Katja Marek’s “Quilt with Me”

I’ve decided to start a new handwork project in the new year.  I have things to finish, but I’ve been flipping through my copy of “The New Hexagon” by Katja Marek since last Christmas.  I’ve been lurking on Katja’s Millefiori quilt along page, but I haven’t started anything.  That particular quilt doesn’t call to me.  The new project for 2016 is lovely, because it is set up as a quilt as you go project.  The true genius of this idea is that I love hand piecing, and my mom loves hand quilting.  I’ll be piecing the blocks, and handing them off to her to quilt.  Since they are quilted individually, each part of the quilt is manageable for each of us.

I’m definitely not expecting to keep up with the group, but one block a week seems very manageable.

My preparations


My plan

  • I’m going to use my stash for this quilt, with an emphasis on using scraps.
  • I will not buy fabric for this quilt
  • I will not buy fabric for this quilt
  • I will not buy fabric for this quilt
  • I may pick up a fat quarter bundle, if something catches my eye

Here are my first two blocks.

I think we will be making a scrappy rainbow.  I am vacillating on backing – all black backings might look fab with complimentary color big stitch quilting.  Coordinating the backing to each little front might look nice, but that would probably lead to fabric buying.  Decisions, decisions.  I will be using a bamboo batting from Fairfield that I have in my stash for this one.  It is supposed to be great for hand quilting.

After all of the 1/2 inch hexagons I usually use for La Passion, these pieces feel enormous.  I’m excited to see how this comes along.

Blocks #3 & 4

I’m very excited about the focal fabric in #3.  It is Erte Revisited by Woodrow Studios. I picked it up a long time ago, and it has been waiting patiently in my stash.  It has survived several purges, and just now let me know it would be perfect for this project.  I have two yards.  I am going to work it into all of the remaining blocks, and perhaps redo number 1, 2, & 4.

Someone on the Facebook group was having a hard time visualizing assembling the blocks.  I thought a photo progression might be helpful.


I created the template for the batting and backing pieces using large Mylar sheets from Joann fabric.  They can be pressed, with minimal warping.  I spent an hour or so cutting 52 hexagons from batting.  I’m using a bamboo batting from Fairfield.  They kindly provided me with a large assortment of their products this summer as part of a prize from the Big E.  I love being able to try new products.  This is Fairfield’s Nature-Fil, which is a blend of rayon from bamboo and cotton.  It feels soft and is nice and thin.


Next I cut my backing.  I’m using black sateen for all of my quiltlets.  My plan is to match up the thread to the front colors and have just the stitches show on the back.  It should look fabulous.

I didn’t follow Katja’s directions exactly – I centered the batting on the backing, placed the template on top, and pressed the edges around.  I’m careful to tuck the corners in evenly and press to get a crisp edge.  At the last corner, I fiddle it around to make sure all of the corners are folded in the same direction.  (I realize my ironing board cover is a hot mess.  It is disgraceful, and at the bottom of my priority list.  So sad.)

I removed the template, gave everything one last press, and set it aside.

I flip the pieced block over, and tuck in any errant tails, pressing them in place.  I remove the papers carefully, pressing as I go to keep a crisp edge.  I center the pieced block on the prepared backing/batting.  I line up the hexie corners to the folded seams.  If any don’t line up perfectly, I have an iron and pins, and I’m the boss.

Once everything is pinned in place, I will appliqué the block to the backing, using black silk thread.  Silk thread is a bit tricky to work with, but it disappears into the fabric, making my stitches invisible.  I will also stitch down the folded seams, so there are no gaps in the top.  Once all four are done, they will be shipped off to mom, along with some #8 thread and a packet of shiny new needles.  I’ll have to see if she wants me to mark the quilting lines in the edge or not.



3 thoughts on “Katja Marek’s “Quilt with Me”

  1. Thank you for the visual instruction. They will be a huge help when I get started on the backing. I’m on # 46 so close to completing the hexis!


  2. Awesome project, Jennifer! Glad to be following you, I can’t wait to see your progress. LOVE your commitment to scraps. And an occasional fat quarter. 😉


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