Behold Digital Pantograph Quilting Design


I was so mesmerized by how this design was stitching out that I didn't realize I'd forgotten to record a snippet of the stitch path until I was on the last row! Oops! The video of the final row stitch-out is available at the top of this post.

What I really like to show in the videos is how any backtracking happens. As a designer, I try not to use backtracking too much, but it's also unavoidable at times. So, yes, there is some backtracking in this design, but it's not too intense. If it helps me accomplish a pretty result? Sign me up! I'm okay with that.

The upside-down clamshells are staggered a bit—one higher than the other on the repeat—so that you can set it up on your computer without offsetting. Once the rows are placed, you'll want to nest the rows closely, but they shouldn't touch. The space between the rows will give a little bit of margin and help hide any inconsistencies during realignment. It needs to be close, but placement does not have to perfectly meet the prior row. The asymmetry of the design helps to further disguise any imperfections.

Since we're talking technical details, let's dish!

This sample quilt size is approximately 45" x 50". I started with a 9" row and that was way too big! I unpicked that partial row and started again. I loved the size that I ended with shown in the pictures here. I used a 5.0" row with a gap between rows of -1.757" which created a pattern height of 6.757". I'm using Intellquilter terms, but hopefully, if you use a different system, these measurements will help you get in the right neighborhood scale-wise. 

 Can I tell you how this design came about? It's a fun story.

As the "Commish" of the Longarm League, I wear (almost) all the hats, and even though I LOVE to design pantographs and digitize them, I effectively only get to work on it for a  day or maybe two of a month, usually just ahead of the League's monthly FREE Pantograph Day, which is the first Wednesday of each new month (membership details here). 

I give you that background because Brittany of Lo and Behold Stitchery sent me a DM in Instagram with a picture of a coloring page she saw on Pinterest and commented about how cool it would be as a pantograph. She sent it at the perfect time because I was in my tiny little digitizing window and I immediately was inspired because I loved the look of the design, too.

Of course, it's never as easy as copying lines. With digitizing, it's as much thinking about how the design will stitch out efficiently and also modifying the stitch path and/or the design itself until I'm happy with the result. As I said before, I try to minimize backstitching because it can look sloppy if the stitching doesn't accurately line up.

I also wanted to eliminate the need for offsetting. Again, it's not always possible, but from being in the League, I realized that offsetting designs isn't always as easy as pressing one button and having every other row pop into place magically. Some folks have to finagle and finesse to get an offset design to look as intended. 

All told, it was about a day between when Brittany sent me that message to when I was sending her a few of these photos! It was so exciting! I happen to think it would look AMAZING on her new Deco quilt pattern that happens to be releasing tomorrow as I write this. She already had her samples made and quilted, so perhaps in the future, someone will match the quilt pattern with this pantograph! 

For now, this will be a design exclusive to Longarm League members and then we'll list it for sale in our shop in 2022. We'll also gift it to any new member who joins at any level for the rest of 2021. 

I think this design would be great when you want to introduce a little movement to a quilt top. It could add a touch of elegance; it could be used in a modern—or mod, there's a difference—setting, too. I'm excited to see future applications of this design.

If you do use the design, I'd love for you to use the hashtag #beholdpanto and tag @longarmleague so we can see what you're up to!  

I can't wait to collaborate with Brittany again soon, spontaneous or otherwise. :)


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