How to organize your paper pantographs

April 12, 2016

Keeping your quilting studio organized can be quite a chore, but there are a few simple things that can make finding things for your longarm machine much easier. It can be incredibly frustrating to know you have a paper pantograph but not be able to find it for your project!

Using a paper pantograph on a longarm machine is an easy way to quickly accomplish edge to edge quilting. Storing and organizing your collection of paper pantographs is important. After all, you want to protect the investment you’ve made into your paper pattern collection.

Most pantographs are going to be at least 12 feet long and between 6- 14 inches tall. The pantographs are generally sold rolled up. At one end of the pantograph is a graphic showing the pattern so it can be rolled up but still identifiable.

There are many different ways to store these paper patterns. Sheri, an APQS dealer, uses a pegboard and some elastic mounted to her wall to organize her pattern stash.

Perhaps your wine rack could be repurposed in your quilting studio to hold your pantos. Georgene shared an idea on our APQS Forums where she used a large hanging shoe organizer for her pattern collection. Each cubbie is labeled with a number and each pantograph has a been given a number so it is easy to pop the correct pattern back into the right cubbie. If you are super organized you could use a spreadsheet on your computer to easily record what pantograph patterns live in which cubbie.

Or, imagine using standard five-tiered pants hangers like this one in a closet but instead of pants you can slide on rolled pantographs!

I store my pantographs rolled up inside cut lengths of the leftover cardboard tube from a roll of batting. I cut the tube about every 8 inches and then place them inside a basket where I pop in the pantographs for storage.

Another idea if you have a modest collection of pantographs is to store them alphabetically using an over the door or hanging clear shoe organizer. If you have a lot of pantographs, you could even use heavy duty cardboard wine case boxes and label each box with the type of pantograph you have stored in each box. You could have a box just for “novelty” patterns, one for “floral” patterns and one for “patriotic” patterns, as an example.

Of course, a wooden shoe organizer would work the same way and be a little more sturdy.

Kathy uses a great cabinet from Ikea for her pantograph storage. She shared some photos of her setup over on the APQS forums.

APQS quilter Ardelle, has a unique way to both store and organize her pantographs. She traces them using legal sized page protectors from an office supply store. Pop over to her blog to see a step-by-step tutorial on how she uses these in her studio.

There are many different ways to get your studio organized so you can spend less time looking for things and more time stitching! What have you used to organize your paper pantographs? Join the conversation over on our forums or on our Facebook page. We’d love to see your ideas.

Angela Huffman is an APQS dealer and the owner of Quilted Joy Studio in Louisville, Kentucky