Ann and I were among the lucky ones: we had our minds blown by Kaffe Fassett early in our knitting careers, so we’ve been following his every move—in a totally non-stalkerish way, honest—for decades now.
If Kaffe Fassett’s work is new to you, you are in for a fabulous deep dive. His body of work is broad, with surprises around every corner. The best way to access this rabbit hole is through Kaffe’s books. While some of the older ones are out of print, they were widely distributed, so it’s worthwhile to query your public library or secondhand book seller, or just snoop around the house of any old-school knitter you know.
To keep it a manageable list, the titles I’m sharing are ones that are on my own Kaffe bookshelf. I turn to them often for inspiration, for the strength of Kaffe’s convictions, or just for a smile.
Note: If you’re a quilter, there are literally dozens of amazing pattern collections of Kaffe’s quilts and patchwork, which are not included on this list. Go forth and seek them out!
The Essential Kaffe Fassett Bookshelf
That’s a lot of books, I know. But the arc of Kaffe’s knitwear design career—over four decades—is most comprehensively represented in these precious, exquisitely styled and photographed volumes. Make friends with a collector! You know you want to see the 1991 classic, Book Number 10, which I call “Kate Moss in big sweaters and tiny shorts.” In the early issues, you can sometimes spot Kaffe modeling his work.
His life is astonishing, his memory is incredible, and he’s a great storyteller.
Kaffe Knits Again (2007)
(As far as I know, he never stopped, but it’s a good title.)
This is the sacred hoard of All Things Kaffe. The jacket copy does not lie.
This one is my favorite. I turn to it again and again. I promise it’s higher-res in person.
There is a rich catalog of Kaffe’s books on patchwork and quilting. This one will get you started.
Kaffe’s Classics (1993)
Glorious Knits (1992)
This is the Dead Sea Scrolls of Kaffe-dom. I can hardly imagine the impression this book made when it was first published. Get your hands on a copy, and enjoy.
And then there’s this one, the newest member of the family, little but mighty.