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  • Quilting Jules

How Do You Choose a Pantograph?

There are so many pantographs out there. Thousands and thousands and thousands. It can be very, very overwhelming! How, then, do you choose a pantograph for your quilt? Fortunately, I have some great tips and tools to help you pick!

First, let's discuss what a pantograph is. A pantograph is an overall design that is stitched through the 3 layers of a quilt. The quilting is done over the entire quilt without regard to the piecing or applique design of the quilt top. This is different from custom or semi-custom quilting, where the quilting depends on the design of the quilt top, for example, different quilting designs in blocks versus sashing.

Here's an example of a pantograph, Marmalade, showing just one row.


Here's the same design but repeated over the whole quilt:

Marmalade pantograph

You can see the pattern repeats evenly across the quilt and down in rows. Usually we call this edge to edge quilting.

So, that's what a pantograph is, but how do you choose?

First, you might look to your quilt design for inspiration. Is it a modern quilt? More traditional? Some designs, like the Baptist Fan below, are a more traditional quilting design.

Baptist Fan pantograph

Some designs, like Thread Garden below, have a more modern feel.

Thread Garden | Threaded Quilting

Next, you could look to the design and shapes in your quilt for a clue. Quilts with lots of angles and sharp points look wonderful paired with a more curvy design, and vice versa. For example, this Perfect Place quilt has so much movement with the Time Warp pantograph:

Perfect Place Quilt | Time Warp pantograph | Quilting Jules

Sometimes a quilt design has a certain feel to it, and your pantograph can enhance that feeling. Teresa's sweet house quilt is fun and playful when quilted with Marmalade:

Marmalade pantograph | Quilting Jules

You can even look to your fabrics for inspiration! Here's a quilt with roses in the fabrics, so I quilted it with Macintosh Rose.

Swoon quilt | Macintosh Rose | Quilting Jules

Lastly, there are just some pantographs that ALWAYS look good, no matter the quilt, theme, or fabrics. Here's Soho, one of the most versatile pantographs ever made, on three different quilts:

Log Cabin | Soho pantograph | Quilting Jules

T-shirt quilt | Soho pantograph | Quilting Jules

Lonestar quilt | Soho pantograph | Quilting Jules

The Longarm League did a study on the top 20 modern pantographs our members used and compiled them all into a fantastic article. Take a look! Any of these patterns look amazing on a wide variety of quilts. You can't go wrong!

I hope you feel more confident about how to pick a pantograph. If you still have questions, ask your longarmer! We play with pantographs all day and are sure to have suggestions on what will take your quilt to the next level! It's our job!

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