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Blackbird Digital Quilting Design





In our Longarm League private community, we have a forum where we can ask each other for pantograph suggestions for clients' quilts. Over and over again, I find myself recommending really simple designs like straight lines, Good Vibrations, RumbleWishbone, Soho, etc.

I wanted to make a REALLY simple design that also looked... organic. Blackbird is what resulted.

I simultaneously really like this one and am—what's the word, embarrassed?—by its simplicity.

Hey, they don't all have to be head-scratchers. You know, those designs that you have to stare at to find the repeat or are mesmerized by the complexity of the design. This one is pretty darn straightforward.

I'll give you four great reasons why we shouldn't shy away from offering simple designs to our clients:

1. FAST - I loaded up this up baby quilt and stitched it all out in an hour's time.
2. EFFICIENT - My machine uses the smaller L bobbins and this took less than one bobbin.
3. PROFITABLE - The faster and more efficient we can be at the machine, the more profitable we'll be when using a square inch multiplier.
4. UNIFYING - When a quilt has a lot of different fabrics, colors, shapes, or complex patchwork, a simple quilting design can really tie everything together in a beautiful way.

I named the design Blackbird because it looked like a child's most rudimentary drawing of a bird in the sky. :) Aaaaaand, I'm really hoping that Instagram Reels will let me use Blackbird by The Beatles when I post, because that's a great song. 🤞

Here's how I set up my Intelliquilter using a baby-sized quilt sample in the photos (40" x 50" quilt size):

Row height: 1"
Gap: 0.438"*
Pattern height: 0.562"
Offset: 50%
Backtracking: none

*Gap refers to the space I'm allowing between rows. This is a measurement that's quantified in the setup screen for IQ, so I like to include it for other Intelliquilter users.

As I noted in the included PDF (viewed below), I had to play around with the row height and spacing a bit in order to retain the repeats I desired without scaling the size down too much and also achieving the spacing between the rows that I wanted. In my sample, the rows range from .75" - 1.5" apart from each other, depending on where the measurement is taken. At the scale that's shown in these pictures, the semi-circle portions of the line are approximately 1.5" wide.

Here's a look at the included PDF:

I think this design would be great for sky- and sea-themed quilts, and certainly children's quilts. The texture is definitely great for modern quilts. 

By the way, the fabrics in this sample were rescued from a failed attempt at digitizing the design Bookmarks months ago. If you'd like to see the behind-the-scenes process of healing a whole lot of needle-pocked fabric, click here to watch our Instagram Reel. There might be a tip/tool that you could use!

If you use Blackbird on a quilt, we'd love for you to use the hashtag #blackbirdpanto and tag @longarmleague on Instagram so we can see what you're up to! 

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