Monday, September 24, 2012

Making a Pantograph for Quilting

My design wall was full this week, but I worked hard and finished two of the quilts on which I was working.  I am now ready to quilt them.  The Pumpkins will have to take second place for the quicker and easier Lockblocks.  But first, I needed a quilting design for it.

1998 comments at 4 pm on Sunday!  #2000 gets a prize!

I am cheap.  And I want things NOW!  So I figure out how to make them myself.  This is how I made the pantograph with which I will quilt the Lockblocks quilt.

First off, you have to have an idea of what you want to use as a quilting motif.  I wanted a simple design, that would fit in my space, and yet speak to the quilt pattern as a unique individual piece.  And I kept seeing loops!

I practiced loops with my fingers while we drove to lunch.  Keep it simple, I kept saying.  By the time we reached the Londoner with it's English Tea and scones I had a design ready.

Now to make it fit the quilt.  The color blocks are 4 inches square finished which means I had a 4 inch space to deal with and the center of which would be at the 2 inch mark.

I cut pieces of sheet paper 4 inches in width to get 2 strips from each page.  I did use my rotary cutter, the blade has a nick in it and I wasn't too worried about dulling it.

Hopefully you can see the pencil marks, they are pretty lightfor a reason.  So I can erase the not so great lines.

Here is your only math.  Take your time and think about it and you will be fine.  I marked off in pencil some registration marks.  The seams were 4 inches apart, block center is at two inches and I wanted at least 1/4 inch from both the top and the bottom.  The short loop would be half the size of the larger loop so I measured 2 inches across the center of the paper.

I needed something to create nicely rounded corners.  Fray Check!  On the center line of each block would be the tall loop.  The seam would be the short loop.  I used the same Fray Check bottle to create the short loop as well.

Then I connected the loops with lines using light pencil lines.  When the loops looked lopsided, and they all did, I redrew a new line before I erased the old.  I often had to redraw lines several times to get the section to look even.  Continue working with each loop until you really like it.

I used a permanent marker to darken the lines for tracing.  Then I carefully traced enough pages to cover the width of the quilt I was working on.

It is important to keep the pages straight so I used my 24 inch long 6 inch wide ruler as a straight edge and taped the entire length of the page edges together back and front to make the seams flat.  Make sure the loop on the end of one and the beginning of the next are approx 2 inches apart or your design will fail.  If you have problems with your design once you get ready to quilt, you can always cut your panto paper and reset it to the correct proportions, but it is easier to do it correctly at first.  (ask me how I know that!!)

When you put the pantograph on the shelf, mine is in front and above my quilt, it is easier to make sure the lines will be straight if you work carefully and precisely.

This one took me about 35 minutes to complete.

Fast, simple and cheap.  And it says LeLeLeLeLe........I should call this one Lelell.


  1. It will be lovely to see the finished quilt. What colour thread will you use?

  2. LOL! Actually, now an old Eric Clapton song is playing in my head! I like this loopy kind of quilting, too. Good job!! :)

  3. Great job, I tend to free hand my stuff but you have a great plan here. I love loops on quilts. Nice job!!


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