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Always Digital Quilting E2E Design




Always is a new digital pantograph design that is a breeze to stitch out. The curvy contours of this shape work so well in providing a pleasant contrast with the straight lines and angles of most patchwork.

There's a retro feel to this design, too, but will fit the "mood" of many contemporary or modern quilts.

The Name

You might know from reading my previous blog posts that I often use a working title for designs before they get released and need a "real" name. Well, the working title for this one was Lightdays because of the shape resembling a pad. And well, growing up I could count on that particular brand being tucked away in the bathroom cupboards, so that's what my mind went to. My sister thought this was hysterical when I texted her the design with the name, and that's all that really matters. 😂

But obviously I couldn't actually use Lightdays as a name. I didn't want it to be THAT obvious or cause anyone to avoid using the pantograph because of the name. I asked my friend Shelly for help, and she immediately had the idea to name it Always. It's PERFECT! I can plausibly deny any sanitary napkin affiliation because it also resembles an infinity symbol! A normalcy cloak! 

The Quilt

I recently went to a quilting retreat at The Retreat Center in Altoona, Wisconsin. This formerly belonged to Stitch Supply Co. but is now under new ownership. By the time I arrived at the retreat, I had already planned the first two projects I wanted to work on. After I checked those items off the list in the first few days, I debated what project to next tackle.

There was a star pattern I was considering, but it had something like 500 half square triangles per block (slight exaggeration). I also wanted to make another log cabin quilt (it's been so long), but I didn't have a plan beyond that. As you know, there's SO much variation possible with log cabin quilts. I needed a project that I didn't have to think too hard about, which is difficult in a retreat environment where you're having fun, and frequently distracted (food, laughter, late nights).

That same day, Emily Dennis came out with her Star Pop II pattern. I absolutely love star quilts, and because I brought a LOT of scraps with me and knew Emily's instructions would be clear—saving me precious brain power—it made Star Pop the easy choice for the next and final retreat project.

Another friend at retreat was making the same pattern, too. I believe she was using a precut bundle from the same fabric line as the background and one light fabric for all the stars. She was able to finish her large throw (same size as I made) in a fraction of the time because of the streamlined fabric prep and cutting.

I didn't have my fabrics prepped, so it took some time to press and cut enough background and star prints for all 80 blocks. But once that happened, the construction was so easy, fast, and fun! 

I posted a caption on Instagram about the construction process and how my own quilt-making has changed since becoming a longarm quilter. Maybe you can relate?

I had the perfect amount of time to finish this quilt top with the remaining time at the retreat. I got to come home with three tops, which has got to be a personal record. :) Here's a Reel showing all three tops.


The Backing

When I returned home, I visited my friend Kristen's new quilt shop called Mashe Modern in Dallas Center, Iowa, and bought this minky backing to use on the back of the quilt. It's 90" wide Cuddle in the color Saltwater, which coordinates beautifully with my scrappy teal stars.

I especially love how a solid minky fabric shows off the quilting stitches so well! 


Using the Always Design

Let's talk about the specifics of the pantograph set-up. I tried, and unpicked, and re-designed this shape three different times before I was happy with the results. I really didn't like this at a larger scale, which was interesting. I think it'd look good smaller, but I'd caution against scaling too big because of the proportional width of the design.

Here are the specifications for how I set up this design using my Intelliquilter (60" x 75" quilt size):

Row height: 2"
Gap: 0.246" (positive gap amount)
Pattern height: 1.754" (measurement from top to bottom of the repeat)
Offset: 50%
Backtracking: none

Here's a look at the included PDF:

Take a look at the video at the top of the blog post to watch the stitch path. It should be smooth sailing for you. With a positive gap factored in between the rows, you shouldn't have to worry about alignment issues.

If you use Always on a quilt, we'd love for you to use the hashtag #alwayspanto and tag @longarmleague on Instagram so we can see how you use it! You can also visit our full digital design shop to take a look at all our previous designs.

Interested in getting new digital pantograph releases the day they come out? Sign up for our Digital Panto Club and get them delivered straight to your inbox on the first Wednesday of each new month.


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