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Thread Garden Digital Pantograph



I'm going to be honest and let you know that this is likely the only whole garden you'll ever see me cultivate. The two "plants" I have in my house are plastic. I tell myself it's because of the naughty cats.

I know, I know! So many quilters also love to garden, so I feel like these are fighting words. But, I gotta be me!

I was captivated by the idea of making fanciful floral shapes that looked "illustrated"—if you will—with no particular directionality.

I think this design would look great on quilt tops for kids, or for modern tops, or even quilt tops with a Scandinavian theme, if you'll allow me to get super-specific about it and my influences.

I'll also state the obvious and say this digital pantograph design could also be great with floral-themed quilts! Or with quilts using a lot of solid fabrics or negative space. You know... to add some extra interest and texture.

As a digital pantograph designer, I like to disguise "hard...

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How do I find clients for my longarm quilting services?

The first question I'm going to ask is: Are you making it easy for quilters to hire you for longarm quilting services? What might be holding them back? How can we overcome objections to hiring you?

I recently asked my Instagram audience from my @threadedquilting account: If you're a quilter who has never hired a longarm quilter, why not?

I left the question open-ended and collected responses for the 24 hours the Instagram Story was live. I got some interesting responses!

The top reason given was that the quilter wanted to do it all themselves from start to finish. I was actually surprised that this reason ended up being the top response! But I also understand this thinking. Personally, I fall within the same category. I've never hired a longarm quilter because I have always really liked the quilting process myself and wouldn't want to "outsource" my favorite part!

The remaining reasons for not hiring a longarm quilter were varied but fell into another nine categories.


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Orange Dream Digital Quilting Design




I love a classic Orange Peel moment! This design is a simple variation on a classic that adds a touch of sass... as long as sassy and elegance can coexist.

Let's face it, one of the reasons why Orange Peel quilting works so well is because it's simple and extremely versatile.

You could easily use this design on modern tops or traditional tops and it'll look great on both. In fact, I think the classic design is made a touch more modern by having the echoed "peel" within each shape. And when used on a traditional quilt top, I think that's when it could read a bit fancier.

I could also see this design lending itself well with floral-themed quilts.

Another major benefit of this design is that it's multi-directional. It's going to look the same whether you load your top sideways or not. If you are trying to save time and capitalize on efficiency, loading the long side of the quilt to the leaders will mean advancing and re-aligning fewer...

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Feathered Spirals Digital Quilting Design



Instead of a soulless () solid sample quilt, I'm so happy to share the special quilt I made for my new niece, Kate! 

It had been such a long time since I'd done any sewing. I really love the entire quiltmaking process, so it was fun to get out the rotary cutter and domestic sewing machine again and work on something new.

And what better reason than a new baby in the family?

I "kept it simple" by deciding on a classic sawtooth star quilt. I picked fabrics from my stash and used the same fabric for my background throughout the quilt. I didn't need instructions because I've made this star so many times in the past. I did make myself a general "map" as I was cutting fabrics and making my stars. Feel free to use my decidedly unfancy pattern:

 If you need a little more to go on than this, google sawtooth star, you'll likely find hundreds of patterns/tutorials.

Can we talk about the quilting already?! Ha - as a longarm quilter, it's my...

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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...

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Paradoxical Digital Quilting Design




Want an easy solution to quilting that looks like you spent HOURS on back-breaking ruler work?

Paradoxical is the design for such a time as this!

This hexagonal-shaped series of straight lines would look amazing on a modern quilt top.

With this edge-to-edge design, you get the look of complexity with the ease of set-up and use.

As for set-up, you'll want to offset every other row at 50% and close the gap between rows until the amount of spacing between the rows looks the same as the distance between the lines with the motif at the scale you choose.

When I'm testing out a new design, I stitch it out to make sure everything is sequenced property and quilting smoothly. I usually only do one sample, but after the first attempt, I found ways to drastically improve the stitch path without changing the design. For the second time around, I decided to make the scale much smaller. In the next photo, you can see the original sample on the left and the...

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Featherweight Digital Quilting Design




I love feathers. 

I took my first quilting class in 2005. Not a piecing class, an honest-to-goodness beginner's machine quilting class that taught things like which materials to use, how to baste, and how to {start to} free-motion quilt.

In that class, we saw examples of real-life quilts that had been quilted. Our instructor passed around even more books of incredibly inspiring quilting. I fell for hard for feathers right then and there!

This was also the class where I heard ladies talking about long arms and I just nodded along, not having any idea about what that could be referring to.

Basically, I've loved feathers ever since, in all kinds of iterations. I practiced drawing and quilting them until I got it down pat. I started out being truly the worst at it! It's not a natural thing—knowing how to create feathery shapes. Thank goodness for books and (much later) YouTube! 

As for this design, I wanted to make...

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Buying a Longarm Machine - Possible Sales Tax Exemption

Early on, when we were just starting to offer our Rookie Season course, we had a student mention that she did not have to pay sales tax on her longarm machine because she had a business with an EIN already established when she bought it.

Cue the record scratch! 

I don't remember ALL the details of buying my longarm machine (it had been nine years prior), but I definitely remember paying sales tax on it. I would have had a sales tax permit at the time, too, I just didn't realize I could've used it to get an exemption on paying sales tax in my state. I bought my machine used without a computer, so this would have "only" been a savings of ~$700, but STILL! That money could have been put to good use applied to other start-up costs. 

The more I started asking around within the Longarm League community, the more I realized that this is a legitimate thing and available to more of us than I realized! I even called a machine...

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Yacht Rock Digital Quilting Design




I have to be honest and say I wasn't very excited about this design until I stitched it out. The moment I did, I was smitten by the texture! In fact, this sample has remained "staged" around my home well after the pictures were taken and it continually catches my eye! 

When I was designing it, I had a draft of the shape saved as Keyed in the computer... because the one repeat looked like a type of a key? I'm never sure how these things take hold, I just knew it needed a new name. Naming is hard! I want a name that is unique so that it won't be confused with other pantographs on the market and it's always nice if there's an element of the design that ties to the name in some kind of way.

I asked Josh for naming suggestions and he thought that the design looked like a little sailboat which made him say "Yacht Rock". And obviously, that had my interest right away.

Yacht Rock is a hard-to-define genre of music, although the Wikipedia...

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Leafy Bloom Digital Quilting Design



For this new design, I wanted to explore a geometric and simplified version of a flower. In general, I'm not into flowers or gardening, so I really have no idea if it looks like anything existing in nature. Also, please don't hold that against me! It feels like I'm violating a sacred quilter's code or something. Quilting and gardening seem to go hand in hand.

What I do really like, however, are simple repeatable shapes. I like the way the texture can recede into the background and be present, even when it doesn't have to be the star of the show.

Another thing I try to watch for as a designer is that the quilting is evenly spaced, giving a nice uniform texture to an edge-to-edge design. It's the little things like this that make me happy! 

This sample quilt size is approximately 45" x 50". For reference in scaling this design, the pictures here show a row height of 3.5". If you include the gaps between the rows, the total...

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