Friday Field Notes: A Stripe for Every Season

When I was an editor with Quilt Magazine, we ran a feature in each issue (4 times a year for that title) that had Kaffe Fassett share some of his inspirational sources. We called it Field Notes. I saved these on my computer years ago (before Quilt Magazine closed shop) and thought I'd bring them back to inspire my readers. This is the first of 16 Field Notes posts!
Check out my Etsy shop for my vintage Kaffe stripes that I am selling. If I haven't done anything with them in 15 years, then they might inspire someone else to creativity! They have lovingly been cared for (smoke free and animal free home).
Scroll to the bottom to see two of the many quilts I made using these lovely stripes.

Now, let's hear from Kaffe!

A Stripe for Every Season

Stitch your next quilt with a pattern of striking stripes.

When I was 18 I used to buy my clothes regularly at charity shops. I found a handsome bottle green and maroon stripe shirt that I felt suited me well. My mother agreed, saying, “I like men in striped shirts.” It stuck with me as I went on in life and I was always on the lookout for bold stripes in my shirts.
When I took up patchwork, my first fabrics were stripes hand woven in India and I’ve gone on to design painted stripes that I love playing with as much as any motif I’ve ever tried. I’m getting so pro-stripe I see them everywhere. I love to color bold stripes on streets and airports. Black and yellow, red and white; any contrasting colors get my attention.
For my next fabric collection I’ve done a series of bold stripes that can be cut up to produce several
possibilities from just one yard. My mind goes crazy thinking of all the uses for it. Diagonal cutting to create chevrons, layers of different color stripes in 2-inch strips, or just using a length as a border running through the various color combinations on the print. For my next Rowan book I’ve used a new stripe called Serape, inspired by the Mexican woven ponchos I grew up with in California. I’ve designed two exciting quilts using this serape stripe in its various colorways.

Seeing Stripes Everywhere

Now, I’m so into this pattern that I see plowed fields, corrugated metal stripes cladding, and even rows of containers in a train depot as stripes. Then there are vegetable gardens with neat rows of onions or lettuce and for a more visual drama, the tulip fields of Holland with their vast acres of flowers in columns of brilliant tones.
As I travel the world I love to see various cultures that have had an equal passion for stripes. I’ve found them in Japan, Africa, the classic folk costumes of Scandinavian countries, and finally the wonderful red/white and blue/white classical French linens. One of the most fabulous uses of stripes I’ve encountered was a blue and cream tent as a Swedish summerhouse made of tin, shaped to look like draped fabric. Even the English supply a gorgeous range of stripes on their deck chairs in London’s parks.

Now for a few of my own quilts using these awesome stripes:

Yikes! Those Stripes!
And the beautiful quilting up close. This was created by Leslee Evans of Atlanta. I have since gifted this to a lovely woman who tragically lost her husband this past summer.

Quilting by Leslee Evans of Atlanta
These blocks were so easy to make. They are about 8-1/2" finished. You can find this pattern also in my Etsy shop.

And one more Yikes! quilt using some other stripes. I had to mix in some paper fans fabric because I only had four of the ones with the stripe!

Brown Yikes! quilt.
Check out my Etsy store for 8 vintage pieces of Kaffe Fassett stripes that need to find a new home. They are in pristine condition but I need to pare down my stash. More to come.


  1. WOW, I only worked with stripes on one quilt. Should rethink that. Hope you are keeping busy under the quarantine. I have made over 100 masks-I'm so done. Back to quilting.


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