National Quilting Month: start your bucket quilt (and see ours)

Worldwide Quilting Day 2015March is National Quilting Month!

With 31 days to celebrate quilting—including the crowning jewel of the month, Worldwide Quilting Day on Saturday, March 21—we got to thinking about our “bucket quilts.”

What’s a bucket quilt, you ask?

A bucket quilt is an all-time favorite quilt. Perhaps you’ve pinned a picture of one; maybe you’ve purchased a bucket-quilt book or pattern. And you’ve certainly imagined your bucket quilt in your home—flawlessly fanned out over a couch, majestically hung from a wall, luxuriously spread over a bed. It’s the kind of quilt you want to sew and leave as part of your legacy (before you “kick the bucket,” as they say).

What better time to start a bucket quilt than during National Quilting Month?

In an effort to inspire you to start YOUR bucket quilt in March, we’ve collected our own bucket-quilt stories to share with you. So without further ado, here are some of our bucket-list-worthy quilts.

All Stars quilt

Karen J., Director of Sales and Marketing
Bucket quilt: “All Stars” by Sandy Klop, from American Jane’s Quilts for All Seasons

“I purchased the book and all of the ’30s reproduction fabric I needed to make ‘All Stars’ long before I worked at Martingale. During my first year at Martingale, our administrative assistant, Linda, celebrated her tenth anniversary with the company. This is the quilt she received as a gift, made by Martingale staff: ‘All Stars!’

Linda's All Stars quilt

In the back of my mind I thought, ‘Hmm, my anniversary isn’t that far away. Maybe I’ll just hand over my fabric to Martingale and have it made for me!’ But my friends here tell me that the Y-seams in the pattern aren’t a big deal. I might be ready to give it a try.”

Can you believe it? “All Stars” is on another staffer’s bucket list—and she’s started making the blocks.

Karen S's All Stars quilt blocks

Karen S., Editorial Director
Bucket quilt: “All Stars” by Sandy Klop, from American Jane’s Quilts for All Seasons

“One quilt that’s been on my bucket list—and on my design wall—for a while is ‘All Stars’ by Sandy Klop. Sandy is known for her use of bright, cheerful primary colors and playful prints, but I’m more of a reproduction fabric sort of gal. So I’m switching things up and dipping into my stash of reproduction prints to make this queen-size quilt.”

Chain Link quilt

Cathy, Author Liasion
Bucket quilt: “Chain Link” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Link to the ’30s

“When my quilting hobby went from casual interest to active passion, I discovered shop hops: driving to new places to shop for fabric. I needed a focus when visiting all these new shops, so I zeroed in on ’30s reproduction prints. For a couple years, at each shop I visited I bought a fat quarter or two of ’30s fabrics, knowing only that I wanted to make a quilt with them that reminded me of my grandmother. Time passed and along came the book Link to the ’30s. I would like to make every quilt in the book, but the one that reminds me of Grandma is ‘Chain Link.’ The quilt brings back the all-is-well-with-the-world feeling that I associate with my grandparents’ home.

I have my ’30s prints and Link to the ’30s carefully saved together in my project closet. So why isn’t this quilt done? Maybe the feelings the book and the fabrics evoke are more important than the completed project. Maybe the time just isn’t right yet. Maybe I’ll make it a goal to have the project completed to honor my grandmother on the 20th anniversary of her death. Check back with me in three years and I’ll let you know the project’s progress.”

Bubbles baby quilt by Dana Bolyard

Linda, Administrative Assistant
Bucket quilt: “Bubbles” by Dana Bolyard, from the book Modern Baby

“I’ve never appliquéd. But when I’m speaking during Martingale tours, I tell visitors that when my daughter has a baby, I’m going to learn! And this is the quilt I’m going to start with. The appliqué should be easy because it’s raw edge. I’m sure the hardest part would probably be for my machine quilter, who would have to quilt all those bubbles.”

