This blogpost has been a longtime coming and I am so happy I finally sat down to write it! Grab a cup of something yummy and settle in!
One of my favorite parts of the entire design process of making a quilt comes near the end - picking the pantograph I want used to actually quilt my quilt!
When I started quilting, it was purely a hobby, just for fun and I had to keep my expenses extremely small. But, as time went on and this hobby turned into a business, I slowly branched out to find ways to offset my workload. One of the absolute best decisions I made was to regularly invest in longarm quilting.
Honestly, the actual quilting of my quilts has ALWAYS been my least favorite part of the process. But, once I wrapped my head around the higher cost per project and sent my first quilt ever to be longarmed in 2017, I never looked back. And really at this point, longarm quilting is cheaper for my business than me spending the time to actually quilt. Time = money. My efforts are way better used in other aspects of my business.
And, the other amazing benefit is getting to collaborate with other creatives! I love connecting with longarm quilters and forming relationships and together putting the 'icing on the cake' of each of my projects. It really is one of the biggest joys for me when finishing up a quilt.
I have looked through the last 4+ years of my work and realized that I do use some pantographs repeatedly because I love them so much! I have narrowed down my favorite pantographs to use and am providing a list below.
For each pantograph, I will include the link to the pantograph so you can easily send it to your longarmer if you choose to use one (when I can). I will also include WHY I love the pantograph and photos and links to past projects using that pantograph.
Please keep in mind, these are all COMPUTERIZED pantographs. And the scale of the design may change from project to project. If you prefer a denser quilting - say a 4" repeat of the design instead of an 8" repeat, talk to your longarmer and see if they can do that for you. Also, be mindful that denser quilting very easily can be more expensive quilting because it takes more time and materials to make it happen.
My general rule of thumb when it comes to scale of designs is that I don't want the scale to be exactly the size of my largest design element. So say for Meadowland, the largest square is 4" finished in the block. So, I would want my repeat to be less than 4" slightly OR larger than 4" slightly. I find this helps combat the quilting pantograph fighting with the scale of the quilt top design.
Okay, let's do this!! These are in no particular order or preference but just a list of my favorite computerized pantographs!
I believe all of these quilts were quilted by the following two people:
The Bubbles pantograph (sometimes called Pebbles) is one of the first ones I ever used and fell in love with it. It is a pantograph with an all over design of different sizes circles that create little puffs in the quilt and look like - you guessed it - bubbles. I have used it 3 times over the years and when I collected the photos, I realized I love using it on a quilt design that has very straight lines. It softens the harshness and kinda is a fun way to play with opposites.
The Boardwalk Pantograph is a super fun all over edge to edge design. It is linear with slight angling and curves. It creates such an amazing texture without drawing your eye to one particular spot which I love. It lets the eye dance over the quilting. I have used this design two times that I can find but I swear I've used it more and maybe just never photographed those quilts.
Boardwalk - Neutral Meadowland - I somehow don't have a blogpost about this quilt? HOW? This is a personal favorite at our house but here are some photos below!
The two detailed quilting shots were quilted and photographed by Jess Zeigler.
The Clamshell Pantograph is a classic one and now has so many different variations on it. There is an endless supply of new designs based off of this classic one. I have only used this one once but that needs to change soon! I love the small repetitive nature of the design that has soft curves so I love pairing it with a sharper quilt design or one that is inconsistent in this aesthetic like this Jawbreaker.
The Starlight Pantograph is probably in my top 5 favorites of all of them. I love the movement it provides and the texture without it feeling too harsh. I have used it in different density amounts - smaller and larger. I don't think this pantograph can look bad on any quilt.
Starlight - Balboa Meadowland - again I am finding that I didn't write a blogpost for this Meadowland either. Granted, I have made over 10 Meadowland quilts so I guess that is why I am behind on blogging them. ha!
The Time Warp pantograph is sort of a mix of a flame and an onion peel. It creates an all over vertical design without it feeling like you are only looking up and down. The design curves and moves in such a beautiful way. It again has tighter repetitive "lines" that creates gorgeous texture.
Time Warp - Alison Glass Checkered Garden - I made this quilt for fun in 2019 using a great tutorial linked above.
The Scandi Snowflake is such a fun winter and holiday pantograph to use! I love this pantograph because it gives off a cheerful joyful vibe without screaming I AM A CHRISTMAS PANTOGRAPH! The texture again, is sublime. I think texture is obviously a very important aspect to a finished quilt to me.
The Scandi Snowflake - Christmas Meadowland - AGAIN, a Meadowland with no blogpost. Woops! I made this back in 2018 on a girls trip to Arizona and then had it quilted with two layers of batting to make it extra warm and cozy.
The Baptist Fan is another tried and true classic pantograph. Traditionally this pantograph is set so the fan is at an angle. I personally don't like that because my eye wants to read the quilt left to right instead of up and down or all over. I had this pantograph set at an angle so the points of the fan would lay on the vertical plane, not at a 45 degree angle. And I LOVE how dense this one can be too.
The Interlocked Orange Peel is a fun update on the Classic Orange Peel. It has a fun curved design that can look almost like small flowers or asterisks. I love that it gives texture and movement without it feeling stark or cold.
The Modern Curves pantograph is such a fun play on the idea of straight line quilting. It adds just a little bit of movement, it reminds me of currents or water moving. It is gentle and lovely. I have used it plenty of times and will continue to. I love it!
The Cloud Pantograph is such a sweet pantograph. The one time I have used it, we did a 1" scale so it was tiny and created amazing texture. It is kinda a rift on a clamshell design but with flair. I think this design would look so fun with a less curved design or maybe a quilt with a lot of negative space. This pantograph came loaded on Kaitlyn's Statler machine and I am not sure if it is easy for others to find.
The Swivel Circle 2 pantograph is one of my favorites! It creates amazing texture and fluid movement. The pantograph looks more horizontal in the design than it does once it is quilted onto a quilt. I love pairing this pantograph with a quilt design more linear OR if the design is a little inconsistent or block based. I think it helps calm the intensity of a quilt or helps create harmony between quilt top design and quilting pantograph.
The Thumbprint Pantograph is some swirly goodness. It is like straight line quilting but in only circular motions. It really does look like thumbprints and what am I going to say? IT CREATES BEAUTIFUL MOVEMENT. I think this pantograph is really fun and I love using it with bright happy fabric colors.
The Straight Line Pantograph is timeless, classic and you can't go wrong. When I first started quilting, it was the only quilting I could understand and attempt on my domestic machine. But, no matter how hard I tried, I never got the lines perfectly straight throughout the entire quilt. Well, a computerized machine can absolutely do that! My favorite straight line distance between lines is 1/2 inch. Perfect lines, perfect texture. It doesn't distract from the quilt top.
The Honeycomb Pantograph is another pantrograph that came preloaded on Kailtyn's Statler machine. But there are plenty of honeycomb pantographs out there similar. It reminds me kind of chicken wire and I love the small repetitive nature of this one. I believe we did a 1" repeat for ultimate texture!
The Mike's Swoosh Pantograph reminds me of ice cream swirls from soft serve. It creates these little points of interest and then they flow away from it in a really cool way. I like using this pantograph to either play up an already kinda chaotic quilt top or to add interest to a simple quilt top.
There are thousands of amazing pantographs out there and I only included 15 of probably 30-50 I have used over the years. I hope this is a great starting point for you to find inspiration in your pantograph decisions! Any other ones you see that I didn't include? Leave a comment below to share your favorites!