Why I Love Echoing

You might now know it right now, but echoing is your friend…..it’s your best friend. At least it’s mine! Echoing, which is quilting around a previously quilted line or an element of a quilt, is a versatile tool to have in your quilting repertoire.

Echoing can help highlight quilting designs or hide quilting mistakes. It can help you move around the quilt or make larger space more manageable. Need I say more?

Echoing in Applique Quilts

Another way that I use echo quilting is in appliqué quilts. Echoing around the appliqué can really help set it apart from the filler quilting, which helps the beautiful pattern shine. A quilt that I recently quilted for an exhibit at the International Quilt Festival is a perfect example of that.

Butterflies and Birds quilt by Frances Benton.

hand applique quilt top

This amount of hand appliqué on this quilt is hard to comprehend with just a picture. This quilt is king-sized and is completely done by hand. Only the borders are machine pieced. When I took it out of the box, I was stunned. I can’t even imagine how much time it took to make, the amount of detail is just amazing.

So, no pressure right? I am brave enough to admit that I was more than a little nervous to work on this quilt. I wanted the quilting to really enhance the fact that this quilt was special. Hopefully, I accomplished that goal!

Each of these little bitty circles were about 1/2″ and were fussy cut from the fabric, and hand appliquéd to the quilt….it boggled my mind.

machine quilting around appliqué

When picking out the quilting designs, I turned to my best quilting friend, echoing. After echoing around the pattern a couple of times, I quilted a filler with swirls and leaves.

Quilting Inside and Outside  the Appliqué

What about quilting inside the appliqué? That is a question I am asked often and it is completely a personal preference.  I, personally,  prefer to use more simple quilting design within the hand appliqué pieces. For instance, a simple vein inside the leaves. It helps fill in the larger pieces without distracting from the quilt top.

Just because I keep the quilting understated within the appliqué,  doesn’t mean that I have to keep the quilting  basic everywhere else.

machine quilting  around hand appliqué

When I have room outside of the appliqué, I really like to add some fun details that can really add an element of interest to the quilt. In the corners of one of the borders, I quilted feathers around the outside of the bigger pieces of appliqué as well as several different fillers, such as pebbles and back and forth lines.

Below, is another example of fitting in a feather motif design around appliqué.

machine quilting motifs applique quilts

Focusing on the Center

Besides being hand appliquéd, it has a medallion  layout. With the most intricate appliqué in the center, I knew that the eye would be drawn to in first.  Which is why I used some more complex designs in that area.

center of medallion quilt

Look at all that space…….you just know that I had to have a little fun with it!

center motif in medallion quilt

 How Many Designs are Too Many?

So I suppose the question of the day might be, “Can you use too many machine quilting designs on a quilt?” I am sure you probably could, I have just never seen it done. I personally feel that as long as the quilting doesn’t take away from the quilt pattern, you can quilt as many different designs as you like. Echoing the appliqué also helps separate it from all the quilting designs as well.

So the next time you are looking at quilt top and aren’t sure what to do, sometimes just echoing around the parts of the quilt will help get you started!

Machine Quilting Gallery

Like the feather motifs and designs shown? Then check out the machine quilting gallery on my website. The gallery is loaded with lots of inspiring photos of different machine quilting designs. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Machine Quilting Gallery

Machine Quilting Gallery

Happy Quilting!