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Laverne and Shirley Digital Pantograph Designs


Meet Laverne...


and Shirley!

One's straight-laced, one's a little more adventurous. They are similar feather designs with different spines. If not sister designs, AT LEAST coworker/roommate designs. 😊



Even though it's a challenge to say Shirley and Laverne in that order, Shirley is where I want to start because that is the order of design conception.

I liked the idea of the feathers nesting and interlocking within peaks and valleys of each row.

As with any design, I try to use backtracking or over-stitching as little as possible. When I would free-motion quilt, I made my feather bumps in the same fashion, but with the computer, I can "build my spine" incrementally as I progress from left to right.

Even though the designs look very similar, they are set up differently.

The Shirley design is made up of one feather motif that repeats and the Laverne design is made of a couplet that repeats: an upstream and downstream spine. See more pictures of the Laverne design toward the end of this post.

For the Shirley design, you'll want to offset every other row by 50% so that the rows nest together and then close the gap between rows until you reach an amount of spacing that looks good to you. My specifics are listed below. 

For the Shirley sample (approximately 45" x 50" in size):
Row height: 4"
Gap: -1.405"
Total pattern height (the sum of both values): 5.405"
Offset: 50%
Backtracking: some

I use an Intellquilter as my computer system, so your terms might differ.

Both Laverne and Shirley have some additional options available that you can use to vary the look.

• If a quilt is loaded on its side, these designs would look great running vertically as well as horizontally.
• If your computer system will allow you to flip or mirror every other row, you could get your feathers to go in opposite directions. You can still choose to quilt each row from left to right, I'm merely talking about the direction of the plumes in this case. 

I chose to use the Flip X function on my Intelliquilter to get the feathers to travel each way in both samples.

You can watch the video at the top of this post to see the stitch path of both designs: Laverne is the first design stitched out and and then Shirley appears halfway through the short clip. As I mentioned before, there is some backtracking with each design, but not a ridiculous amount.

All of the photos that follow show the Laverne design:

Again, you'll notice the back and forth direction of the feathers. The design will appropriately nest with the row above and below whether or not you decide to vary your feather direction.

Uh oh! Looks like two of the Zeiglers got cat-trapped in the sunlight. It's like they don't even care about a photoshoot happening around them!

I decided to quilt the Laverne design at a slightly larger scale than Shirley. I guess that's fitting.

Again, the size of my sample quilt was approximately 45" x 50":

Row height: 5"
Gap: 1.849"
Pattern height: 6.849" 
Offset: 25%
Backtracking: some

Remember, the upstream and downstream feather motifs are coupled together. That changes the % of offset needed to stagger every other row in order to get them to nest together. Very often we use a 50% offset, but in this case, we'll need a 25% offset amount.

If your computer/robotics software doesn't allow you to type in a % offset, you may choose to create a two-row couplet in your layout space with the second row manually staggered until it nests with the first row. Then you can quilt the two rows at a time, advance your quilt and realign that same two-row repeat throughout the quilt.

Again, you can choose whether or not to load your quilt on its side to determine if you want your feathers to travel horizontally or vertically across a quilt top. Both directions look perfectly natural.

I do love big, juicy feathers. I can't help it!

These are modern-enough designs that I think they would do well on a variety of quilt tops. I often associate feathers with traditional quilting styles, but I think that these bridge the gap between styles.

Flip the direction of the feathers or don't, the rows will nest the same either way. Here's an image of what it looks like with all feathers going in the same direction:

See? The difference is subtle.

 If you use either design, we'd love for you to use the hashtag #lavernepanto or #shirleypanto and tag @longarmleague so we can see what you're up to!   


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