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Mako and Thresher Digital Quilting Designs




I promise I'm not six years old and obsessed with sharks... even though both of these designs happen to named after sharks. I don't see it becoming a trend.

I came up with this design about a year ago. I originally named it Shark Smile because

    1. the repeat looks like a shark's tooth
    2. there's a song called "Shark Smile" from a band I love called Big Thief. Click here to listen to the song.

For fear that this blog post could start to remind you of those recipes you find online with an ENTIRE personal story attached {when you just want the recipe}, I do have a brief anecdote.

We saw Big Thief perform "Shark Smile" in Des Moines several years ago. The venue was so small and intimate. At one point of the song, the lyrics are " we went howling through the edge of south Des Moines". After the song ended, the lead singer talked about being nervous to sing that line in front of us—I don't know if she realized it beforehand. It was the perfect thing to say. We all chuckled, totally endeared to her. It was one of my favorite shows ever at the Vaudeville Mews.

Sadly, the venue didn't survive the pandemic.

The point is that I really wanted to call this design Shark Smile after the song but I couldn't get it to fit.

Anywho, is this still a blog post about quilting? We've established it's not really about sharks and it's not really about music, so it MUST be quilting related.

As I'm sometimes known to do, I couldn't leave well enough alone when designing and I wondered what would happen if instead of the design protruding past the bottom of the initial shape, what if the length of the design was contained within the shape?

I liked that option as well, and so instead of Shark Smile 1 and 2, I decided to come up with different shark names to identify each. Everyone will know that a Mako shark has the pointier tooth in nature, right? And Thresher is the shorter, blunted version?

I'm so glad I could clear that up! 

But like my Laverne and Shirley designs, I thought they were too similar to be totally separate, so I thought I'd give you a two-for-one.  Or a two-fer... toofer. 🦷 Oh my gosh, I'll stop. 

Here are my specifics using a baby-sized sample in the photos (45" x 50" quilt size):

Row height: 2"
Gap: -0.667"*
Pattern height: 2.667"
Offset: none
Backtracking: none

*Gap refers to the space I'm allowing between rows. I use an Intelliquilter for my computerized quilting, and because that measurement is quantifiable, I provide it here.

If you use another kind of system, you'll want to refer to the pattern height and then adjust the spacing between rows accordingly. I found it helpful not to have the rows touch. It'll provide you some wiggle room so that you don't have get the spacing exact.

We've begun adding a PDF to our zipped file so that you can print out design images and add your own sizing info or user notes. Here's a look at what the PDF for Mako looks like:


I found this design to provide a lot of interesting texture. I think that looking at the overall effect sort of resembled a braided rug. Josh thought it looked like a row of pup tents set up at a campground. 

I scaled this design to be fairly small, but found it really easy to stitch out and align. I chose to start each row at the left, but I'd guess it'd also work well to alternate the stitching rows so that you could stitch your way back from right-to-left (as long as your machine likes that direction).

I also think that you could scale this design to be larger than the specifications given and it'll still be effective as background texture.

I was pleasantly surprised when comparing the two designs how much "heavy lifting" the negative space within Mako did in contributing to the overall texture.

Feel free to watch the video at the top of the blog post to see the stitch out. The second design called Thresher is the one shown on the video, but it's very similar to Mako's stitch path.


As stated above, Thresher is the squat, more compact version of Mako. There's room to scale it up or down, depending upon your need.

The specifications for this sample (45" x 45") are as follows:

Row height: 2.0"
Gap: -1.03"
Pattern height: 3.03"
Offset: none
Backtracking: none

This design also stitches out cleanly. I don't even have any warnings for you this time around! Straightforward and simple. 

Here's a preview of the PDF that comes with this design:

I could see using this design to accentuate directionality in a quilt top. These shapes could look like an arrow pointing downward.

I like to use designs like this one when you don't want to add a lot of complexity to a quilt top. Neither design is too busy to distract from what's going on in the top. It'll provide some nice supporting texture.

Mako or Thresher could also be nice on quilts that have a "stack" or a column element that you want to accentuate.

Just like with the Mako design, I would not set up the spacing to have one row touching the next row. It'll be easier to keep everything nicely aligned if you keep some space between.

If you use either design, use the hashtags #makopanot or #thresherpanto and tag us @longarmleague. We'd love to see what you create!


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