I work with a lot of newbie longarm quilters as I travel and teach on longarm quilting machines. In fact, I adore helping folks dive into longarm quilting! I find that most new quilters start out using paper pantographs, or pantos. Pantographs are long pieces of paper (12′ to 14′) with a printed continuous design on them. Using the rear handles on your longarm quilting machine you will trace the printed pattern on the paper with a laser that is pointed onto the paper pattern.
Paper pantograph patterns nest together. That interlocking of rows and designs helps to keep your quilt top from looking rowy or like you used a type writer to print out a linear pattern. Modern paper pantos add beautiful texture and repetitive design to a quilt that allows the piecing to be the star while the quilting plays a supportive role in the drama.
However, some pantographs are more complex and difficult to do then others. Here are some pantographs that I recommend for beginning longarm quilters. These are the favorites of those who come into the shop to rent time on our APQS longarm machines too!
Keep in mind that you want to select a panto that fits the throat size of your machine. If you have a smaller throat longarm quilting machine you won’t be able to stitch out the bigger pantographs.
Here’s our officially recommended beginning longarm pantographs:
Great Paper Pantographs for Beginners With Machines 24″ Throat or Smaller
I like these slightly smaller pantos for our sweet little APQS Lenni.
Paper Pantograph Bundles Just for Beginners In The Shop!
If you’re looking to get your pantograph collection started I also have a couple of pantograph packages over in my shop.
If you would like to explore more tips and tricks for longarm quilting don’t miss the Quilted Joy Learning Center!