Setting Up The Pantograph Surface

Hello, long-armers and all quilters.
If you've been following along with me the last few
weeks, you know I've been sewing a little like someone
was going to steal my fabric stash so, while I don't have
any actual quilting to show, I am building a nice
pile of quilts ready for some long arm action.

It has been weeks....a month? since I did
any actual quilting so I was quite happy to get one
of those quilts from that pile loaded up and ready today.

In doing so, I began to wonder if this method for marking
pantographs is common knowledge and/or the norm.
Maybe you know this or maybe you have a built-in
surface but if I can help at least one of you out there,
then this post is worth it.

I chose this panto because I think it will look a little
like string that a cat plays with.

You're going to need a piece of clear vinyl
to fit the width of your quilt frame
(ie, 12-foot frame = 3 yds vinyl)
and some dry-erase markers.

Cut a strip to fit the surface where your pantograph lays.
In my case, I actually get 3 strips (18" wide) out of it so
I get 2 back-ups out of the deal.

I use a couple small pieces of painter's tape
along the top to hold this vinyl in place.
You definitely do not want it to move.

(You could get by with buying a smaller piece of vinyl,
cut into two strips that meet/overlap in the center of
the pantograph surface.  I have done this but found I prefer 
one piece to try to keep in place--if that makes sense?)

The right edge of my quilt marked by using the laser (pink)
as a guide; crossed out are parts that I'll be omitting.

Keeping this over your your pantographs allows you
to make all your markings with a dry-erase marker
without ever actually drawing on your original.
Btw, an actual eraser made for these markers works
much better than just grabbing whatever is handy
(a tissue, your sleeve, the cat...).  And let me tell you,
they clean up MUCH easier within the
first 24-48 hours or so of making them! 
Nine times out of ten I'm more focused on my finished
quilt than I am on cleaning up so those marks often
get left on there for days or even weeks.
(I've tried the cleaner--doesn't seem to help.) 
Eventually, out comes one of the back ups.
I'm slowly getting better about remembering though.

Complete w/batting fuzz and thread--keeping it real.

One thing I do to set myself up for LA quilting:
The Apron.
 I bought this MSQC apron as kind of a treat but it
quickly became my necessary "uniform," keeping
my markers, lint brush, seam ripper, etc. available.
My scissors hangs on a retractable clip.
I cannot quilt without this apron.

Lastly, I want cover something I forgot in my previous
post about choosing pantographs suited for beginners:

When choosing the width of your pantograph
(which, in my mind, is really more like depth especially in
what I'm discussing here),  keep in mind that the wider
the pantograph, the more you'll be leaning forward.
And if you have any back issues,
(like the nice expensive hardware I have in mine)
this can greatly add to your quilting time, especially
if you have to spread it out over several days or more.
When it comes to pantographs, I stick to "regular" size
patterns (7 to 10-inches-ish, give or take) only.

Hoping to have actual quilts to show next week!

Happy quilting!
Linking up to:
Cheeky Condescenti "Long-Arm Learning"


Rebecca Grace said…
That pantograph will be so cute for this top! Is it Bossa Nova? So about this vinyl. Does your table not have the clear overlay that you slide your paper pantograph pattern beneath, or do you put the vinyl on top of the clear plastic that’s on your table? I know I’ve seen at least one quilter say they like their paper patterns not to be under plastic at all because the glare bothers her eyes, but I want my pantograph trapped under plastic where I know I won’t shift it out of position accidentally. I’m in the same boat as you this week — no quilting to share because I’ve been piecing a UFO top. But I’m CLOSE to finishing it! Thanks for linking up with Long Arm Learning!
I don't normally quilt pantoraphs, but the one on your table is SEW cute!! It makes me want to give panto quilting another try.
Kate said…
Hope you were able to work in some good quilting time last week. The pantograph is pretty cute.