MKG Cable Gram - Volume 21, Number 3
"The entire evening was fabulous - a gala," one satisfied guest was reported as saying. "[It gave Kaffe Fassett] the warm welcome he deserves."
She was speaking of the October 7 event at the Textile Center, where internationally known textile designer Kaffe Fassett spoke to a rapt crowd for an hour and a half. More than 225 tickets were sold for the event, which both promoted Fassett's new book, Kaffe Fassett's Museum Quilts: Designs Inspired by the Victoria & Albert Museum, and raised much-needed money for the Textile Center Library, in which the Minnesota Knitters' Guild is a participating member.
Judith Fletcher, chair of the Textile Center Library Committee and one of the chief organizers of the event, says that although the fundraising goal was an ambitious $5,000, the amount raised from ticket sales and a popular silent auction is about twice this amount. The October 27 Textiles on the Town, the Textile Center's online newsletter, puts the figure at "nearly $11,000." Some of that money will go to help make the library's catalog accessible online and off-site, a project that has been in the works since its computer system was upgraded this summer.
"It truly was an enchanted evening," Fletcher says. The lecture, she says, was "less quilterly" than the book Fassett was promoting; "he talked about his influences, including needlepoint, mosaic, and knitting, and he showed slides from all these categories. And he was so gracious about answering questions." Quilting took center stage for many audience members, some of whom, Fletcher says, showed up wearing, "like capes," Kaffe-inspired quilts they had made. About 80 people stood in line afterwards for the book-signing, and many brought "show and tell" items from Fassett's long life in design. (His first book, Glorious Knits,was published in the U.S. in 1985.)
Fletcher points out that many Textile Center staff, friends, and volunteers worked hard for months beforehand to make "this very special benefit event" possible. More than 30 volunteers were on hand to run the event, which included a reception, silent auction, and door prizes.
Together with Fletcher, these volunteers and staff organized a vast "this is your life, Kaffe Fassett" display throughout the Textile Center that included knitting, quilts, and tapestry pieces. One of these items, an intarsia jacket from Rowan yarn, was knitted by MKG member Shelley Hermanson nearly 20 years ago. She remembers that, to avoid long "floats" in the back of the work, she wrapped every stitch, a process that added an enormous amount of time to the project-but, as a result, the inside looks as good as the outside.
A highlight of the event was the awarding of the door prize, a $4,600 sewing machine donated by Bloomington's Sew Amazing, to audience member Cynthia Abdulla. "She just leaped onto the stage," Fletcher says. "It turned out that she had been sewing on a $10 machine since she was 12 years old."
Rebecca Ganzel is the librarian for the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. She is very sorry that she was undergoing unexpected gall-bladder surgery the day of the Kaffe Fassett event-she would much rather have been at the Textile Center!