Another free motion skill you will want to master is echo quilting. It has so many uses! Echo quilting is uniformly distanced quilting lines that outline or echo a shape. This simple technique can have really big impact on your quilts.

If you want to showcase a patch or applique or a quilting motif, echoing is a great way to accomplish that.

A classic example of echo quilting is seen on Hawaiian quilts. The quilting echos a central applique and is repeated until the entire space (or quilt) is filled.

Image of a Hawaiian quilt Hiart, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiart, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the above example, the quilter utilized echo quilting inside the applique as well. Notice how the echo quilting emphasizes the shape of the applique without distracting from it.

Hawaiian quilting is an extreme example. Sometimes you’ll just use a single echo line to

frame a particular element.

Like this mug rug.


Look at the difference when the shape is not echoed.

The echoing really accentuates the shape.

When you take the time to quilt a challenging or intricate design you want it to be noticed. Like feathers. Feathers always look better with an echo.


Create a frame around a particular element

Echoing on both sides of the string of pearls makes it stand out.


A double echo around the central octagon is very effective.


If two is good, three must be better! (PSA: this thinking does not apply to adult beverages or medications.)

Fill spaces

Concentric echos fill the center of this ring.


Try off-setting the echos for a completely different look.


It works for filling the space outside of the ring as well.


Multiple echos with varying spacing

can be quite interesting

These echos create faux borders which can be filled with any design of your choice.


The gentle wave that is on both sides of the small circles has an echo on the top and bottom with a deeper wave echo. Then at the top, a wide-spaced echo that is symmetrical with the wave below it sets the design apart. Below, a less-formal set of echos fills the space between the wave design and the larger circles.

By taking a simple shape and echoing it, I created a new cool design!

How to do it?

A great no-mark way to stitch a simple echo is to use the edge of your hopping foot as a guide for spacing. On our Handi Quilter machines the needle is 1/4 inch away from the edge of the foot. So, if you glide the edge of the foot along the edge of the thing you are echoing, you’ll get a nice 1/4th inch echo.

If you want different spacing you could give the Handi Echo Feet a try. They come in a set of three, for three different sizes of echos. The feet provide a fixed interval to use when echo quilting around a motif or using rulers. Sizes are a 3/8-inch interval, a 1/2-inch interval, and a 3/4-inch interval. These are compatible with all HQ machines with Interchangeable Foot Mount. If your machine is newer than November 2014 you have the correct foot mount. If not, there is a Conversion kit available to update your machine to be able to use all the cool feet available.

Remember you can always do less-formal free flowing echos too!

Join next week when I’ll show you some useful designs that incorporate echoing.


by Mary Beth Krapil