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Setting LA up for Pantographs

Setting LA up for Pantographs

Old 08-03-2013, 02:43 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Haverhill, MA
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Ok, I am relatively new to Long Arming but am getting right good at pantographs.

Here is how I set my system up for a pantograph

1. Load backing onto frame
2. Load batting onto frame, lining top of batting up with top of backing where it attaches to the leaders
3. Lock my vertical channel lock so that I can only move the machine horizontally (you dont have to lock it, but it helps)
4. stitch either a basting stitch or a regular one (i am lazy I just do a regular one) along the top of the batting and backing (notice we havent loaded top yet)
5. Lay top edge of top against stitched line (from step 4), adjust till top is laying flat over all and even with the top stitch line.
6. Remove channel lock if you forget you will get mad at yourself, ask me how I know
7. Stitch either basting stitch or regular one along top of quilt to stabilize it and keep the edges from folding over while not watching, I also stitch down the sides as well, securing the quilt on 3 sides and letting gravity handle the 4th.
NOTE: I usually float my tops, I tried putting the top on the rollers but somehow got it all skewed, so floating works better for me. Please do what works best for you. If it is a small (60ish wide) quilt, floating shouldnt be an issue.
8. Position the needle to the upper left corner of the quilt (assuming you are facing your quilt from front of machine), put needle down.
9. Move to back of machine and unroll pantograph so that it lays over the whole table. Weight the ends to keep it from curling.
NOTE: As another side note here, I went to lowes and bought a couple 18x22in plexiglass sheets, and use them to lay over the pantograph. This keeps the panto from rolling as well as allows me to mark with a dry erase the start/stop of the quilt and arrows for direction on more complicated pantos.
10. Turn on your laser guide on back of machine and make sure your pantograph is level (I use the edge of my table to ensure it is straight)
11. Adjust the laser light to the spot of the highest design, you need to make sure that you have enough room to quilt that top part and not run into the rollers. Remember, your needle is down and in the upper corner of your quilt.
12. Needle up, then slide machine along the pantograph so you can see if you can stitch all of the parts without hitting anything (rollers, edge, etc) dont sew, just positioning here. run it all the way across.
NOTE: I generally use the dry erase markers to mark the edges of the quilt on the plexi over the panto. that way I know where I need to stop/start on each pass. You can also use a clear ruler or even a regular ruler. Basically you are trying to let yourself know when to stop since you are not looking at the fabric while stitching.
13. I adjust the laser guide and panto until I find a satisfactory placement. this may take a few minutes so take your time.
14. I then test tension on batting/backing with a scrap piece (your backing should be wider than quilt, so you should have room for this.) adjust as needed.
15. I lock my stitches off the top (pull bobbin thread up and do a couple locking stitches)
16. I stand in back and move the machine so that the laser light follows the lines on the pantograph.
Note: I do recommend doing a few passes without the stitching, just dry runs, especially if it is a new pantograph. so you get the feel for the design. I sometimes do this just to get into the groove. Then I will stitch.
17. Once you have finished the row, be sure to cut threads, I do this off the top in the spare area so I dont have to be exact in the center.

Hope that helps...

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 08-08-2013 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:11 AM
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Thanks for this tute. Just learning to do pantographs.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:32 PM
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Thank you!! Just printed it out for future use when I have my machine set up!
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:41 AM
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Location: Haverhill, MA
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this was actually a reply to another thread, the Mods started this thread with the information

I will be loading up a quilt this weekend to do a panto on, I'll snap a few shots of things to add to here.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: buxton, maine
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I just recently got a la and have been trying to use pantograph your hints were great about the plexiglass and the seam across the bottom and batting and linning up the top with the sewn line. And letting the top float was so very helpful for me
thank you
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Old 10-04-2013, 03:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pembroke, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 55

Thanks for your write up. It was very helpful. No more pinning and marking for me. I have to do a Train Quilt for my grandson so I will be trying your way.
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:27 AM
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Thanks for the tute. I'm fairly new to long arm quilting myself.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Paw Paw, Michigan
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Just inherited my moms long arm Gammill and I am scared to death. I worked on a scrap fabric and can now wind bobbin, thread machine and load quilt. I have a full cloth quilt to load and this tut was very helpful. Trying to get over the fear.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:37 PM
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Thank you so much for posting these instructions.
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:14 PM
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does it matter WHERE on the table you lay the pattern? should it be all the way to the top edge or bottom edge ?
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