My evil gathered quilt top – was she defeated?

A completely gathered and pleated quilt - how would the long-arm quilter manage with this and how would it look in the end?  Gorgeous or a disaster?It's been a while since I told you about my ‘evil' gathered quilt top and my plans to challenge a long-arm quilter with the ‘worst' quilt top ever made.  In the original article about this quilt, I referenced a discussion on our sewing chat group about some ladies warning about poor long-arm quilting services, and some long-arm quilters coming back in defense to say that sometimes what they were sent to quilt was so bad that they simply couldn't make a good job of it.

I love this article (and tutorial) about sending out your quilt top for long-arm quilting. This gal has an evil mind with her gathered quilt!Go check out the earlier article for links to the discussion, the blog article they were talking about and some pictures of what bad quilting looks like – yup, that's pretty darned bad!

The complaint from those receiving the tops for quilting was:

Complaints about bad quilt tops referred mostly to mis-shaped tops, uneven seams, lumps at intersections, bad pressing, uneven blocks, and mostly about creases and pleats in the top of the quilt that caught in the needle during the quilting process.

If they didn't like creases and pleats in the top of the quilt, saying this made it impossible to get a nice quilting finish, then it was time to put this to the test, with the most creased, pleated, bumpy and uneven quilt top I could create.  So my evil quilt top was created, completely covered in creases, pleats and bumps.  Would Lucy ever speak to me again?


You can check out my earlier article if you would like to make a quilt top just like it.  You will need 10 fat quarters, some strips from a jelly roll and a roll of dental floss!

So the quilt top went off to Lucy of Granny Sassy Designs in the mail, and I didn't give her a clue about it.  Yes, she was pretty surprised when she opened up that can of worms!  But undaunted she soon came back with ideas and assured me she was up to this challenge.

evil quilt top

It recently came back, hand delivered to Cayman when Lucy and her husband came back for a dive vacation.  I was so excited, and a little ashamed – had it been difficult? Did she curse me several times?  Would it be terrible and we'd have to pretend it was lost in the mail?


Tah-da!  Here it is returned.  Lucy had layered a sheet of tissue paper over the top while she quilted it, and that stopped the needle/foot getting caught in all those pleats and ceased.  I inspected it carefully – and couldn't find a single flaw, not a skipped stitch, a tangle or knot.  It was perfect!  She is surely a quilter-extraordinaire!

So there you have it, a great long-arm quilter can take even the most challenging quilt top and make a perfect job of quilting it.  She proved it's more than possible. Then we sat for a while and pulled off all that tissue paper.  It's a widely spaced design so it was quick to come off and rather enjoyable to see it all revealed.

Evil quilt top

So now time for me to add my binding.  I didn't want Lucy to do that for me, it would feel even more like cheating if I got back a finished quilt.  She gave me more than enough fabric for me to match my binding to the backing and gave me tips on how to do it nicely too.

Trouble is, one of the reasons I find quilting so difficult – my cat Oliver has a sixth-sense and always seems to know when a quilt is in the house, and this is what happens.  I'm just trying to sew on the binding.  Took me 3 days, because every time I started he would jump up and fall asleep immediately.  He really needs a quilt of his own.

cats and quilting - don't mix

After much cajoling, I eventually got it bound, washed and ready to snuggle.  It was difficult to get a picture of the back, so this is the best one I have.  You can see the large scale open design that suited it so well, and didn't overly weight down all those gathers and pleats on the front.


And some details on the front.  I love this so much, its not like most quilts, so that appeals to the quirky side of me.

Gathered quilt top

So here it is completely finished and after it's first wash  So beautiful and still lots of movement and texture in the top but the wide quilting makes sure it all stays nicely in place at the same time, and doesn't go baggy.  Granny Sassy really took my evil plan and turned it into a dream quilt.


As you can see, it's already very much loved, so much so that I almost couldn't get a picture without at least one cat on it.  Reminds me, I really must make Oliver his own quilt one day.  Then I would always know where he was!


Here is a picture of the great texture on this quilt after its wash.  Yummy indeed!


She could do the same for you too – but please, don't just send her all of your evil or impossible quilt tops too, or she really will stop speaking to me!

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Mea Cadwell
Mea Cadwell

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quilt! It is so comfortable looking it makes me want to hug it. And unique. Now my mind is racing on how I could try something similar. Thank you for sharing it.

Janine Koucheki
Janine Koucheki

I think that is beautiful and I might have to give it a try eventually! I have the same cat issues though. I have made sure that I haven’t gifted my quilts to people who don’t have pets. I do either wash before gifting or I include a note explaining that my quilts are well loved before delivery and need a thorough wash. Thanks for the great tutorial!


Not keen, sorry, had thought a few times doing this but seeing it I made the right choice, thank you but no thank you, hahaha! I can well imagine trying to wash that and getting the cat hair out of it, But well done anyway, you did awesomely well!


You are so accomplished. Everything you do comes out great!

Deby at So Sew Easy
Active Member

Ah, not everything Robin, but I hide those under the sofa!

Sherry Kelly
Sherry Kelly

I really love this quilt! The texture is wonderful and the quilting turned out great. If I ever make this (my to-do list is LONG), I think I will only quilt in the sashing, I really like the gathers. Beautiful job!


I hate to say it but its you the cat wants to sit next to. the fact that he can be warm and cosy is a bonus!