See all 14 adorable quilts in Modern Baby >

Tide Pool quilt from Little Gems

Virginia, Purchasing/Accounting
Bucket quilt: “Tide Pool” by Connie Kauffman, from Little Gems

“Actually my bucket overflows with quilts, but my most recent favorite is from Little Gems. I want to make ‘Tide Pool’ in a much bigger size, in shades of blues and greens. I think the swirling pattern of the little snails over a bigger area will really let the colors dance like the ocean currents. Now when I get to it will be a whole other matter…”

Find 14 more tiny treasures (to supersize, if you wish!) in Little Gems >

Pumpkin Peel quilt

Mary B., Marketing Coordinator
Bucket quilt: “Pumpkin Peel” by Biz Storms, from Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts

“I love all the tiny, colorful pieces that pop on the shirting background in ‘Pumpkin Peel’ (above, left). I did a rough estimate and there are over 1600 pieces! But after reading the pattern, it doesn’t look difficult. I’ve done string piecing on a foundation before and enjoyed it. I also love the antique quilt that inspired this pattern (above, right)—it has even more than 1600 pieces!”

See more stunning examples from Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts >

Buckwheat Star quilt

Another bucket quilt from Mary: “Buckwheat Star” by Mary Tendall Etherington and Connie Tesene, from Civil War Remembered

“I’ve been saving scraps since I started quilting 30+ years ago (yikes, has it been that long?). I have strong convictions that I will make beautiful, super-thrifty quilts for every bed in my house and use up all my scraps. I have yet to make even one, but this quilt is on my list. It will use up about 800 scraps!”

See more from Civil War Remembered (coming March 2015) >

When do you plan to start your bucket quilt? Tell us about it in the comments!

29 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I’m working on my "bucket quilt" now. It’s a king-sized whole cloth quilt that I am hand quilting. My goal is to have it finished for my husband’s fifteenth wedding anniversary gift in June – I’m over half way and am striving for completion. This will be my masterpiece and something I never thought I could accomplish! After that, on to an Ocean Waves!

    —Celene Thelen on February 26, 2015
  • My "bucket" quilt is a scrappy Irish Chain done in pastels. The smallest piece used in the quilt is a 1 5/8″ square, over 2000 of them! I am currently working on several older projects that I vowed to finish first. Darn those UFOs! Then there are the little quilts I will be making for my sisters for Christmas followed by the quilts for my daughter, dauther-in-law, and three granddaughters. Looks like I will get to start this quilt sometime next year.

    —Lana Frazier on February 26, 2015
  • I’ve had the fabric for my bucket quilt for 10 years. It’s a simple pinwheel quilt, and I should have done it a long time ago. I want to make 12-, 9-, 6-, and 3-inch blocks, and mix them all up, using my favorite line of swirly fabric (I love fabric with swirls). Maybe later this year….

    —Jill Ellis on February 26, 2015
  • I am in the process of putting together my bucket quilt. Although I am usually drawn to brights or batiks, I have always wanted to make a 30’s quilt. Imagine my surprise at seeing it in todays post. i fell in love with that 30’s quilt as it reads modern even though it is an old pattern. I started the quilt at a guild retreat and a number of gals who mostly make 30’s quilt now want to do this pattern too. I am 1/4 of the way toward a completed king size version.

    —Jean on February 26, 2015
  • "as part of your legacy (before you “kick the bucket,” oh my, shudder, hope that doesn’t happen for a while. 8 /

    Finding all the fabric, still building the stash, and the perfect pattern to represent ‘me’ should put that arooound 2017ish?

    Have to have goals, you have planted the seed! : )

    —DebbieLynn on February 26, 2015
  • I have two bucket quilts I am working on. One is called Starshine Beauty by Patti Carey, and it is paper pieced, which I have never done before. The other doesn’t have a name, but I am just sewing all my leftover pieces in strips, then cutting triangles which are sewn into squares, then the squares sewn together until you get a big enough piece for your quilt. I saw a similar one once and it looks really cool.

    —Janet on February 26, 2015
  • I am working on my bucket quilt. It is a double wedding ring. I was so scared of those curved seams. My friend is doing one too and we have faithfully pulled it out each fall retreat and spent an hour on it and no more. Then we challenged ourselves 2 years ago to have it done for this coming fall. I am halfway through quilting all of the feathers. I am glad I waited because I feel I have the skills now to do it justice.

    —Tara Starzomski on February 26, 2015
  • I have a bucket quilt already hand pieced, quilted 5″hexagons. Now I am in a quandary as how to bind the irregular edge. I just don’t want to cut it straight.

