When I was asked to host a stop on Kaffe and Liza's blog tour for their new book, I gladly accepted. I first became aware of Kaffe Fassett in 1985, when a knitter friend brought his new book, Glorious Knits, to quilt group one evening. The knits were indeed glorious and I immediately added this book to my library, although I had no intention of knitting any of the patterns. Poring over the photos was enough for me and in reading Kaffe's introduction, it was apparently one reason he wrote the book.
"...I try to persuade people that they can make something really beautiful and life-enhancing and I usually encounter the same protest, 'But you're an artist. You know about colour and we don't.' This misconception is one of the main reasons for my writing this book. I want to try to convey to you that a sense of colour is not something you automatically know about; you discover and rediscover its secrets by playing with it and, above all, by constantly looking. So as well as giving you some of my patterns in great detail, I particularly want to show you how these designs evolved - the experimenting with sources of inspiration for colours and shapes that is a never ending process."
To me, this is the essence of Kaffe Fassett's extraordinary impact on the contemporary textile scene over the last 30 years.
After Glorious Knits, I continued to add his succeeding books to my shelf, despite the fact that I wasn't knitting, needlepointing or designing mosaics. Each volume was so full of inspiring, color-packed photos of historical artifacts, exotic locations and his resulting, beautiful work that I found myself dipping into them regularly and thinking about what great quilts these designs would make. Liza Lucy did more than that. She contacted him and suggested a collaboration.
Their resulting books (these and more!) have taken the quilt world by storm. Many of Kaffe and Liza's quilts are now instantly recognizable and so many of us have made duplicates or used them as jumping off points for our own interpretations. But as much as I have enjoyed these many pages full of glorious quilts, I never felt they rose to the truly inspirational level of Kaffe's first books. Until now.
Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts is the book I've been waiting for! Organized into chapters by shape, the book offers patterns for 23 new quilts for every ability level. Page after page of new quilt designs as well as bright interpretations of familiar quilt patterns. For me, the real treat is the accompanying text by Kaffe, elaborating on the visual inspiration he finds in geometric shapes found in nature and our everyday environments. All of the included photos are fabulous - images I'll return to again and again - and the settings he has chosen for his quilt photos offer a wealth of ideas for the observant quilter. I can't recommend this book highly enough!
If you haven't yet secured yourself a copy of Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts (and why haven't you?), leave a comment on this post and you'll be included in a random drawing for one! I'll close comments on Tuesday night, at midnight CST, and announce the winner on Wednesday.
Since this is the last stop of the blog tour, you are probably already aware of the Quilt-along with Kaffe, which has been extended through the end of July because of its popularity. Do check out the most recent post which highlights some of the participants' entries. And consider joining!