The Essential Kaffe Fassett Bookshelf

By Kay Gardiner
November 15, 2019

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  • Thank you so much for the knitter’s Kaffe bibliography. Glorious Knits was first published in 1985 according to Kaffe’s website, despite what Amazon thinks. I looked it up because of my memory of being blown away by it and knitting from it in the mid-to-late 1980s. I know it may sound melodramatic but it felt at the time as if knitting Kaffe-style colorwork saved my sanity at the time, and it feels that way again this fall as I wake up in the wee hours of the West coast morning to read my next fix of MDK Kaffe love. If you guys wanted to stay on this glorious color topic forever I’ll be right along with you!

    • Agreed!

    • I’m sure you are right about the date—my own copy is 1986 I believe. An era of Princess Diana hairdos.

    • Yup, and, perusing that book totally straightened me out on the role of value in color selection. Huge. In every way. Still a wonder to flip through those pages….

    • Niki, I totally agree! At this point in my art life, it feels like immersing myself in Kaffe books (new to me), especially his bio, is saving my sanity. COLOR!!

  • I have all the knitting ones, except for Rowan prior to #18. Don’t forget Glorious Interiors. Also a lovely book. I think Glorious Knits is my favorite. Plus, he signed it for me. 🙂

  • Love this so much! ❤️ My favorite Kaffe from my bookshelf is his Glorious Interiors… it even has rag rugs! My copy was signed by Kaffe when I saw him at G Street Fabrics in 1995 ❤️ Thank you for doing a gorgeous (and easy-to-hold) Field Guide to this amazing, inspiring designer ❤️

    • Nancy, I was also at G Street Fabrics In 1995 and still have my book signed by Kaffe. Kim

  • In the 80’s way before I actually did any real knitting, I read about knitting a lot. So when the very crafty neighbor across the street said she was working on a Kaffe Fassett sweater I viewed her as a minor celebrity. And despite the photos of him looking all dreamy-eyed, in person (I was lucky enough to take one of his classes) he is very strong-minded, disciplined and focused. For me he became the best example I know of, of the value that craft can have in our lives in terms of character-building (for the young) as well as life-enrichment (as we get older).

  • Love looking at his books. I finally let go of a few. Gazing at the cabbages in Glorious Needlepoint was the best!

  • Kaffe Fassett Knits Again is a real two-fer. I first bought the book because it is full of photos of Charleston House, a house in Sussex in which Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Dora Carrington, and other Bloomsbury folks lived and painted: they painted walls, furniture, and textiles, and whatever else they felt like. And photos in the book show their work in the house as well as Fassett’s. It’s glorious! (By the way, Vanessa Bell, sister of Virginia Woolf, is the painter who gave us the small oil of Virginia knitting that can be seen on various personal pages around Ravelry–in case you didn’t know.)

  • Overwhelming.

  • My mother gave me Glorious Knits for Christmas when it was first published along with a bag full of colorful yarn with which to play . My first effort was a coat sweater which i wore until it was in literal shreds; when it became to worn for public wear, it became a very fancy bathrobe until even patching it wsa no longer an option. Years later I was able to do a two day workshop with Kaffe and Brandon at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and he signed the book for me. i still have the book, of course, and I made several sweaters from it. It was definitely transformative. The MDK Master Class is sitting in front of me right now. Can’t wait to begin again!

  • And then there all of his needlepoint designs, canvases, and gorgeous books which are inspirational! The man leaves his mark everywhere in the fiber world.

  • Glorious knits is still one of my favorite books and I am proud to say I have made more than one of those wonderful designs.

  • Bright….bold colors….even purchased the latest field guide…deb

  • I too have been following Kaffe from the very beginning and have all his books – I particularly love the Swallows and Amazons one featuring a very young Kate Moss! As I live in the UK I have met Kaffe on several occasions and attended two of his knitting workshops in Yorkshire – they were amazing! His enthusiasm and talent knew no bounds and it was such a privilege to be there. On a recent visit to London I visited his exhibition at Anthropologie and also Coach where he designed handbags and dress fabrics for this lovely brand. The knitting world owes a lot to this talented man!

