Remembering Kitty: A Japanese Style Quilt Exhibit

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The Remembering Kitty quilt exhibit showcases the love and talent Kitty Pippen had for the Japanese quilting industry. Kitty used her unique sense of color, design and understanding of textures to create remarkable works of art that are currently on display at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum until July 28th. The quilts were provided by Sylvia Pippen Designs and can be viewed there after the exhibit.

Kitty Pippen showcasing one of her quilts

Kitty Pippen

Over the years, I have derived much joy and satisfaction using the beautiful textiles of Japan, and I would like to encourage other quilters to do the same.

Kitty was born on Nov. 18, 1919 in Ping Ting Chow, Shansi, China, where her parents were missionaries. It was there that Kitty gained an appreciation for fine needlework by observing the local women mend garments and decorate baby shoes with intricate animal embroidery.

When Kitty went to the US for college, she discovered a Japanese fabric store where she purchased a few pieces of Yukata fabric that she stashed away. That fabric later became the beginning of Kitty’s first quilt, "Cranes," which won 1st Place for innovative piecing at the American Quilter's Society show.

Her award propelled her into the world of quilting, where she became an expert on Japanese textiles and was able to teach workshops, speak at lectures and exhibit her quilts at various quilt shows around the world. Kitty’s quilts have been displayed in two prior exhibits at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum. Quilts with a Japanese Flair in 2002 and Quilting with Japanese Fabrics in 2015.

In Kitty’s 2011 book, she said, “Over the years, I have derived much joy and satisfaction using the beautiful textiles of Japan, and I would like to encourage other quilters to do the same.”

Kitty has certainly accomplished that. Her influence has introduced hundreds of quilters to the beautiful world of Japanese-style fabrics and her quilts continue to inspire passionate quilters to experiment and create innovative Japanese-style quilts.

Kitty passed away in August of 2018. Her legacy is carried on by her daughter, Sylvia Pippen, who designs Sashiko fabric quilts inspired by her mother. Her quilt shop in La Conner, Washington, Sylvia Pippen Designs, is home to many of Kitty’s quilts, which can be viewed there after the exhibit.

The Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fabric Arts Museum is located at 703 2nd St, La Conner, WA 98257.

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Sylvia Pippen
Sylvia Pippen Designs
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