    Patricia, Mimi Dietrich shows a beautiful way to bind hexagon quilts in her book Happy Endings. You’ll find a picture of how the finished binding looks in this post. I just remembered seeing it and thought it might help! –Jenny

    —Patricia D. Roberts on February 26, 2015
  • I’ve a quilt I’ve been wanting to make now for over 10 years. Made one about 10 years ago that was given away but want to make one for myself. It could be considered a quilt of honor. It salutes an all women band that was active in the US Air Force from 1951-1961. I was a member of that band and we were almost forgotten though at the time we were active we had more requests for appearances than the main AF Band. The band was known as The US Air WAF (Women of the Air Force) Band. At that point in time and until 1974 men and women were kept seperate including the military bands. During that time the only way a woman could play in a military band was with an all women band. The Army, Navy, Marines had all women band and then when the newly formed Air Force Band didn’t have one the director of the main Air Force Band decided there should be an Air Force all women band. The band became very popular during the 10 years they were active but because of manpower cuts and talk of integrating the men and women in such fields as the band field The US AF WAF Band was deactivated. It wasn’t until 1997 when The US Air Force WAF band members started to have reunions and are now know as The WAF Band that we were able to get together practice and play concerts for VA facilities and the public that we started getting people to remember us.
    The quilt I made consisted of a colorized publicity picture of the US AF WAF Band that was put in the middle of the quilt and then machine embroidered musical instruments in the middle of Ohio Star Blocks were arranged around the picture. It was done in shades of blues along with the old Air Force Seal that were in the shape of medallions on a blue background. I was very proud of that quilt as it was my very first quilt I had ever made. I regretted that I didn’t make a second quilt at the same time but I was very new at quilting and it never came to mind.
    Now 10 years and many quilts very large ones and small ones later I want to make another quilt Saluting the US AF WAF Band only this time I will keep it. I have a newer design that is a little more difficult but should be easy enough to make. The only time consuming part of the quilt will be the machine embroidery designs. Since my first quilt there has been so many Quilt of Valor quilts to include some wonderful Air Force prints that I’ve already purchased all the fabric I need. Now it’s just taking the time to make it. This may get made in the very near future.

    —Beverly Passwaters on February 26, 2015
  • I have 106, 6″ bowtie blocks that are hand pieced. Made with scraps, so a variety of prints. I bought at a indoor yard sale at a quilt guild. I have off white material that I am going to use as plain 6″ blocks. I have been planing on getting this quilt together for a long time, so I guess you would call it a "bucket quilt", and am now going to do it. Thanks for the incentive.

    —Marion on February 26, 2015
  • While I have a few bucket list quilts still to do, the one that was always considered to be last on the list was to do a white, hand quilted, wholecloth, queen size quilt. Not too long ago I was reading one of my favorite blogs and the host talked about hand quilting a quilt in the winter and the warmth of it on their lap and the relaxing rhythm of the stitching. I loved that image so as of right now, the wholecloth is scheduled to be my New Year’s 2016 project!

    Vivian on February 26, 2015
  • My bucket quilt is a king size Delectable Mountains quilt. I have the blocks done, and the backing and shashing bought- just need to put everything together. In the meantime I have 3 full size quilts started and a multitude of hangings, runners and small projects to finish first.

    —Nancy on February 26, 2015
  • I have the book – The Farmer’s Wife – and lots of fabric, and was going to start it this year. As I haven’t started yet, your email has inspired me to get going in March! Thank you.

    —Cyndy on February 26, 2015
  • I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’ve made my bucket quilt. It’s a Barbara Brackman design called Borderland in Butternut & Blue that I got as a BOM project when I first started quilting. It took me five years to make. Three or four blocks were re-made (they were early blocks before I was competent). A friend quilted it for me. I look at it now, shake my head, pet it and think, "I can’t believe I made this."

    —Janet on February 26, 2015
  • I didn’t think I had a bucket quilt having not been quilting for 2 years yet, but realised that i have a bucket block! a dresden plate. I love them & have been too scared to have a go…. have managed lots of other blocks but not that one. we have just changed the colour of our bedroom so now is the time – i have a bed quilt to do. & two wall hangings all based on the dresden plate.

    —Suzanne Keal on February 26, 2015
  • I have always admired spectacular wedding ring quilts. I love the double wedding rings one completed by Janet Treen titled "Rings and Roses". Such a study in color and curves.

    When I work on a project I get a feel for who should truly own the project and put my good and loving intentions into the piece and pass it on when complete. I would love to make a double wedding ring quilt for myself, but each wdding ring is dedicated to someone I love. That would be a quilt of prayerful thoughts and good wishes.

