You’ve probably heard this phrase before: “We learn by doing.” Personally, I learn so much from making a quilt once that I enjoy making it again. This allows me to improve and incorporate more ideas into the second one. Having previously made a Little House on the Prairie Quilt (you can view it here) using Amy Friend’s pattern found here on her blog During Quiet Time, I couldn’t resist making another one.
Since this second one was going to my grandson, I needed to make it more interesting for a five-year-old boy and also incorporate some of his favorite stories from this Little House on the Prairie book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. So I changed some of the blocks.
It was a paper pieced pattern but since I wasn’t feeling confident enough to attempt learning this new method yet, I changed it a bit and added 1/4″ seam allowances before sewing it together.
I had to do a little math on the original So Dog Gone Cute pattern to resize it to fit the 14″ block.
Another change I made was adding red mittens: the pattern came from Lori Holt’s book Quilty Fun.
If you look close, you will see snowflakes on the background fabric. Half of the fun of sewing this quilt was searching for the “perfect” fabric for each of the blocks. This particular snowy fabric was originally purchased for use in my first Little House Quilt window block but my mom said it was too light so another snowy fabric was used instead. However, it became the perfect background for the mittens for this quilt.
Since my grandson spent a night last summer camping out in a covered wagon in DeSmet, South Dakota near The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, I had to include one on this quilt. After all, that’s how Laura moved from one home to another since they didn’t have cars or trucks yet.
I designed this pattern myself. First I tried drawing a side and front view but just couldn’t get the angle right and after fussing for most of a day I decided to just go with the back view.
I adapted the pattern for this locomotive from the Quick & Easy Quilting Magazine, Vol 19. The pattern was applique but I redid it so it was mostly pieced with appliqued smoke and wheels.
The appliqued wheels were machine satin-stitched. The plumes of smoke were raw edged appliqued so that eventually during use and washing the 1/4″ edges will fray creating billows of smoke.
My grandson’s favorite Little House story is the one with the kitten and mouse. He says a mouse bit Pa on the ear one night and so the family got a kitten to catch the mice. Only he tells it so much better than I do.
So I decided now was the time to try paper piecing. Thanks to Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam for providing the free pattern for the mouse (mouse #3) and the free pattern for the kitten (kitten #4). Since this was my first experience with paper piecing, it proved a bit challenging. However, I look forward to doing more paper piecing projects in the future as Maartje cautioned “it’s addicting.”
The last block I changed was adding a block with books. My daughter-in-law, suggested books rather than blocks to represent Laura and Almanzo’s baby. This baby, Rose, loved to read her picture books and also grew up to become an author so a shelf of books seemed appropriate.
I adapted Melissa Corry’s free pattern found here on Moda’s Bake Shop to create the books on the shelf.
All of the remaining blocks included in the quilt were found on the During Quiet Time blog.
I tried sewing wavy lines and called this quilting stitch “the drunken path” Although “learning to drive” would have been more kid-friendly.
The first couple of rows I quilted were rather straight but finally I found a rhythm that worked. However, I also think drinking a glass of wine or two would have helped.
My mom hand embroidered the wheat stems and also the things on the chalkboard that Laura might have taught her students. Thanks, mom!
I spray basted the top, batting, and backing layers together with June Tailor’s spray baste that I bought at Joann’s. It kept everything in place and wasn’t stiff.
The pattern provided two ways to make this feather block: paper pieced or template.
Since I had not yet tried paper piecing (this block was made before the kitten and mouse), I used the templates. It was easy but now I am curious about making one using paper piecing.
This Maple Leaf block is the only block in the quilt that is identical to the first one I made. It worked well for that quilt and worked well for this one.
Several of the blocks told the story of Almanzo whom Laura grew up to marry.
I added shiny shank button eyes to this sheep.
Here’s another example of finding just the right fabric. Again I used up most of the fat quarter that I had.
That button eye along with some embroidery floss for horse bangs, added after quilting, gives this horse some personality. By the time I got to this half of the quilt, my quilting was much smoother.
This last block, the music note, was offered as either paper piecing or with a template. Again it was sewn before I attempted the kitten and mouse so I chose to use the template. I would like to sew another one using the paper piecing option. There just might be another Little House on the Prairie Quilt in my future if I can find another Little House fan.
I backed the 66″ x 82″ quilt with blue flannel with brown circles. I challenge you to find the seam down the middle. I worked hard to match those circles.
I machine stitched the striped binding to the front and hand stitched it to the back.
Now, this is one very happy boy who finally has his quilt!
What I Learned Today:
- Repeating a project opens up lots of possibilities for creativity.
- Wrapping a child in a quilt is like hugging them in your arms forever.
- It takes many creative people (fabric designers, pattern designers, sewer, quilter, and a mom—Thanks, mom!) to make a quilt, especially this one.
Question: Are you a “do it once and throw away the pattern” or a “make it again and again” person?