Designs by Brandon Mably


Designer's Delights: Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably Explore Creativity


BM: The reason the book's called Quilts in Sweden is we shot the quilts at a most amazing location called Skansen, it's a museum of outdoor houses that have been brought together in one area at the edge of Stockholm, and it was the colors and the surroundings....

KF: It was the painted rooms that I really went for. Ambiance for our quilts.

KC: Did those rooms in any way influence the designs of the particular quilts that you made for that project?

KF: Yes, actually, they did; I had been there a few times and I really noticed that there were a lot of really wonderful wood tones, a lot of those sort of ambers and woody tones, as well as the painted furniture and the painted walls. So, we knew we had a pretty free reign because there were so many moods.

KC: What challenges do contemporary quilters face in recreating some of the designs that you have put together?

BM: The color!


Kaffe explains his design process by showing exanples as he discusses how the bold fabrics work in concert together

KF: Some people never move out of a neutral world, or a brown cowgirl world. We're about an English chintz look, or part of our look is... part of it is kind of oriental, so it takes very distinct patterns and strong colors. And, that can be a challenge to some people.

KC: What role does tradition play in your work? And, are there any particular repetitions in patterns or structures?

KF: Huge, just huge! I am consulting all the time traditional quilts and traditional layouts.

BM: If you look at our work carefully, you will see we are visiting the past all the time and borrowing old structures.

KF: Yes, starting from traditional structures and then from that, kind of making up our own.

BM: We're not interested in art quilts, whatsoever, or abstracts. We make our own abstracts.


Kaffe emphasizes his point about the use of color in design

KC: Can you describe your design process from your initial design boards through the production phase?

KF: Not really. It's totally instinctive and quite different each time. Sometimes, we'll start from color; we'll have a sort of color idea, other times, it's starting from an old structure, and sometimes you have a set of fabrics that are new that you want to fit into an idea. And so, these are our starting points.

BM: There is an article in Quilts in Sweden of how Kaffe works with the lady that sews the quilts and on how he works with design principles, which is the same as he does in his classes, just the same as we do when we are designing.

KC: How much coordination is there with your group in the fabric design process and putting together the new line as it comes out?

KF: I would say the coordination is pretty good. We kind of attack color. Brandon and I are the colorists. Sometimes Brandon gives me ideas, and I give him ideas for color. We do all the color for Philip Jacobs.

BM: We collaborate all the time.

KF: And, sometimes, it'll be a piece of marbelized paper which will lead to a color scheme, or an old painting, or whatever.

KC: What would you give as advice to novice quilters that might want to start on something, using your fabrics?

KF: Abandon your fear of color, if you possibly can and try to create harmony with as much color as you can, but clarity is a very important thing. So, if you have a lot of conflicting color, it's very confusing for the viewer, so you have to create a harmony of color that is easy for the eye to digest and, at the same time, rich and intriguing. Not a tall order, yet, it is a tall order and one has to keep working at all the time. I say, we put up the piece of flannel [and the fabrics] and we live with it for a few days. And, sometimes we adjust and change, in fact, we very often change things that are distracting. So, you have to be prepared for that process.

BM: It's also very hard to bake a rich fruitcake with few ingrediants. So, you need a good stash.

KF: Yes. A lot of people think four fabrics is max and they'll make a nice quilt; a totally predictable quilt. But, it's much more intriguing if you use a lot of tones.

KC: What about some of your early influences from your days in California, on the Big Sur coast?

KF: We were getting influences from vintage clothes, furnishings, and the serendipity of what you found in the shop. And, also I think, a big oriental influence...and, oh, the natural world.: seed pods, flowers, snakes, animal pelts, and all of that....stones, and fish. All of those.


Quilts in Sweden: 20 Designs from Rowan for Patchwork Kaffe Fassett Taunton Press Oct. 2011 ISBN: 978-1600854019


Kaffe Fassett sets his bold palette of quilt designs amidst the rosemaling at Skansen Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, the worlds first open-air museum with a unique collection of historical buildings and Stockholm's only zoological garden. Fassett teams up with designers including Brandon Mably, Philip Jacobs, Mary Mashuta, Robert Horton, and Liza Prior Lucy for this collection. The museum setting and outdoor backdrops are stunning, showcasing the quilt designs with flair, detail, and with an impressive historical panache.

