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What is a Pantograph?

A pantograph is a 12' long paper quilting design used primarily for mid/long arm quilting. The longarm user follows the line on the paper with a laser light that is attached to the machine. Pantograph designs can be anywhere from 5" - 18" wide. Pantographs vary in style ranging from simple to very difficult. As the difficulty increases, so does the time needed to finish your quilt.

Building Confidence

All pantographs are easily learned once you've built up a bit of confidence. This post will show you what we feel are the easiest designs to build your confidence so you can soon tackle harder designs with ease. These designs were hand selected by our longarm rental coaches after training thousands of quilters how to become confident on longarm machine in the shortest time possible.

Starting with a simple design

Luckily, most quilts look terrific with a very simple design. We often joke that we would rather see a proficient stipple on a beautiful quilt than a terrible feather. That's not to say that beginner quilters can't rock feather pantographs. We have many renters that do just that but it's definitely not the majority. Most of our renters come in the first time a little nervous about the rental. By choosing a simple design, they quickly learn that longarm quilting does not have to be difficult or intimidating, most of them feeling completely proficient stitching on their very first pass. After tackling just a few quilts with these designs, our renters are confident to try their hand at more advanced designs.

When you get started with pantograph quilting (check out Bradie Sparrow's video), the trick is to choose a design that encourages you to swing and catch the machine in various directions. This will get you comfortable with the machine in the shortest time possible. We want you to experience the full motion of the machine without stops and starts. With this in mind, we start you with smooth fluid motions.  

If you are at all worried about how your design will look on your quilt, pick a simple design. We are all about removing any and all worry from the quilting process. That's why we've come up with these 5 pantographs beginner longarm quilters can't live without. 

1. Bumpity

Bumpity is sure to be an instant hit on all your quilts. We are still amazed how awesome this design looks on every quilt we see it on. We especially like that it isn't all that loose of a design. Bumpity covers the surface of your quilt crossing nearly every seam. After all, we pressed those seams to one side for a reason, let's be sure to secure them with your top stitching. Bumpity does that in spades. GREAT COVERAGE!



2. Loop The Loop by Barbara Becker

Loop The Loop is quickly becoming one of our favourites for it's overall effect. You can see the effect we are talking about on Sheila's Stay Centered Quilt over on the APQS Blog.

3. Seamless

The name speaks for itself and as several of our renters said after buying the Seamless Pantograph "Wow that was fast!" No kidding, one of them actually finished a queen size quilt in just over an hour. That's incredible! This is our go-to design for the frugal renter!

4. Abundant Leaves

Surprisingly effective at adding texture to quilts while taking your skills to the next level.  Abundant leaves pantograph is a great way to add direction changes to your repertoire of longarm skills. 

5. Streamer

Who doesn't love swirls? The large swooping motions will have you dancing to your favourite beats while you effortless guide the machine over your quilt. The Streamer Pantograph comes highly recommended by some of our funnest renters.

Get our Beginner Pantograph Starter Pack here

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  • I agree with the comment that it would be nice to see the operator, not just the stitching.

    Darlene Billing on

  • What is the cost of the five easy patterns for beginners?

    Mary Louise Bean on

  • I have a Nancy Drew quilt top. Is there a pantograph that would go well with her?

    Lindy on

  • I’d like to see the person following running the pantograph, not just the machine sewing it! Thanks!

    Penny Pederson on

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