This quilt has been an idea in my mind for a long time. I have always admired Kaffe fabrics, but never really knew what to do with them because I find that they have such a distinctive style and color palate that they are hard to mix in with other fabrics.
Once I started collecting the Kaffe fabrics I knew that I wanted to do a simple pattern that would really let the fabrics shine. The fabrics are so saturated and busy in themselves that I thought a more complicated pattern would overwhelm the quilt.
When I had finally settled on a simple patchwork design I had to decide how big I wanted the squares to be. My original thought was to only use Kaffe fabrics and make large squares, maybe 6-7” but after some thought I decided I smaller squares mixed with a neutral would be the way to go.
My inspiration for mixing the linen with the Kaffe fabrics was all the Liberty of London quilts I have seen mixed with Linen. I don’t think I have seen one that I didn’t like, and I figured if all those tiny floral prints could work with the linen then this would work too! I have seen Kaffe fabrics mixed with solid black and solid white, but the contrast is just so strong and that really wasn’t the look I was going for. The yarn dyed linen was the perfect neutral and added a beautiful texture to the quilt.
As for the block size I decided to go with smaller squares finishing at 4” to allow for more color and fabrics in the quilt. I specifically went with 4” squares because it allowed me to buy 1/8th yard cuts which saved me quite a bit of money and allowed me to add more fabrics in than if I had gone with a larger size. I also fussy cut some of my squares from my larger pieces of fabric so you could really see the prints.
The finished quilt measures about 56” x 72” and is the perfect lap size. I backed the quilt in a bright blue minky with raised dots and quilted it simply about an 1/8” away from my seams in a matching blue thread. I wanted the quilting to simple as to still let the fabrics shine, while reinforcing the seams since I read that some quilters have had issues with the linen unraveling in some sport after a few washes. I bound the quilt in a scrappy Kaffe binding, which I think perfect sets off the quilt.
As a side note on working with the linen, I prewashed it in warm water (but I didn’t wash anything else) and shortened my stitch length to 1.6 mm when I was piecing. So far I have not had any problems, but the quilt has yet to be washed multiple times. In addition this quilt has a wonderful drape. It is so soft and flowy i just adore it!
This quilt is currently listed for sale in my Etsy shop. I love this quilt so much that I think another Essex and Kaffe quilt is in my near future, but this time with a different color linen!