    Mo Pfister on February 26, 2015
  • My buckets became two string quilts. So as I save again the bucket is big bag saved by color wise. Like light-whites and backgrounds, greens-making a quilt now using precuts into a quilt and worked all last year with Jane Austen blocks. Pinks almost gone made it into a string block, plan to some day have four and add a Easter tree on top. Reds- small scrapes I made into red white and blue small string block, someday I hope to have made enough for a quilt, now only four. Small end pieces I plan to make into place mats or rug mats. Don’t have much

    —Linda Christianson on February 26, 2015
  • Around the middle of every year I tell myself, "Next year will be the year of quilting for ME!"

    I’ve been quilting for 17 years now and still haven’t made a Log Cabin, a Storm at Sea or a Double Wedding Ring.

    2016 is looking good….. for now….

    —Kayt Deans on February 26, 2015
  • Working on "it" NOW: lap quilts with for both of my elderly parents (each with their favorite flowers).

    —Marty on February 27, 2015
  • My bucket list quilt would be a king size postage stamp quilt. I have been gathering little squares through the PS Group on Yahoo Stashbusters for several years now and know I have enough to do it. Let’s see a quilt 120 inch square would require only 14,400 1-1/2 inch squares — no problem whatsoever, got that covered and then some. I’m off to my machine to get started sewing!

    —Sue Fender on February 27, 2015
  • I was happy to see Bubbles as a Bucket Quilt for Linda. I made that for my grandson and it was a hit! The applique was easy, although I turned the edges under because I don’t care for raw edge applique. On the back I appliqued the orange fish on it again and used it for the label.

    Thank you for the inspriation – my bucket quilt is a Log Cabin using 1″ finished size logs. I have the fabric – just need the confidence and time!

    —Brenda Worthington on February 27, 2015
  • Beverly Passwaters: I would love to see your US AF WAF Bankd quilt.

    My bucket list is to finish the Spangled Cabins quilt I started several years ago. I have all the blocks finished, but when I tried putting it together, the log cabin blocks were too small–small enough that I have to remake them. I have a couple of UFOs to finish first, but then I’ll get back to my Spangled Cabins.

    —Joanne on February 27, 2015
  • Have my "bucket List" pinned under "my Future projects" Have quite a few… But, one of them was the lone star quilt. All of them are just beautiful!! Love the fish with bubbles…

    —Elizabeth K on February 27, 2015
  • My bucket quilt is a Baltimore Album!

    —Robin G on February 28, 2015
  • I have many quilts lined up to make for family and friends, and a couple for me as well. But the one bucket list quilt I really need to work on is one that was started by my husband’s grandmother who died in 1938. She hand pieced random scraps onto a foundation and some of them were machine sewn together. I took those apart as they didn’t fit right and plan to put them together with sashing and hand quilt it.
    My next bucket list quilt is a Storm at Sea done in greens. I bought the fabric ages ago but I used some of the palest green as the diagonal lines of the fabric did not match the angles of the patches. Maybe I’ll find just the right batik instead!

    —Linda Towers on March 1, 2015
  • I’ve already started my "Bucket Quilt" Always wanted a 1930’s Dresden quilt and have it half finished…and another one is one with baskets and flowers…have got it all cut out and fused on, for a queen size, just have to blanket stitch around all the flowers and baskets, then quilt it…did I mention I started both of these in 2005? It seems to be a long process as other quilts come along and get finished, so these two are on the back burner…but I’ll get them done! then there’s the wedding ring quilt that also has to be finished, that I’m doing all by hand…still in the works!

    —Jeanette on March 2, 2015
  • I still have fabric and a pattern saved from 1976 when the Bicentennial
    got me interested in quilting!! It is an eight-pointed star, and I have
    saved blues and browns. At that time I wasn’t sure if I should make a twin for myself then or a queen for "someday if I’m married". Well, fast forward to the present–a wife and mom of 3 grown girls is finally quilting in earnest, loving every minute, and I now know how to do diamonds and angles. It would have been a disappointing disaster if I had started with that quilt. I am now able to do it and have recently gone through the fabrics again and removed the unsuitable ones. Maybe in 2016 I can start it. There’s always hope!

    Cathy Slabaugh on March 4, 2015
  • I am currently finishing up some much neglected UFO’s. I’m hoping to start my Bucket quilt this summer. I’m waiting for the line of fabric to hit the quilt shops around here. The pattern is of double hearts,

    —Michele Fetter on March 5, 2015
  • My bucket quilt is a Baltimore Album and it will probably have to wait until retirement!!! LOL…..

    —Allison CB on March 9, 2016

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