What if One Chance Encounter Could Change the Entire Course of Your Life?

Posted by Rona Herman on

Why am I getting so emotional over a Quilt Book?

This morning I was flipping through my copy of Kaffe Fasset’s ‘Quilts in Ireland’ (again) perusing all the brilliantly colorful photos and locations, petting the pages as if I were petting the quilts themselves. Without warning, I began to cry. What in the world?! And in that split moment I realized, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. And it all started with Ireland.

I recently signed up for a workshop with Kaffe Fassett. Kaffe Fassett is a world renowned knitter, needlepoint artist, fabric artist, and all around lover of color. He will be giving a lecture and teaching this coming October here in Charlotte, NC. Excited, elated, enthralled would all be understatements attempting to describe my feelings about this event.

Changing My Outlook on Color

Truthfully, I’ve never been one to use bold bright colors in my quilts. Let alone large ‘in your face’ prints. I tend to stick to the basics like grey tones and fall colors with a little splash here or there. Or, when I do branch out to winter colors they tend to be small prints. I look at large prints and think ‘what am I supposed to do with that?’

November Rain Quilt Pattern by Rona the Ribbiter Quilts
November Rain Quilt Pattern by Rona the Ribbiter Quilts

Then, Kaffe Fassett walked into my life. I discovered his prints by accident while shopping for fabric online. At first, I was put off by several pieces because they were “too bold” for me. However, I was still intrigued by what others might do with them. So, I went in search of his quilts. What treasures I found!

When you do an online search for Kaffe quilts, the first site that pops up is, of course, KaffeFassett.com. His website. The first picture you see after opening his site is a beautiful picture of a very happy and content Kaffe Fassett surrounded by beautiful bright colors in the flowers and the quilts. It was almost like he was encouraging me to step out of my world and welcoming me to his.

At the time he had just released his book “Quilts in America.” If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. The book is a beautiful showcase of quilts inspired by the American Museum in Britain. The museum houses a collection of antique American quilts collected in the early 1960’s. The book is filled with Kaffe’s interpretations and recreations of these pieces of art using his own fabric lines. The results are simply stunning.

Quilts in America book by Kaffe Fassett

As I was flipping through the pages I immediately stopped on Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. Kaffe’s co-author Liza Prior Lucy recreated the pattern using Kaffe’s Regimental Stripes fabric and fussy cutting to give the star blocks a more ‘pinwheel’ effect. It’s absolutely brilliant and even inspired me to begin working on a new pattern collection using star blocks as my base. What quilts have inspired you?

Tippecanoe and Tyler Too Quilt pattern from Kaffe Fassett's Quilt's in America collection.

Dream BIG

Ruth Soukup recently released her 6th book called “Do It Scared.” In this book, and in her podcast of the same name, she encourages everyone to ‘dream BIG.’ Imagine, if there was nothing standing in your way and money was not a concern, what would you be doing? My answer: I’d be Kaffe Fassett.

Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup

Two years ago I was blessed to join a Quilting craft tour to Ireland with Master Quilter Mark Sherman and some of my fellow quilting enthusiasts. Travelling from Dublin to Galway, through Connemara and down along the Wild Atlantic Way then back through Killarney to Dublin, it was the adventure of a lifetime. Every new destination held a new inspirational treasure.

Rona standing near a cliff in Ireland

The awe inspiring cliffs and wind driven rolling grass fields out at the Cliffs of Moher to the enchanted Connemara Marble columns and angel gargoyles of the neo-Gothic Church at Kylemore Abbey.

Overlooking the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Cliffs of Moher

The color rich towns of painted doors and flowers a plenty to the deep greens and rich wildlife of the Killarney National Park.

Leaving Ireland was one of the hardest things I’ve done. It was almost as if I felt like my ‘work’ there was unfinished. There was something more I needed to do or see or experience that I was leaving behind.

My Future Was Set

It was shortly after my trip that Kaffe Fassett entered my life and it all made sense. The hidden fairies of the Emerald Isle were showing me my destiny, my purpose. My BIG dream. The red carpet of my future had been laid out before me and now I just had to start walking.

Similarly, to the Quilts in America book, Quilts in Ireland showcases a collection of quilts inspired by Kaffe’s travels through western Ireland. He has recreated some treasured classic antique quilt designs, again using his own fabric lines to give them a more modern look.

My favorite quilt in this collection, by far, is the Hourglass quilt. Dating from the late 1900’s, this pattern can be created and recreated in so many ways giving a tremendously versatile canvas for even the most beginner of quilter. I’ve already started working on one of my own.

Hourglass Quilt design from Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in Ireland book.

My BIG Dream

Within 5 years I will be creating my own fabric lines and designing my quilt patterns using those fabrics. All of them inspired by my travels around the world. Every new experience fueling my next work of art. Every destination an opportunity, I want to inspire quilters around the world to reach outside of their comfort zones and create their own works of art and their own vision. I want to paint to world, one quilt at a time.

Kaleidoscope Quilt Pattern
Kaleidoscope Quilt Pattern

Won’t you join me on my journey? Click HERE to sign up for my weekly Hoppy Quilting newsletter to keep up with all the happenings here at the pond. Each week I send out updates on events, tips and sales and coupons. You don’t want to miss a thing!

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Half Herringbone Quilt Pattern

As always, Hoppy Quilting!

Related: How to Make Easy Half Square Triangles

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