Discover the Moods & Mysteries of Pastels in Patchwork

Field Notes:  Kaffe Fassett

When I sit down to paint my textile designs, I start to dream about the sort of quilts I’d create and match colours to the mood. Since I love passionate reds, I usually start with that end of the spectrum then move on to deep, luminous blues and purples. From there I shift to browns, ambers, ochres I admire in marquetry and antique wood tones. After I cover these staples of my palette, my mind gravitates to the soft pastel world of the antique embroideries, China pots, patchworks and beaded bags I buy for inspiration to paint in my still lifes. Frosted, faded pinks, lavenders, blues, and mint greens give me a thrill every time I see them combined. I make a palette of those tones in big blousy florals, small geometrics, and polka dots. By painting out six colourways for each of the fabrics I design, I offer patchworkers a virtual paint box of colours to work with. How fulfilling it is to see my dream palette come to life, and then to piece these designs together to create a quilt like this Sweet Sixteen Patches pattern for QUILT magazine.

Floral Inspiration

I found inspiration for Sweet Sixteen Patches in a book of old chintz quilts. My favorites were those quilts that used one large-scale print as a base to

float sixteen patches on. For my quilt design I wanted to sew something very basic, leaving the colour and scale of each pattern to reveal its own mood and mystery. I chose large-scale florals as my ground squares; and sixteen patches made up of my polka dots, a new button print, and classic guinea flower and paperweight prints in contrasting pastels. For the border I chose a traditional print in mint and pink reminiscent of French hotel wallpaper or a book cover, one of my favourites from my new collection. I often revisit this pa

stel territory to paint still lifes. My dream setting for Sweet Sixteen Patches would be an old-fashioned room with soft wallpaper, porcelains of flowery pastels, and perhaps an embroidered silk shawl over a couch!

Kaffe Fassett