Quilting the Quilt: Echo Quilting

November 12, 2013

echo quiltingHave you ever put a great deal of effort into choosing just the right quilting stencil or design for your block, carefully placing it and stitching it, only to lose sight of it when you look at the quilt? Or maybe you’ve spent tons of time quilting an elaborate feather motif in your border, and then discovered that it blended in with the fabric and disappeared! With just a little extra effort and another pass around your design with an “echo,” the lost will be found once again.

Hawaiian appliqué is the most common example of the power of echo quilting. It uses the curves of multiple echo lines that ripple across a quilt. The quilting around the large central design of a Hawaiian appliqué quilt (called a “kapa lau”) creates waves of stitching that roll and flow out toward the quilt’s edges. These waves are reminiscent of water breaking on the shore, or the contour lines on a map, and are called “luma-lau” in Hawaiian.