  • One day, several years ago, I was somewhere and saw a yarn shop right next door to a used bookshop. You can imagine! I scurried in and struck gold! Kaffe Fassett gold. I nearly swooned! No Rowan magazines but nabbed all the classic knitting books….I found STILLWATER as well…Alice Starmore. This is a library I look at over and over again. Sheer pleasure!

  • This was so fun to read. I have my Masterclass book and my new supply of Felted Tweed and I can’t wait to get started.

  • I’d also like to recommend Kaffe Fassett’s Glorious Interiors. Lots of needlepoint and inspiration.

  • How wonderful to have all those books to browse through.

  • I bought “Glorious Knits” in London in the fall of 1985. Just looked it up in the book to make sure. The book cost 14.95 pounds. I also bought issue #1 of the magazine..
    I also bought “some” yarn!
    Luckily, I was there with my husband who was on a job, and I fit most of the yarn into his equipment cases!
    Still think he is one of our most creative, brilliant knitters/ designers.
    Waiting for my Master Class to arrive….

  • Ah, I remember that day when I picked up Glorious Knits. Blew. My. Mind. And then my very considerate husband scheduled our first adults-away weekend after we became parents (that baby is now turning 25) to the Berkshires so I could do a weekend retreat with Brandon and Kaffe. Blew my mind all over again. (I kept the swatch from that weekend for at least two decades!) Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • Found several of the books available on Amazon.

  • I’m relatively new (1 decade) to knitting/crocheting, but I’ve been an admirer of his work from the start. I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t included crochet in his repertoire (though maybe I’ve missed it somehow!). So many of his color combos would make such fabulous traditional crochet blankets – granny squares exploding with color and happiness! I’ve got a handful of his knitting books on my shelf and they are truly stunning. I can’t wait for my Field Guide to arrive!

  • Ok, I just had a serious incident over at Better World Books, thanks to you guys. They have almost all his titles, including the pattern library book!
    I can tell this year’s Xmas present to myself is going to involve Felted Tweed….

  • What a walk down memory lane. Queue up George Winston’s “December” album and I’m transported back in time. Yet all his designs look so fresh and unique. They’ve never lost it!

  • I bought Rowan book 52 when I feel in love with the Orkney cardigan. It also uses felted tweed. (Some were discontinued colors, so I scoured Amazon and Ravelry. Lady lick was with me, though) I have all 13 colors I need. It’s my “major project” for 2020!

  • Thank you more than I can say for Kaffe! He is (was!) new to me and diving into his books (our library has many) has pulled me out of the art blahs like nothing else. I’ve bought bold, beautiful new fabric of his design for my sewing and been inspired to another level in knitting. I’m looking at my painting in a whole new way. As an artist I love color but have dismally gotten in a rut over time. Slowly working my way through Kaffe’s bio so I can savor ever drop of it.
    Niki (below) said it perfectly! Again: THANK YOU!!

  • Had to have Master Class as soon as it was out. It has joined Glorious Knits in my Kaffe Fassett book stash!

  • Although I’m a knitter, I was first introduced to Kaffe Fassett by a needlepoint point book in the public library.

  • Oh this Kaffe theme on MDK is so much fun!! When I first came across your blog all those years ago, I was delighted to see that you were big Rowan and Kaffe fans. I started following you then and your blogs never disappoint! Years ago, my husband I stopped at the restaurant Nepenthe in Big Sur which is owned by Kaffe’s family. I went into the gift shop and walked downstairs to find that there was a beautiful exhibit of Kaffe’s sweaters and the colors and designs just blew me away! Will order the Master Class book and look forward to knitting something from it! I have really enjoyed all the comments from fellow Kaffe lovers.

  • I have the family knits but have no idea how to find the color vibrant equivalent yarn that equals Kaffee’s original yarns. Any suggestions? eBay is not useful