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Kaffe Fassett helped in saving me

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Kaffe Fassett helped in saving me. I had been muddling my way through recovery from a depression so grey & overwhelming that I had sold every last skerrick of my fabric stash, & every patchwork notion I owned - patterns, cutters, rulers, mats, the whole lot. I had gotten rid of everything but my sewing machine. I didn't know then what I know now - that turning away from the things you love is one of the signs of clinical depression.

In my previous quiltmaking life I loved the country, folk art style that was so popular in the 90's - checks, plaids, old fashioned florals, fusible appliqué, Debbie Mumm fabrics & heritage colours - bottle green, burgundy, rust, antique cream, navy blues...

"I did a beige sweater once, & nearly lost the will to live." - Kaffe Fassett

Love at first sight

Between selling everything off & my recovery I had a long break from quiltmaking - of many years. While there was no making of quilts, there was a gentle rebuilding of me. At some point during my counselling, I was asked about what I liked to do for enjoyment, other than family time, & the topic of quiltmaking came up. Was it something I wanted to do again? This lead me to wondering what had changed in the quilt world during my absence. Facebook was a very new playground & some searching for quilt groups led me to the Kaffe Fassett Collective page. It was love at first sight.

"How fortunate anyone is to stumble into this magical world of pattern & colour" - Kaffe Fassett

A good friend had been an avid Kaffe Fassett knitter in the 90's & I had always admired the intricate patterns & bold colours - but I had missed Kaffe's transition into designing quilt fabrics & patterns. It was a whole new world. I had never seen anything like it. Colours that made my heart soar! Patterns that had my creative mind firing up once again. It felt like a creative rebirth for me. I couldn't get enough - I borrowed as many of Kaffe's books from the local library that I could. I learnt as much as I could about this new way of quilt thinking & the Kaffe Fassett Collective's back catalogue of fabric ranges. I was back to the quiltmaking I had once loved, but with a whole new palette of possibilities!

A heaving fabric stash is worth nothing

The silver lining of selling off everything, & of that long break, was that it gave me an opportunity for a reboot. To wipe the slate clean & begin again. To move forward with the skills I had already learnt, but to apply them in a whole new way. I do find myself wondering if things would have been a lot different if, instead of finding Kaffe, I'd pulled out a long held stash of old country florals & checks? Would I have felt uninspired, stuck, & obligated to use them? Would I have just packed them up & not returned to quiltmaking? There is a lot to be said for letting go of the things that hold us back, for moving on & transitioning ourselves - & I do think that this applies to our fabric & pattern stashes. I (now) often give my stash an overhaul & move on the fabrics & patterns that I no longer love. If I don't love it, I don't use it or make with it. My quiltmaking time is too precious to waste on using blah fabrics.

A heaving fabric stash is worth nothing to your quiltmaking experience if you aren't inspired by it, or if you don't want to use it. I encourage you to move on what you no longer love, & refresh & replenish your stash with what you do love instead. There's so much fabric deliciousness out there to be enjoyed!

"The best way to enjoy your favourite things is to only own your favourite things." - Courtney Carver

I know that from here on, no matter what life throws at me, I will not turn away from my quiltmaking, or some type of creating, again. It is integral to my mental health - it grounds me, it fulfils me, it gives me purpose, it gives me joy. It is part of who I am. It is part of me. Kaffe Fassett helped in saving me & for that I will be forever thankful.

From These Clever Hands, to Yours...

Jo x

NB: if you or someone you care about is struggling, please seek help from your GP, Lifeline Australia on 131114 or Beyond Blue Australia on 1300 224 636 (or appropriate international support services).

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Sep 02, 2021

I love this quilt design as it’s an answer of ‘what to do‘ with the collection of different sized squares (1 ½” - 4”) I’ve been cutting up & saving, from various project scraps. Thank you!❤️ And thank you for sharing your June story. I gained a lot from it. Particularly about having the courage to move on from fabric that lingers away in the back of our stash boxes, or that we feel we ‘have to‘ hang on to...just because. I recently got rid of a whole bunch of old fat quarters that I’d been carrying around for ‘years’, & oh my, it felt good! Best of all, they went to some very grateful recipients. Also like you, I lov…

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