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Echo quilting with a walking foot adds visual appeal

Welcome back to the fifth and final post on using a walking foot, SCHMETZ needles and Gütermann thread to create a whole cloth quilt.

Yesterday I talked about quilting in the ditch, practiced straight line stitching skills and examined how marking a few simple grid lines can help create complex-looking border designs with ease.

Today I’ll let the walking foot work its magic as we explore how effective straight line echo quilting can be.


Walking foot echo quilting adds the final finish
Walking foot echo quilting adds the final finish


Simple walking foot quilting can be oh so special!

In quilt design, it’s important to have areas of interest to give a sense of movement to the quilt as well as areas of calm to give the eye a place to rest. This is especially true for wholecloth quilts.

So far I created areas of interest in the center and second border.

The first and third 1″ wide borders have been outline stitched as if in the ditch and will be left with no further stitching to provide areas of calm.

Let’s add some interest to the 3″ wide border. We’ll start by doing something we know.

Start on one side and use UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen to draw a line 1″ in from the stitched line that is closest to the center of the quilt.

Draw all the way across from side to side. Repeat for the other three sides.

Now draw four lines 1″ in from the outside stitched line of the 3″ border. Draw all the way from side to side as above. The lines will cross over one another at the corners.

We’ve divided our 3″ border into three sections while allowing for distortion from the quilting process.

Though our border measured exactly 3″ when first drawn it is likely to be a little narrower now.
Our quilt top will shrink a little in size when it’s stitched to the batting. The thicker the batting and the heavier the quilting the more the quilt will puff up and shrink in.


Simple one inch guide lines have been drawn
Simple one inch guide lines have been drawn


Stitch this set of lines exactly how you drew them.
Start and stop the stitching lines at the outside edge of the previously stitched line.
This means anchoring the stitches at each end but there’s only eight lines and it’ll go fast.

The resulting design is quite nice and I know I’ll use it on a future quilt.
For this quilt, I think we need a little more visual weight to our design so it’s time to add some echo quilting.


One inch lines stitched inside a three inch border
One inch lines stitched inside a three inch border


Echo quilting with the walking foot

A walking foot can help create fabulous detailed looking designs with very little effort.
We’ll let it do all the work for the next portion of today’s quilting.

One definition of echo is a close parallel representation of a sound or object.

In free motion quilting, we often echo an applique or quilting design with radiating lines that are an equal distance apart. This forms an effective fill pattern that is similar to ripples on a pond.
A single echo makes a design stand out more.

Echo quilting with the walking will create a similar design consisting of straight lines or long sweeping curves. It’s fast and easy to stitch as the machine is controlling the stitch length and direction of the fabric.

For this project, we’ll echo the lines just stitched.

Our border is currently divided into three sections. We’ll leave the center one unstitched and echo quilt in the inside and outside sections.

Starting with the section closest to the outside of the quilt line up your walking foot so that the left side is touching the outermost line just stitched.

The base of my foot is 1″ wide, the same as the distance between my lines. This means that if my needle is in the center position the line I stitch will be ½” away.

This is great to know for future projects. If I want an echo that is wider or narrower I can move my needle position or choose a different spot of my walking foot to line up to.

For today we won’t worry about the measured distance.
It doesn’t matter if your walking foot is wider or narrower, our echo quilting lines will look great with any spacing.


The edge of the walking foot is used to position your echo line
The edge of the walking foot is used to position your echo line


Stitch the outside echo lines on all four sides of the border.

Reverse the direction of the quilt and line the left side of the walking foot up to the inside lines that were stitched earlier today. Once again, stitch the echo lines on all four sides.

How pretty and detailed simple echo quilting can be.

My SCHMETZ quilting needles create beautiful smooth stitching to help myGütermann spun silk thread look its very best!


Echo quilting with the walking foot is easy but beautiful
Echo quilting with the walking foot is easy but beautiful


We’ve created a fun plaid design at the corners and it looks amazing!


Overlapping lines create an interesting corner design
Overlapping lines create an interesting corner design


Time to finish

All of our quilting is complete and it’s time to finish.

Remove the reference lines from the quilt following the manufacturer’s directions. I simply sprayed my quilt with cool water using a spray bottle that I use for ironing.

We need to straighten the edges of the quilt to remove the extra fabric and batting.

Our quilting design is square so we’ll simply used it as our guide.

Measure 2½” away from the outermost stitched line and use a rotary cutter and ruler to trim the edges. You can mark your trim line first if you prefer.

Bind the edges using your favorite method. You’ll need four 2½” strips of binding fabric for this.

There are many excellent binding tutorials on QUILTsocial. Binding a quilt will guide you step by step through the method I used on this quilt.

Your completed quilt will measure approximately 35″ square.

This is the perfect size to cuddle a little one, snuggle someone in a wheelchair, cover a tabletop or even stay warm and cozy under while reading QUILTsocial!


Our finished wholecloth quilt made with ColorWorks fabric stitched with a walking foot SCHMETZ needles and Gütermann spun silk thread      SCHMETZ / Gütermann / Northcott / Fairfield / UNIQUE
Our finished wholecloth quilt made with ColorWorks fabric stitched with a walking foot SCHMETZ needles and Gütermann spun silk thread
SCHMETZ / Gütermann / Northcott / Fairfield / UNIQUE


I’ve loved creating this project from start to finish and I hope that you’ve enjoyed it too!

Our SCHMETZ needles have helped us to create smooth, even, top-quality stitching that shows off the natural beauty of our Gütermann spun silk thread.

The ColorWorks fabric from Northcott was the perfect fabric on which to build our quilt.

I think I’ll have to make a lavender one next, or maybe coral or turquoise.
What color will you make?


This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Making beautiful borders with your walking foot

Julie Plotniko is a quilting teacher, blogger and designer from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Teaching for almost 40 years, recent credits include Quilt Canada 2016 and 2017, many quilt guilds and groups throughout Canada and CreativFestival Sewing and Craft Shows in Victoria, Abbotsford and Toronto. When not on the road Julie works and teaches at Snip & Stitch Sewing Center in Nanaimo, BC. Her favorite things include free motion quilting (standard bed and mid-arm machines), precision piecing, scrap quilting, machine embroidery, blogging, designing and of course teaching. Julie believes that to see a student go from tentative beginnings to having confidence in themselves and their abilities is one of the greatest rewards that life has to offer.

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