Printed on heavy paper for rugged use, this volume contains designs which will please the novice and advanced quilter. As a special section at the front, Fassett explores the intricacies of his design process along with photos of his progress on a project undergoing fabric selection. This is a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a creative genius.

As with all of the quilt publications from Taunton, this volume presents the designs in full-page photographs with the quilt artfully displayed, one after another. The back segment of the book is devoted to detailed instructions and charts, as well as templates. The stay flat binding allows the book to remain open on the design table with ease.

For more info on Kaffe Fassett, visit:

Finding Kaffe's Fabrics


Owners Debbie & Ken Warren

Conoisseurs of colorful fabrics, whether for quilting or sewing, will be pleased to discover central Nebraska's Material Girl Fabrics. Launched in 2004 within an established antique store, owners Debbie and Ken Warren have built a veritable empire, which eventually eclipsed the antiques; the store now boasts over 10,000 bolts. Melding both traditional design and new bold colorways is one of their hallmarks.

Holding one of the largest collections of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, spanning florals to geometrics, the shop often has older prints that have been sold out everywhere, which is such a pleasure for those coming in from all across the country for their exceptional classes, taught by many famous master quilters. When I was there this fall for Kaffe and Brandon's design session, I was working alongside quilters from Texas, Wyoming, and Lousiana. What a treat!

Debbie says: "People are ready to learn something new. They love big print fabrics, but don't know how to use them, so we teach them one-block wonders. We encourage a traditional quilter to stitch a pattern in contemporary colors. We help beginners make a first quilt with three fabrics. It's all about building up their confidence. They think, I can do that!"

Material Girl Fabrics
3415 W. State St.
Grand Island, NE 68803
M-S 9AM-6PM; Th. 'til 8PM

From the Editor's Desk

Preparing for the holidays is both a labor of love and a daunting task. Getting this issue off to press is but one element of that endeavor. The best part has been sifting through all of the high quality submissions and photos; the harder task was the selection of only a few images. Due to the larger coverage of the new lodge institution, 2012 convention information, Høstfest coverage, and a feature article, virtually all lodges will find substantive cuts and omissions.

It is with pleasure that we welcome new members of Oregon's Willamette Valley's AGNES WERGELAND Lodge #52 into the fold. We have been following your progress through two Junction City festivals, the planning meetings, and now the institution ceremony. And, what an event that was. Marcia Comer, Ted Hinds, and Kathleen Nesseth have graciously contributed photos, which we are proud to feature in this issue.

Also highlighted are the King and Queen of Norway, who made a recent trip through the USA. Our own Eva Nansen Lodge #46 has contributed a rare photo from their visit to Decorah, Iowa. Randi Cruze from Aase #33 also has a spotlight on the royals. The Queen's welcome letter to our new members is featured on the facing page. Kudos to Embla #2's Janet Ruud for that submission.


Kaffe Fassett

One of the highlights of this fall, for me, was to meet internationally reknowned, London-based fabric designers Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably. Their newest book, reviewed in this issue, Quilts in Sweden, is now on bookstore shelves. Fassett is a California native who first rose to fame with his knitting designs, branching out in subsequest years to needlepoint, then to quilting and fabric design. His collaborations with Liza Prior Lucy have resulted in a treasure-trove of books of historic quilt designs realized in post-modernist colorways. Fassett was knitting a gorgeous scarf in orange and red mohair as we chatted together.

The holidays are always part tradition, as well as, a time for sharing. Thought I'd share a link to a comedy sketch from the great British duo, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise from one of their annual Christmas shows, hailing from 1971. This skit is, on it's surface, about Grieg's Piano Concerto, featuring guest André Previn. It's sure to bring a laugh. View on YouTUBE at:


Døtre av Norge (Daughters of Norway), from Volume 74 Issue 6 Nov/Dec 2011

This article is reprinted with permission from Døtre av Norge


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