Tag Archives: little house on the prairie quilt

Tu-Na Quilts: Welcome to the Third Week of the 2017 New Quilt Blogger’s Hop

Come on in, sit a spell, and explore my blog for some fun stories and interesting photos as well as quilting goodness. Hi! My name is Karen but I also go by Tu-Na or Tu-Na Quilts or Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats if you want to get very formal. My name came about during a conversation with my grandsons. I wrote my very first blog post about that conversation last April and you can read it here. If you want, you can read more about me here or check out the introductory post that I wrote for last year’s New Quilt Blogger’s Hop here.

I’ve been very busy with family responsibilities the past several months and my first blogiversary came and went without my notice.  However, I’ve got some fun improvements and a belated party planned for my blog in the coming months so stay tuned.

I made my first quilt many years ago when I was 16 and wrote my second blog post about it which you can read here. Almost all the quilts that I make, I give away.


This fun quilt went to live with one of my grandsons since he loves the Little House books.

You can read more about this Little House quilt here and see the block that I designed for it.

Speaking of designing, I designed this coneflower block for last years Cloud 9 Block Hop.


I call this block “Anne’s Flower.” It is easy to sew using a method that I call piecelique–meaning some piecing and some applique. Don’t let that curved stem scare you; it’s easy.

Anne’s Flower pattern is available on Tu-Na’s Pattern Shop on Payhip here

I am constructing a quilt gallery in the tabs at the top where you can see other quilt finishes including my mini laundry day quilt with this 4 inch mini-mini of a lighthouse.


Twenty one years ago, I took a quilting class where I learned how to use a rotary cutter and ruler which revolutionized quilting for me. I wanted to make a quilt for me since I didn’t have a good quilt that fit our queen size bed. I remember attending that class and sharing my strips of fabric with other quilters as they shared theirs with me. This class taught me the importance of accurate cutting.

I took those strips and sewed them into nine patches. I sewed many nine patches and then stuffed them into my fabric cupboard. Every now and then, I’d let them come out to play. I’d sew a few more nine patches, arrange and rearrange them, and then reshelf them while family and work responsibilities took priority.

Four years ago, I rediscovered them and took them over to my mom’s house. This quilt was meant for me and I wanted to get it done. Mom drew up a plan for setting those nine patches and together we laid them out and I sewed.


And then the top sat for another year until I rented time on a longarm and quilted it using a computerized program of hearts.  


Sometimes I see the quilting as leaves or maybe heart shaped leaves.

Other quilts needed to be made and finished first and my quilt was folded and put away. When I was at my North Dakota home for Christmas last year, I unfolded it and machine stitched the binding to the top.


At this point I was tempted to return it to the pile but decided to begin to hand sew the binding to the back.


I didn’t get very far as I had to leave it behind when I flew back to Arizona on January 1st. Finally this spring, while I was on a quick trip back to my North Dakota house, I picked it up and finished hand sewing the binding. There you have the real story behind my quilt lovingly named “My 21 Year Quilt.”


I failed to get a pic of the back or to measure it. It is a generous queen size. I put my extra nine patches on the back. I will post pics and stats when I get back home.

Just in case you missed it, I live in two places: North Dakota in the summer and early fall and Arizona in the winter and spring. I love Arizona in the spring.


This Argentine Giant lives at the house next to us. It was loaded with blooms this year that open in the evening and last only 24 hours. I think I’ve convinced my husband that we need one of these in our yard.

I’ll be posting more pics of beautiful cactus blooms on Wednesday. Speaking of blooming, please visit my fellow Blooming Quilters this week. They know that company’s coming and are waiting for your visit.


These Blooming Quilters are hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl. Thanks, Yvonne!

Tami @Thrift Shop Commando Tami gives modern meaning to the phrase “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Go without.” She shows us a quilt that she’s making for her son out of some thrifted fabric. It’s going to be beautiful.

Sandy @Sandy Star Designs Sandy shows us some great eye candy as she puts it. She also shares a link to her tutorial on how to sew an accurate quarter inch seam. Since I can use all the help I can get, I’m going to have a look at that one.

Karen @Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats That’s me. Thanks for stopping by.

Kathleen @Kathleen McMusing  Kathleen shows her quilt history through pictures of really beautiful quilts. Find out who taught her to sew and how she found her love for quilting. She’s got some great quilting tips and I should pay heed to #2 more as it’s the one that stalls my projects.

