The historical day: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 -- IT arrived! ("IT" being my quilting frame.) By Friday, April 23, 2010, I had my first completed quilt with my Juki 98/Grace GMQ-PRO combo.
I recall my first frustration that week was that the upgraded carriage did NOT come with a stylus of any sort. NOT that I was going to be stopped. I grabbed a pothole looming hook-thingy from Cassie's worktable (she had not used it in MONTHS!), whipped some blue painter's tape around it, and I was set. From what I can tell so far.....the long awaited $50 Laser Style I purchased last week was much overdue. The nicest component of the Grace laser stylus is that I merely have to move the stylus to line up the pantographs RATHER than move the pantograph paper to line up for the next pass. Definitely a good investment to make life easier :0)
Through my year of quilting with my frame, 96% of my quilts have been quilted with a pantograph rather than free-hand. (Okay, being a math teacher, I MUST inform you that the 96% quote is a rough estimate---there were no calculations done to share an accurate percentage----but I didn't think you'd mind or care) :0)
Prior to having the frame, I had purchased Golden Thread's Dot-to-Dot quilting book to use with some quilting on the domestic setup. It was manageable but.....well....duh.....the frame makes life SOOO much easier!
The picture above (showing the jimmied-up stylus) also shows a copy of one of the 4" pantographs in the book. For my first month, I merely made copies of the pantographs available in the book, taped them together after lining them up, and quilted away. Most of my first quilts were smaller crib-sized; the take-up bar never really ended up getting too thick, so even a 5-6" pantograph was possible. However, the larger the quilt, the thicker all the layers become on the take-up bar, which truly reduces the allowable pantograph size.
My true test of "allowable" pantograph space is actually happening right now. The Roll Roll Cottonboll is HUGE! And I am using a 7" feather pattern on it.
SEVEN INCH PANTOGRAPH???
Yes! Seven! Ya see, this pantograph has a 'top' and a 'bottom' part to it that actually works very nicely from side-to-side. Therefore, each "half" is only 3.5". I should have NO problem completing this quilting with my selection. Smart cookie, huh?
BUT, for those of you with a smaller harp (8.9" on a Juki98), depending on the size of your quilt, a 6" pantograph will be the maximum. Your safest best is to use a <5" pantograph.
I have ordered a couple of other pantographs; my favorite being 6" Feather Me. I chose to use this once on a larger quilt (roughly 80x85), SO.......before starting, KNOWING that it may just be too large, I took it to school and made a small reduction to it with the copy machine which brought it to 5". Admitting, it was a putzy process but I love this pantograph for the feminine quilts!
Most of the pantographs I have acquired were designs I had seen in quilter's blogs. I (try to) include all pantograph information on my completed projects for this reason. I have also spent my fair share of time googling "small quilting pantographs." ;0)
Naturally, the thought has crossed my mind about upgrading. However, for the hobbiest, I can't see the investment at this time. Instead, I'll play around with the new laser stylus to see how much easier pantographing can become. ;0)
12:22 pm comment......
Having a few moments of down-time before taking Cassie to a friend's for a birthday party, I jumped online to see if anyone had updated this AM. Not seeing much to read, I took a moment to re-read my blog post.....
".....I grabbed a pothole looming hook-thingy from Cassie's worktable....."
Hmmm......I wonder exactly what a pothole thingy looks like! LOL.... wonder if it may ruin the wheels on my carriage the way typical potholes ruin wheels on cars....
OBVIOUSLY I meant....."potholder"