Kaffe Fassett and his longtime quilt collaborator Liza Prior Lucy are on tour to promote their new book Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts (tour dates and more are here). I am a major-league Fassett fan, you really have no idea. His eye for color is particularly spectacular, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. I’ve taken classes from both Fassett and Brandon Mably at TNNA in years past, and even with my own background (growing up with artist parents and a large number of artists in my extended family), their perspectives are both eye-opening and incredibly simple to put into practice for a knit designer. Even if you don’t sew, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this or any other Fassett quilting book, because it is a miniature art school degree in the effective use of color. And if either of them ever come to town, cut work, school and family obligations to take their classes…seriously!
In Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, Fassett demonstrates how basic geometric forms found in both natural and manufactured environments inspire his quilt designs. There are twenty-three quilts of various difficulty levels, along with step-by-step instructions for making each one. The Not-So-Lone-Star (page 97) is daunting to me, but I think I may well have to make it. I can quilt at a garter-stitch level, but Not-So-Lone-Star just makes me want to be a better human being, let alone quilter.
More of interest to you if you’re a knitter are the photos of geometric inspiration from around the world — Fassett will show you how to train your eyes to really “see” the sources of creativity at your disposal in everyday life. (If you’re wondering how to put them to work for you as a knitter, grab his book Kaffe Fassett’s Pattern Library — it’s one of my go-to books whenever I need a “hmmm” moment to consider shape and form and color in knitterly terms. You can find it, and many others, on Amazon’s Kaffe Fassett page).
I was given the opportunity to ask Kaffe about color for the blog tour, particularly where one can find inspiration, and here’s what he had to say:
Observe the world all around you. Breathtaking color combinations are everywhere. Great color ideas can come from anywhere. We look at art in museums, flowers in gardens, illustrations in books, eye shadows in cosmetic collections, racks of towels in department stores, piles of rocks. Truly, color inspiration is everywhere.
The new book is about opening your eyes to the shapes of everyday objects that can inspire quilts. It is the same with color. The colors in St Mark’s Diamonds, for example comes from inlaid stone floors that are found in cathedrals. The colors in the Floral Snowball are simply the colors found in a late summer/autumn garden.
But with all the mediums I try to express myself in, be it mosaic, knitting, needlepoint, painting or patchwork, I am saying the same thing, that colour has the power to transform our level of consciousness. The same as poetry and sonata forms are to writers and musicians, colour is really my subject in all I do and that is a never ending study.
Here’s Floral Snowball (which I adore):
and here’s St Marks:
One word of warning: when you get this book, you’ll probably spend the next several hours ooohing and aaahing over all the pages — I did!