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Kaffe ventured into the world of colorful yarn on a visit to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb. Inspired by the colors in the landscape, Kaffe was thrilled to find the same colors in yarns. He bought 20 colors of Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit. His first design appeared as a full page spread in Vogue Knitting magazine.

Since 1981, Kaffe has worked closely with Rowan Yarns in Yorkshire, whose insight into fashion and color perfectly complements Kaffe's skill. Together, they have produced ambitious designer patterns to inspire hand knitters all over the world. He contributes to the bi-annual Rowan magazine, which is marketed worldwide. A large part of Kaffe's output is now an expanding range of fabric prints for the patchwork market along with the Indian stripes fabric and shot cotton fabric range distributed worldwide by Rowan fabrics.

In 2013, Kaffe was awarded the Turner Medal, presented by the Color Group (Great Britain) to a distinguished artist or art historian to honor Britain's greatest colorist. Kaffe also has authored numerous patchwork and quilting books.