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Hexlow Extended-Width Digital Quilting Design




I started working on the Hexlow design a few years ago, but it wasn't until I made this quilt pattern called Jelly Stars by Modernly Morgan, that I knew I wanted to revisit the quilting design and get it ready for use.

If you are new to extended-width pantograph designs, I'd encourage you to visit this blog post that provides more information and help with set-up. They are different than traditional edge-to-edge designs and may require different configurations or settings with your software.

In the blog post I linked above, I explain one of the reasons why I love using extended-width designs as a format, and that's to maintain spacing throughout the design. This design just wouldn't have the same flow as a standard edge-to-edge repeat.

The Quilt

I was in Wisconsin for a quilting retreat and shopped at the Stitch Supply quilt shop located in Altoona. I picked out a jelly roll (precut 2.5" strips) from the shelf and added it to my shopping basket because of the fun colors and floral prints. I don't ordinarily like buying jelly roll pre-cuts, but from what I could see, it was the only way to take the fabrics home with me because I didn't see fat quarter bundles or yardage available. It's called Flower Power and the designer is Maureen McCormick. I didn't realize until I shared a picture of the finished top on Instagram, that it's the same Maureen McCormick that played Marcia Brady in the Brady Bunch! I had no idea that she designed a fabric line. What a multi-faceted artist!

By the time I got home from retreat, I received an email pattern release announcement from Modernly Morgan for a jelly roll-friendly pattern. I bought it immediately! 
The Jelly Stars pattern is very clever—I haven't encountered any other patterns quite like it. If you've been around this blog for any amount of time, you'll also know how much I love star quilts. I thought it'd be a fun combo!

The pattern called for roughly 10-15 additional 2.5" width-of-fabric strips than what came in the jelly roll, so I draped the jelly roll strips over a bar of my longarm frame and grouped them according to color to see what was included. Then, I added one 2.5" strip at a time from yardage I had on my shelves that coordinated with the Flower Power line.

I found it challenging to select a fabric for the stars that would contrast enough with such a wide range of colors! There were instances when the pink didn't have much contrast with the horizontal strips surrounding it—whether it was another shade of pink or a similarly-valued orange—but on the whole, it's scrappy, and it works!

If I were to make this pattern again, I'd probably skip using a jelly roll of one fabric line. I think this would look amazing with all low-volume strips and a very bright contrasting color for the stars.

I pieced my backing from yardage I was eager to use up. The prints above had been languishing on my shelves for such a long time! It felt good to use what I had.

The Quilting Particulars

I'm going to make an admission here. I'm usually pro-DENSE quilting. :) I stitched this design out at the default sizing and I really liked how non-dense the quilting ended up being.

Other pros:
1) I think the sizing looked appropriate for the 2" horizontal strip piecing. 
2) It was fast to stitch out. 
3) The quilt has a softness and drape that looks and feels good. I used Quilters Dream Bamboo batting.

As with many of the quilts I work on, completing the quilting step made me feel so much better about the choices I made when piecing. I had mixed feelings about the top at first, mostly because there was such a wide value and color range from white to dark green. I normally like to work within a tighter color palette. But the quilting helped tie all the elements together and made it look more unified and cohesive.

If you have a client who likes loose quilting, this design would be an excellent choice. I also thought it'd be a good one for t-shirt quilts.This pantograph would also be great for the very popular jelly roll race quilts and any other pattern that reads "horizontally dominant," a phrase I just made up, along with the name of the design "Hexlow". 🤷‍♀️

Here's the link (again) to more information about extended-width designsWithin the blog post, we have links to video tutorials showing how to set up extended-width designs for all major software brands. 

You'll find a left-to-right version (called Hexlow L to R) in the file formats bundled with your purchase. Use the L to R file if your machine won't travel right-to-left without thread breaks or poor tension.

There's a video of the stitch out at the top of the blog post.

The default width is 120" wide, which means you'll want to trim/clip the right and left edges of the design away, leaving only what's needed for the quilt you have mounted on your frame.

Here are the sizing specifications for how I set up this sample quilt size using my Intelliquilter (64" x 72" quilt size):

Row height: 7.9"
Gap: 0" 
Pattern height: 7.9" (measurement from top to bottom of the repeat)
Offset: none
Backtracking: none

Here's a look at the included PDF:

If you use Hexlow on a quilt, we'd love for you to use the hashtag #hexlowpanto 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 designs like this one on the day they're released (and at a deep discount)? 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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