What Is Echo Quilting?

What Is Echo Quilting?

What Is Echo Quilting?

Hey Everyone, welcome back to Free Motion Friday.

So the other day on Technique Tuesday I made a little quilt with no binding. Today I decided I should probably quilt that little quilt and share it here on Free Motion Friday.

I thought about how I should quilt it and because of the pansy appliqué design in the middle of it I figured that echo quilting would look the best. Pretty much any shape will work for echo quilting some are just more of a challenge than others depending how many corners, angles and curves they have.

Echo quilting is when you follow the shape of the appliqué design. It can be done with a free motion foot or a walking foot. The walking foot gives you just a little bit more control but there is a lot more pivoting and turning involved of the quilt. The free motion foot makes it much easier to go around the design without having to stop and pivot every few inches.

Echo quilting can be done any distance from the design. I tend to use a ¼″  – 1″ distance depending on how big the area is that needs to be quilted and how big the appliqué design is. This one was small so I picked a ¼″ to start from the design and follow around. Each subsequent stitching line around the design is a ¼″ from the previous stitching line. On this piece I went from the design completely out to the corners filling the background but I could have stopped any distance along the way.

I do not draw any lines on the piece to guide me. Lines could easily be drawn on with either a Clover Chaco Liner or the Clover Trace ‘n Mark Air Erasable Pen. The Chaco Liner lines would be gone with the stitching where as the lines from the Trace ‘n Mark Pen would take time to disappear.

(I reviewed the Chaco Liners on a Cool Tool Thursday post in March and the Trace ‘n Mark Pens in May.)

For this piece I used a Robison-Anton rayon thread which has a bit of a shine to it. I also used a colour that was fairly close to the colour of the background fabric. I didn’t want it to show up too much but yet still wanted to see the stitching a bit to give the echo effect. I think it has worked very well.

I very well could have used purple thread to match the pansy and did all of the echo quilting with it. The look would have been completely different than the created with the green thread. I also could have used a cotton thread – single colour or variegated. The variegated thread would certainly give another look to the quilting motif.

The one drawback to this type of quilting is that there is a lot of stop and start with each round you make as the stitching lines are not connected in any way shape or form. The effect though is worth it.

How do I deal with those thread ends with every stop and go – well I’ll leave that for another post.

Now I am thinking that the pansy is looking a bit plain and needs some free motion stitching to perk it up a bit. What do you think?

Happy Quilting!

Jen Transparent Signature






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I shared this on TGIFF, The Free Motion Quilting Project and Richard and Tanya Quilts


  1. The echo quilting came out very well. I liked how it looked a lot.

  2. Love the echo quilting! I think you chose the perfect width and thread as well – it really brings out the pansy. I agree, the pansy needs a little free motion love. I’ll be curious to see what you decide to do with it!

    • Thanks Diana. I’ll post it here when it’s done.

  3. I love the crinkly ridges formed by echo quilting. I would be tempted to quilt around the center and add a couple of “veins” in the petals, but honestly, your pansy looks fine as is. Sometimes I know that I start quilting … and get a little carried away until everything is very quilted :-)

    • Thanks Sophie, yes sometimes knowing when to stop is the biggest part of any quilt design.

  4. Very nice! The echo quilting does give a great effect!

  5. I am living in Hawaii now and the echo quilting is what they do for Hawaiian quilts. I was told a good distance between rows would be the width of your pointer finger, of course this was for hand quilting. But it does look nice that way. They also quilt inside the motif. Yours looks great, Jen.

  6. That’s just lovely! I’m still a newbie to free motion quilting and I’m wondering – do you know what an echo quilting foot is and have you ever used one? I recently purchased a free-motion foot kit (for my Janome machine) and one of the attachments for it is an echo quilting foot – looks rather like a bull’s eye on a target – and I’m curious as to how it differs for use in echo quilting as compared to a standard free motion foot. I’m not finding any info out there one it, so I’m really hoping that maybe you could tell me anything on them?
    Regardless, love your projects and your informative blog entries! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us “newbies” <3

    • Hi Wendy I found an explanation of the bull’s eye looking foot and the markings on it are at ⅛″ spacings which are to help with free motion echo quilting. So you would line up one of the red lines with the previous stitch line to echo that line of quilting – the clear foot with the red lines is so you can eliminate doing any extra marking. I would go back to your dealer and ask for a tutorial on how to use the foot. Hope this helps and thanks for dropping by. Jen

      • Oh! Well that makes sense 😉 As does your very good advice to go back to the shop and ask for help learning to use it. Thanks so much Jen! Appreciate the info & assistance <3



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