Sarah @Designs by Sarah J Sarah has a full basket of accomplishments: fabric designer, Aurifil thread designer, pattern designer, and author. You’ll be able to see some of her quilt designs and take a stroll through some of her other posts to see her Dandy Drive block patterns which you can download for free. I know I want to make some of them.

Also check out the other hosts for the 2017 New Quilt Blogger’s Hop, Leanne @she can quilt and Beth @Cooking Up Quilts, to meet even more quilt bloggers.

Remember to enter the giveaways found on our host blogs. There’s a bunch of prizes from some wonderful sponsors. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to win one so don’t delay as the giveaways are open only for a few days.

Quilting Tip: My quilting tip for you today is to strive to make quilts that are “good enough” and not perfect. If you want perfect, it may take you 21 years to finish.

What I Learned Today:

  1. It is better to have finished after 21 years than not to have finished at all.
  2. I like my 21 Year Quilt as much as I did when I first started it.
  3. My bedroom is still blue. It’s a good thing I don’t redecorate often.
  4. My 21 Year Quilt is still not perfect but it is good enough.

Question: Do you have any older quilts or projects begging to be finished? Here’s a chance to confess how long your project(s) has been shelved and whether you want to finish it or not.

Linking to Monday Making, and Main Crush Monday on Monday; Sew Fresh Quilts on Wednesday; Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, TGIFF, and Finished or Not Friday on Friday. Buttons on my sidebar. and Show Off Saturday on Saturday.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.


Tu-Na Quilts

Tu-Na Quilts: Trunk Show 2016

Here’s some of the quilts I am particularly proud of that I’ve made in the past. I’m linking to Whims and Fancies Trunk Show which showcases quilts. You are invited to check them out (click on this button below) after you get done reading here that is.

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies

This summer I made a plus quilt for our exchange daughter (blog post still coming about it) and gifted it to her in August. You can read more about the quilt by clicking here.


I made two Little House Quilts using Amy Friend’s idea and many of her free patterns found on her During Quite Time Blog. I made the quilt below for my friend’s granddaughter. Click here to read the story of why I made it and for the links to the free patterns.

Gianna's quilt 1a

I made the quilt below for my grandson. I designed the covered wagon block. Close-up pics as well as my post explaining why I chose the blocks I did and links to the patterns (except for the covered wagon) can be found by clicking here.


I like this side by side pic so you can see the differences of these two quilts. The one on the left is definitely more girly and rightfully so since it went to a little girl.


I also made two pixelated giraffe quilts. This first one was for my granddaughter. There are 714 squares that finish at 1.5 inches of quilty cuteness here.

Katherinas quilt 1bbb

Nothing warmed my heart more than when she gave her taste of approval.


I used Minky for the back of both giraffe quilts. They were my first and second attempts at free-motion quilting on my home sewing machine and I loved it. My grandson’s quilt was a bit bigger with 714 squares finishing at two inches. If you look close you can see how I added an eyeball and nostrils when I quilted it. I think he was a bit excited to get it, too.



I have more quilts to show and share but time is running out to get this submitted. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite and that you’ll come back to read more.

Thanks for visiting. If this is your first visit here, welcome to my blog. You can read more about me here and here. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and want to keep up with my adventures, I invite you to follow me by one of the methods found on my sidebar.

What I Learned Today:

  1. There’s nothing like a deadline to motivate me to action.
  2. I am way behind in posting about my quilting, traveling and eating adventures.

Question: What have you been up to lately? For me, I’ve just arrived at my winter home and am busy unpacking, restocking the pantry and refrigerator, and getting reacquainted with the area. I often joke about us being back again at our cabin at winter camp for seniors. First item of business this week is buying a sewing machine since I left mine at my other house. Advice and recommendations are definitely appreciated.



Tu-Na Quilts: Blogger’s Quilt Festival Update

You may recall that I entered two quilts in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival in September. I wrote about the Little House Quilt here and the Plus Quilt here. While both of those quilts received votes neither received enough to win in their categories.

The Plus Quilt received 34 votes. That’s more than just my family and friends voting for it and so I thank you so very much. All of the quilts that were entered were gorgeous and I spent many hours looking at them and reading the posts.


While my quilts didn’t get enough votes to win a prize, I did win something for leaving a comment on Amy’s Creative Side blog. Thanks, Amy! She notified me of the win and then I proceeded to forget all about it. I was full-swing into the apple harvest (read about that here) and had other things on my mind. Three weeks later, I found this in my mailbox.


