not cut those shirts up.  This project began when I was looking through a Kaffe Fassett book and was taken with a baby quilt made of men’s shirting fabrics.  I don’t think Kaffe actually cut up shirts, but I went with what I had.

kaffe_fassett_baby_quiltI found that men’s shirts contain a lot of fabric.  Here’s what I have left after cutting over 200 2 and a half inch squares. The center back box pleat in men’s dress shirts gave me an extra 4 to 5 inches of fabric.

cutup_shirtsSo far I’ve sewn 75 squares together, out of about 220 squares cut.  I don’t know what the final size of this top will be.  It will depend on how quickly I tire of sewing those squares together.

The fun part of this project is creating and inserting “quirky” squares with little pops of color.  Kaffe used vivid solids.  I’m using bits of a yellow and blue stripe plus a few half square triangles left over from an old Bonnie Hunter quilt.



Filed under In Process

Something Old, Something New

I’m one of those quilters who loves books about quilting, though not necessarily books of quilting patterns.  While I love learning about new books on C&T Publishing’s blog, I also like to turn up books at remainder and used book sales.

A routine scouting expedition through a library used book shop unearthed Kaffe Fassett’s “Passionate Patchwork” from 2001.  I’ve read lots of his books, and even his autobiography, but for some reason I had never come across this one.  I read Kaffe’s books for the sumptuous photographs and descriptions of the design process.  Though I like many of his quilt patterns, I’ve made up only one of them.

Passionate Patchwork

In this book the first five chapters talk about the quilts in general – their inspirational starting point, how the colors were chosen, and further ideas for different ways to make them up. Kaffe’s enthusiasm and passion for color just bubbles throughout these chapters.  If his words don’t spark some creative ideas then I pity you.  Twenty-four patchwork patterns follow, as do general quilting instructions.  My advice is to skip the last and just use your preferred construction methods.

Patterns that particularly appeal to me include Shirt-stripe Boxes shown below (which is very modern quilting in sensibility), Nona (modernish again,) Baby’s Corrugated Quilt (a precursor to “Quilting Modern”?) and African Weave Throw. Yes, all these patterns use stripes.


As for the something new, I discovered Sherrill Kahn‘s “Mixed-Media Master Class” on C&T’s blog and tracked it down in an odd area of my local library. I think the cataloguers threw up their hands about how to classify it and stuck it under Arts – Miscellany.


Kahn is a former school art teacher, so she knows lots of inexpensive ways to make patterns on paper and fabric – masking tape, rubber bands, Styrofoam meat trays, old white candles, and colored tissue paper are a few of the materials she uses.  Probably the most expensive materials she uses are Derwent Inktense pencils.  After I marked 10 techniques I wanted to photocopy, I decided I’d better buy this book.  I think they’ll be great to try with my Different Drummer group.

Sherrill-KahnAbove is one of Kahn’s paper creations.  She often uses the pointy end of a paintbrush to score the surface.

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Filed under Books