Who knew there were so many possibilities hidden inside a hexagon?
English-paper-piecing blocks from The New Hexagon
Quilt-shop owner Katja Marek has been English paper piecing since the 1990s—back when the technique didn’t differ much from the method invented in the 1800s. But thanks to modern techniques, Katja became inspired to play with the hexagon shape in new ways. Fifty-two new ways, to be exact!
In her book The New Hexagon, Katja slices and dices the space inside the hexagon shape, resulting in 52 mesmerizing quilt blocks. And she’s learned a lot about efficiency and accuracy along the way. Today Katja shares the story behind those 52 beauties. All you need is a needle, thread, fabric, paper, and one secret ingredient: glue. (Yep—it’ll save you tons of basting time.)
Hi! I’m Katja and I’m the author of The New Hexagon: 52 Blocks to English Paper Piece. I am so excited about this book. It seems like forever since Martingale sent me the contract to write it and now I can finally share it with you!
I developed an obsession with hexagons a few years back. My Pinterest board, Hexagons Have Put a Hex On Me, has over 1000 images of hexagons. I dreamt of designing inside a hexagon and using it like a quilt block, so I started pattern drafting. Soon I had 52 blocks ready to present as a block-of-the-week program through my store, Katja’s Quilt Shoppe, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.
Now those blocks are available in The New Hexagon. With 52 blocks and seven projects—ranging from a single-block candle mat to a full-sized bed quilt—plus information about glue-basted English paper piecing, this book is a great value.
Projects from The New Hexagon
Some years ago when I was quilt-guild president, we had a workshop on English paper piecing. At the time, I questioned why we’d choose this method over machine piecing. Well, I’ll tell you what I figured out. It’s soothing, relaxing, rewarding handwork; it’s extremely portable (see kit, right) and can go from little-league games to doctor appointments, on holidays and beyond; and it yields very precise results!
Since then, I discovered that modern tools and notions make English paper piecing much faster than ever before. I glue baste all my pieces, and I share the technique in The New Hexagon. Glue basting is a real timesaver, and it allows precise placement of the paper templates so you can create magnificent kaleidoscope effects in the blocks. Here are a few examples:
The beautiful fabrics featured are from “Terrain” by Kate Spain for Moda and Bella Solids by Moda.
In The New Hexagon I explain how you can print your own paper-piecing shapes and even change block sizes by enlarging or shrinking the templates provided. But if you’d prefer, PaperPieces.com offers “The New Hexagon Complete Block-Piecing Pack.” The pack contains a copy of the book, plus papers to make every block in the book.
Like every book or pattern, this is just a starting point. You can create your own blocks by adding a line here or eliminating a line there. Suddenly you’ll have many new blocks to add to your English-paper-pieced projects!
In January 2015 I’m launching The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt-Along on my website. I’d love to have you join me and share your creations. So pick up your copy of The New Hexagon today.
Katja, thanks for sharing the story behind your new book!
We’ve already started playing with Katja’s designs in the office; here’s senior account manager Kara’s first block, with plans to make many more:
Rate your “EPP” skills: EPP major, EPP minor, or haven’t enrolled yet?
Tell us in the comments and you could win an eBook copy of The New Hexagon! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Vicki, who says:
“I currently have no EPP skills. I would love to enroll.”
Vicki, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!