Next Steps in Machine Quilting: Free-Motion & Walking-Foot Designs by Natalia Bonner


I haven’t had much time to read it (we are still drying apples and making lots of apple dishes and desserts) but it looks incredible and I know I will use it a lot when I quilt. The book includes many diagrams of how to sew the various patterns and I can’t wait to have time to practice some of them.


It was even autographed by the author!


I have Natalia’s previous book, Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, and found it to be interesting and helpful when I was quilting the giraffe quilts. This new book will surely raise the bar (or should I say “raise the presser foot”) for me as a quilter!

What I Learned Today:

  1. I like reading quilting books just as much as my husband likes to read his sci-fi paperbacks.
  2. Sometimes being forgetful is exciting as it gave me this nice surprise.

Question: Do you read quilting books just for fun or do you read them to learn to do?

Linking to Sew Fresh Quilts, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? and Finished or Not Friday (buttons on the side bar)


Tu-Na Quilts: Once is Good but Twice is Better

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.


This quilt tells the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This story is very popular here in North Dakota as Laura lived for a while not too far away from here in South Dakota.

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.


Instead of the traditional log cabin block called for in the pattern, I adapted this pattern from The Quilter’s Cache.

Log cabin1a

I found fabric that looked like stacked logs and couldn’t resist including some under the window. I can picture Pa coming out of the door and getting some logs to put on the fire.

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.


Another block that was added was for their dog, Jack. The pattern came from Lorna’s Sew Fresh Quilts blog and can be found here (dog #5).


I sewed this top in December and left my “perfect” fabric for this dog at my other house which meant another trip to the local fabric store.

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.


According to my grandson, Laura wanted a pair of red mittens for Christmas and her wish was fulfilled. The red sock-monkey fabric gave the perfect look of knitted mittens.

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.

Can’t you just see this covered wagon bouncing along this prairie? I can’t remember where I found this perfect background fabric or who the designer was. All I know is that I used up most of the fat quarter that I bought.

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.

 Since Pa worked on the railroad and because the train delivered food to the town during the long winter, I added a locomotive to the quilt.

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.


My mom hand embroidered the kitten’s nose and mouth. I sewed on green buttons for eyes after the top was quilted and bound.

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.


Every time Laura ran to the window that long winter, she saw snow. This was the snowy blizzard fabric I finally found to use for the window.

I tried sewing wavy lines and called this quilting stitch “the drunken path”  Although  “learning to drive” would have been more kid-friendly.


In one of the books, Laura got a job sewing men’s shirts. I put a removable handkerchief in the pocket and carefully sewed on buttons so that the thread wasn’t visible from the back. If I had thought ahead, I would have put buttonholes on the shirt collar. Oh, well, maybe I’ll have to make this one a third time. 

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.



 Grasshoppers ate Pa’s wheat. Talk about finding the perfect fabric! 

My mom hand embroidered the wheat stems and also the things on the chalkboard that Laura might have taught her students. Thanks, mom!


Laura became a school teacher.


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. 



More farming woes; the blackbirds ate Pa’s corn crop. Check out that little beady eye.

The pattern provided two ways to make this feather block: paper pieced or template.


The Indian told Pa that a long winter was coming or as my grandson tells it “heap big snow, many moons.”

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.


The Ingalls family tapped sugar maples and made maple syrup.



Laura saw many stars in the prairie sky especially an extra large one.


Several of the blocks told the story of Almanzo whom Laura grew up to marry.


Almanzo raised a milk-fed pumpkin and took first prize.



This barn represents the several barns on Almanzo’s family farm.



Almanzo’s dad challenged him to get all the wool into the loft of the barn before they finished shearing the sheep. He won. You’ll have to read the story of Farmer Boy to find out how he accomplished that.


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.


This horse could represent either Almanzo’s or Pa’s horse.


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.


Music was an important part of Laura’s life; Pa played the fiddle, the family sang together, and Laura and Almanzo took singing lessons while courting.


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.

edge 1a


Now, this is one very happy boy who finally has his quilt!


What I Learned Today:

  1. Repeating a project opens up lots of possibilities for creativity.
  2. Wrapping a child in a quilt is like hugging them in your arms forever.
  3. 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?

Linking this week to Beth for Main Crush Monday, Lorna for Let’s Bee Social , Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River, Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts and Show off Saturday at Sew Can She.