Book Review: Kaffe Fassett at the V&A – Knitting and Needlepoint by Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe Fassett V&AThis book is published in conjunction with a three-month exhibition of the designer’s work at the V&A in October 1988. The author urges his readers to develop their own colour sense and experiment with different combinations by demonstrating his own creative response to the treasures of the V&A, particularly in the ceremic, glass and enamel collections. Fassett uses motifs such as stars, diamonds, stripes, flowers and fauna and the myriad forms they take in the decorative arts of different cultures. The designs featured in this book include a coat based on blue and white china and a cushion and sweater inspired by Islamic tiles in brilliant blues and greens.

In the introduction Fassett tells of his move from California to London and Bath in the late 1960s and the influences of England – and in particular the V&A – in his knitting and needlework designs.

The book is then split into different pattern types, e.g. Spots,  Squares, Diamonds and Flora with at least one item produced by Fassett that can be worked by the reader. The photographs provided by Steve Lovi give wonderfully rich examples of items from the V&A to show inspiration.  Thankfully by this time, many photographers and publishers of this type of book (Lovi and Century Hutchinson Ltd in this case) have realised that photographs need to be in colour – I’ve found books published only a year or two before this where the majority of illustrations and photographs are in Black and White!

Now to be honest, even if I was a good enough knitter to attempt any of the knitted items in this book (they are complex in colour and size), I wouldnt, in no small part because the clothing items are rather 1980s in style.  However, I can see potential in both the knitted and the needlepoint items for me to produce items in cross stitch and so can see myself producing items from most of the patterns shown in this book.

So in summary: stunning looking book, slightly dated in some of the products, but still providing much inspiration even for non-knitters.

Have you done any work out of Kaffe Fassett books? Do you like his use of colours?


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Kaffe Fassett at the V&A – Knitting and Needlepoint by Kaffe Fassett

  1. I’ve had this book for years – probably since the 80s! I remember how stunned I was by it at the time as completely different to any knitting/needlepoint patterns I’d ever seen. Over the years I’ve knitted a few Kaffe Fassett patterns but not sure if they’re from this book or one of his others


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