What is “Echo Quilting"?

Start with the word, “echo.”
An echo is:

  • a repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from a wall, mountain, or other obstructing surface.
  • a sound heard again near its source after being reflected.
  • any repetition or close imitation, as of the ideas or opinions of another.
  • a person who reflects or imitates another.

I think of echoes as being very similar to ripples in the water after you toss a pebble into it. 

ripples

Let’s translate that idea onto cloth or paper. Grab a piece of paper and draw a simple shape, like the blob shown here.
blob
Next, take your pencil and go around it one time following the shape of the blog. Don’t worry about absolute accuracy in width, just do it. Now do it again. And again. Now imagine doing that with a needle and thread! That would be echo quilting!

The fun part of echo quilting for me is that I don’t have to mark my lines in advance. The freedom that provides is delightful! I am echo quilting the quilt that is currently in my hoop right now. I quilted around the edge of each applique shape once, approximately an eighth of an inch away from the edge of each shape. Once that was completed, I began the process of going around again, this time about a quarter-inch away from the first stitching line. And again. And around again. 

echo14

There will come a time in some projects where you will work yourself into an area and wonder how you are going to get out of it. Take a close look at the area in the photo below. Can you see where that happened?

echo11

There are no hard and fast rules about how to tackle a situation like this. You just do it as you think it would look best for you. I try to stick to echoes that are about the same width as I go around, but again, I don’t really worry about absolute accuracy. When this quilt is all finished, you won’t look at it with a ruler in your hand, and it won’t be noticeable.

echo10


What are you working on that could use some echo quilting?

The quilting above is stitched with Presencia 40 wt. thread, color #207, available at www.HandQuiltingSupplies.com .