Glorious Knitting by Kaffe Fassett – Retro Book


It’s time once again to take a look at another one of my pre-loved charity shop bargain books that have come from ages past! Today we have Glorious Knitting  by Kaffe Fassett which dates back from 1985 and was reprinted in paperback 1999 – I have the original 1985 hardback edition.

Glorious Knitting Cover

I first ran across Kaffe Fassett’s work in a quilting magazine and was amazed at the bright and vibrant colours he uses in his creations – such rich colours in fact that it makes my lime green desk with pink legs feel almost pedestrian by comparison!

Glorious Knitting 3

Gorgeous colour is a hallmark of Fassett’s work

At that point, I had no idea that the hugely talented patchwork designer was a knitter and it was only when I ran across this book in a local charity shop that I made the connection. Glorious Knitting is much more than a book of patterns, although it has those too, it feels like an invitation from Fassett to play and explore, using the book as a roadmap on a sort of colour pilgrimage.

Glorious Knitting 5

Starting with a friendly (and reassuring!) introduction, Glorious Knitting then proceeds in sections by motif, including Stripes, Circles and Flowers to name but a few. Each section contains patterns that are presented in one of two ways – either as a traditional pattern with specific yarns and colours specified, or as a sort of recipe where the instructions are given but the yarns and colours are up to you. This allows a huge amount of freedom and almost guarantees that no two knitters will produce the same garment.

Glorious Knitting 1

Glorious Knitting features stunning photography by Steve Lovi

There are patterns for men, women and children (although many of the adult patterns look great on any gender) all richly coloured and a joy to behold. Fassett’s experience as an artist really shines here as there are colour combinations I would have immediately discounted if I had just seen the balls of yarn together, but here they are singing brightly and in harmony. It’s certainly enough to make me want to be a bit more adventurous with my colours and to sit and play with them rather than immediately rejecting a certain combination.

Glorious Knitting 2

I am fascinated by the Tumbling Blocks pattern on the left, what a great optical illusion!

What’s really interesting about Glorious Knitting, is that although the book is from 30 years ago and the hairstyles are very eighties, the garments themselves feel ageless as though they could fit into any decade. Yes, there is a lot of 80’s shapes such as oversized sweaters, but it still has a strangely timeless quality. I’m not sure if this is just Fassett’s mastery of design, or the fact that he himself draws inspiration from both ancient and contemporary items, but it certainly works to make the garments feels as fresh today as they did when the book was published.

Glorious Knitting 4

I have a pattern from a couple of years ago with this sort of shape – the designs in Glorious Knitting still feel fresh today!

Whilst I am bold in my colour choices, I’m timid with pattern, so I think that I will work with Glorious Knitting slowly in swatches before diving in to garments, as I wouldn’t want to make a garment I would never wear due to being too intimidated! However, I’m very glad to have Glorious Knitting in my library as it is not only gorgeous to flip through over a cup of tea, but it has inspired me to think a little bigger when it comes to colour and pattern – and that can only be a good thing! If you see a copy of Glorious Knitting for sale, I think it’s well worth grabbing as much for the inspiration as the patterns!

Kaffe Fassett is still very much active and you can find out more about his work on his website.


About Izzy Tinsley

Izzy is a yarn addict who crafts as often as she is able. You can usually find her with yarn and needles (and a nice cuppa) in the home she shares with her husband, quietly stuffing yarn into every available corner.

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