SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe--A Q&A with Kaffe and Liza

The SSSQ Quilt-Along with Kaffe Fassett is in full swing. Click here for full details, plus a free pattern from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts to get you started. Join the SSSQ Quilt-Along group on Facebook here

Authors Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy are on board to provide inspiration, encouragement, and advice. Visit our blog the first Tuesday of every month for a special post from these superstar quilters. If you can't wait that long, check in on their blog tour for near-daily inspiration!

Today's post from Kaffe and Liza takes on the beginning stages of a project. Absorb their words of wisdom--then swap some of your own tips in the SSSQ Quilt-Along group forum.

Were any of your quilts inspired by something/somewhere interesting or unusual?

We are primarily inspired by traditional quilts. We don’t do reproductions but rather put a contemporary spin on old patterns. Some of our quilts are inspired by textiles that are not quilts: African wovens such as Kente cloth, Suzani textiles from the Central Asia, Kantha embroideries from India and Bangladesh.

The Haze Kilim quilt in Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts is a good example of what happens when we are inspired. Kaffe bought a simple kilim rug for his house in the late '70s. His first book on knitting included a design for a coat inspired by the rug, which was the first of Kaffe’s designs Liza knitted. Many years later, when she first proposed doing a quilt book with Kaffe, she attempted to make a version of the coat but failed, mostly because the fabrics available just didn’t work. Three books later she was still stubbornly holding onto the idea of doing that pattern. With Kaffe’s fabrics expanding in palette, it became possible. The pattern went from woven rug, to knitted coat, to quilt.

What is your favorite part of beginning a new quilt?

Color is always the most exciting part. Once we chose a pattern to try, usually a traditional one, going to the stash and beginning to build the palette is thrilling. It gets even better when we start to cut the fabric and place the cut pieces on a design wall to see how or if the color harmonizes.

What should beginners keep in mind when starting their first quilts? What might they find intimidating and how can they overcome that feeling?

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to cut well ironed fabric using a sharp blade and good rulers. We are not sticklers about perfect points and matching corners, but cutting well makes it possible to get very good piecing results. Practice rotary cutting until it becomes second nature!

When choosing a palette, beginners often choose too many different colors. Stick to just two colors to begin with and then expand from there. For example, choose red and green to make a quilt, then for reds, choose from the red family going to purple and almost orange; from green, do the same, going from teals to chartreuses. A good example of this would be the Floral Snowball quilt from Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts(image at right).

One absolute must is a design wall. We mock up everything on our design walls. We arrange and edit and rearrange a pattern for days until it is as perfect as we can make it. Using a reducing glass to view the composition is essential.

How do you record your inspiration for future quilts (i.e. photos, drawings, written notes, etc.)?

We toss ideas to develop in the future into a big plastic sleeve. The sleeve is full of pictures, sketches, and comments. Inspiration is everywhere.

To find out more about Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts, click here.

For more inspiration, watch this thought- and, hopefully, quilt-provoking book trailer.

For even more words of wisdom, reviews and show-and-tells from crafty bloggers, check out the blog tour.