A Day With Kaffe At Missouri Star

Updated: Aug 26

I am off to California for the Pacific International Show early tomorrow so you are receiving Tuesday's Tip a bit early this week.


About fifteen years ago I went to the Minneapolis Museum of Art for a show featuring Kaffe Fasset's quilts and knitting. I had seen his books and was intrigued but didn't know that much about his work. That show changed everything about how and what I quilted. I couldn't get home fast enough. As soon as I had gone through the gallery I went home immediately and had to sew. I purchased each of his books and made at least fifteen of his quilts. His work inspired me so, I can't explain how much it affected me and has continued through the years.



My goal was to meet him someday which I didn't think would ever happen but I was wrong. IT HAPPENED! I was home late last week Tuesday night preparing for a show in California when I received a call from my friend, Susan Brown, who happens to be the Retreat Coordinator for Missouri Star. She knows that I am a Kaffe fan. Kaffe was in Hamilton for classes this past week. It just happened there was a death in a family of someone who was supposed to attend and they had to cancel. It is very unusual for me not to have something planned but it so happened that I was free on Friday so I jumped at the chance to take the class. I didn't know what he was teaching but I didn't care. I was going to meet Kaffe Fasset!


I had just spent the entire day cleaning my sewing room so finding the things I needed was fairly easy. I didn't have time to shop for any fabric for this project but figured I would throw what I had in a pile and if I needed anything the 13 fabric stores in Hamilton would probably have what I needed.


This is what my sewing room looked like after 8 hours of cleaning just as I left for Hamilton, Missouri.

I took off for Hamilton at about 8:30 Thursday morning. It is about a seven-hour drive from Minneapolis. I had time and it was a sunny fall day. Great traveling. I listened to my library book all the way and finished it just about 20 minutes before I arrived.


I had been to Hamilton before but I had not been to the Retreat Center so I was eager to see the facility. I found Susan and she gave me a tour and there was even some evening entertainment.


As I walked in the door I thought it truly was Jenny waiting for me but it was a great cardboard cutout of her. That would have to do. The working space at the Retreat Center has everything a quilter needs, great lighting, tables, and chairs that are comfortable and tasty food. What more could you ask for?


Several people were celebrating their birthday at the retreat so "Marilyn" (Cindy) showed up to serenade them. It was pretty special.


A Day With Kaffe At Missouri Star


I was lucky enough to spend the night at the Mini-Retreat across the street. I was amazed at the wonderful bed and bedding. Comfortable. I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. T


Jean and Courtney working hard to give us everything we needed. Meg is in the back there helping another student.

The class was at 9:30 so I had breakfast at the Retreat Center and then off to the Hotel Hamilton where the class was to be held. It too was a great space with everything supplied that was needed. The helpers, Meg, Courtney, and Jean were there for all our needs. All of the staff at Missouri Star were friendly and helpful. Lunch and snacks were impressive. We each received a Kaffe Fasset book, his grey flannel for designing walls, and a Missouri Star ruler.



Kaffe working with my choices.

The class began on time and we were encouraged to be a bit quiet and work hard on our designs. It was suggested that we not ask our neighbors for opinions but play with the fabric we had chosen. Kaffe brings his partner, Brandon, with him to the classes. Brandon was very helpful. He also introduced the word peckish into the conversation. I have to say I had seen the word previously but never heard someone use it in a sentence. Next time I am hungry I will spice up my conversation with it. Brandon is the source of many of Kaffe's fabric designs and is very talented.


The class was about color. We did not sew but we designed for the day. There was music playing and the mood was uplifting. I was impressed with how kind and complimentary both Kaffe and Brandon were when working with students and I was thrilled when he seemed impressed with what I came up with.




At the end of the class, Kaffe took the time to review all 30 of the designs that we made. He critiqued every project individually. We learned so much from each of the quilts that were planned. His patience and kindness were exceptional.


I was blown away by what we learned. Each one of those 30 quilts was a work of art!


I couldn't wait to get home and begin putting mine together. As soon as he was done talking I packed up my things and drove home as fast as I could. It didn't hurt that the weather in Minneapolis was changing and we were getting our first snowstorm.


I made it home by 10:30 and the snow had started only about 40 minutes before I got there. Perfect! I could plan on doing some sewing on Saturday! I had to get back to the project. I was more enthused than I had been at his show at the museum all those years ago.


I had about four hours that I could concentrate on my quilt. After those four hours, I looked around at my previously pristine quilting space and realized what I mess I made. But hey, I had just spent eight hours with one of the best designers I know and I was making my work of art!


Who cares what my studio looks like? Tossing fabric here or it is just fine. I gotta say the process is so fun!


I still have about 10 rounds to go. I will post when I have completed it. But for now, this makes me very happy.



My tip for this week is - Find the thing that inspires you and take some chances.