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Little House on the Prairie Inspired Quilts

Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little House on the Prairie Inspired Quilts

Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little House on the Prairie Inspired Quilts
The Little House books inform of the lifetime of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up in the Midwest throughout a time of pioneering enlargement and exploration. These beloved youngsters’s books have been made much more fashionable by the “Little House on the Prairie” tv collection.

Baby Carrie wrapped in a quilt in the Little House on the Prairie Pilot.

Child Carrie wrapped in a quilt in the “Little House on the Prairie” pilot.

Quilts and Their Position in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Life

Youngsters and adults alike proceed to be fascinated by the partaking story of what life was like throughout the pioneer period. In an age when individuals needed to make do to outlive, quilting performed a pure and very important position. Stitching expertise basically have been necessary in the lives of girls on the prairie.

Caroline Ingalls understood the significance of educating her youngsters to stitch. In a time earlier than central heating, when a heat residence in the winter may solely be 55 levels, having numerous quilts was a matter of survival. Quilts weren’t solely used for bedding, however they have been additionally hung in home windows and doorways to dam drafts.

They have been hung from ropes to create ‘divisions’ in an in any other case one-room cabin, offering privateness in cramped quarters. They have been additionally used as padding to guard valuable belongings when touring cross nation.

Quilts were used for privacy and warmth in pioneer era | Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder

A “Chimney Sweep” sample quilt hangs in the Ingalls log cabin. From the “Little House on the Prairie” pilot.

Caroline’s marriage in 1860 coincided with the begin of the Civil Warfare. Material manufacturing was put on maintain whereas wartime wants have been met. As valuable bits of cloth, batting, and even thread have been used to provide troopers, the type of quilting modified to mirror the restricted assets out there. Whereas quilts of the 1850s have been made from store-bought material, quilts of wartime America have been manufactured from valuable scraps and recycled, worn clothes.

By the time Mary and Laura have been born in 1865 and 1867, not solely had the Struggle simply ended, however Charles and Caroline have been dwelling in the wilderness. Journeys to city have been far and few between, and reserved for requirements. When clothes might not be reduce down and remade, the material was then recycled into quilts. Items that have been too tiny to be a bit of patchwork have been sewn collectively to make a bit giant sufficient to grow to be usable in patchwork.

Quilts and Stitching Expertise of the Pioneers

Quilts, very principally, are textile sandwiches, made up of a prime layer, which is patterned, both by attaching shapes on prime of a background material by a way referred to as appliqué, or by stitching collectively geometric shapes of cloth to create a brand new material, which is known as patchwork. The center layer of the sandwich is the batting, and the backside layer is the backing of the quilt.

Kids have been taught to stitch from the time they might maintain a needle, typically as early as three or four years previous. Widespread patterns for youngsters had easy designs that used squares as their foremost element, reminiscent of the 9 Patch. This can be a sample Laura talks of creating, and one Mary was capable of work with even after dropping her sight.

9-Patch Quilt Block Example by Linda Halpin | Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder

A 9 patch quilt from Linda Halpin.

As soon as primary stitching expertise have been mastered, different extra difficult patterns might be made. Laura talks of creating a Bear’s Paw quilt. The bias edges of the triangles, as proven on this Bear’s Paw block, made it a trickier block to stitch. It was a problem to maintain the seams clean and neat.

A Bear's Paw Block Example by Linda Halpin | Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder

A Bear’s Paw Quilt Block from Linda Halpin.

Colours of the day have been sometimes these made with pure dyes, like the dyes described on this How you can Create Inexperienced Dye submit. Steadily, colours made with artificial dyes that have been colorfast, turned extra available, and materials turned extra colourful.

An example of a quilt made with fabrics that were naturally dyed | Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder

An instance of utilizing pure dyes in a quilt.

The good marvel of those colorfast materials might clarify why, over 50 years later, Laura was capable of describe in nice element the materials used for clothes that she noticed as a toddler. Listed here are some passages from Little House in the Massive Woods:

“In the morning Pa was there. He had brought candy for Laura and Mary, and two pieces of pretty calico to make them each a dress. Mary’s was a china-blue pattern on a white ground, and Laura’s was dark red with little golden-brown dots on it. Ma had calico for a dress, too; it was brown, with a big feathery white pattern all over it.”

And later, once they went to Grandma’s home:
“Aunt Docia’s dress was a sprigged print, dark blue, with sprigs of red flowers and green leaves thick upon it.”

“Aunt Ruby’s dress was wine-colored calico, covered all over with a feathery pattern in lighter wine color.”

“Grandma’s dress was beautiful too; a dark blue calico with autumn-colored leaves scattered over it.”

The Improvement of Named Quilt Block Patterns

Quilts of the 1870s have been sometimes what we might name scrap quilts immediately. Patterns have been distributed by way of women magazines, typically with no directions. As a result of it was anticipated that ladies would know tips on how to sew and find out how to match items collectively, magazines typically solely confirmed a drawing of what was referred to as “a patchwork block”.

The significance of quilts in Laura’s life is clear from her writing. Whereas she mentions quilts over 70 occasions in her tales, there are solely three patterns Laura mentions by identify:

  • 9 Patch
  • Bear’s Paw
  • Doves in the Window (the sample Laura made for her hope chest)

In Laura’s youth, patterns have been extra typically referred to basically phrases. It wasn’t till quilt patterns have been bought in mail-order catalogs of the 1890s that patterns got particular person names, and Laura’s reference to patterns by identify is probably going a results of her writing about the patterns a few years later.

Maple Leaf: a variation of a Nine Patch Pattern | Quilting with Little House on the Prairie

Maple Leaf: a variation of a 9 Patch Sample.

So whereas it has been lengthy assumed that the 9 Patch quilts Laura speaks of have been merely 9 squares sewn collectively, they could actually have been many various patterns akin to the Maple Leaf sample above. Or perhaps a 9 Patch variation. We might by no means know.

More intricate variation of the Nine Patch Pattern | Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder

9 Patch Variation: Block is split into 9 unequal segments.

Quilting and Stitching Helped Laura All through Her Life

The stitching expertise Caroline handed on to her youngsters served them properly. Laura wrote of getting to redo stitching that didn’t meet with Ma’s approval. Caroline’s demand for perfection instilled a way of satisfaction and accomplishment in her youngsters that carried over into different areas of their lives.

Whereas stitching was not Ma’s favourite chore, nor was it Laura’s, there have been a number of occasions that Laura ‘hired out’ to work for seamstresses on the town. By way of her stitching expertise, she was capable of contribute cash to assist ship Mary to school.

And after the hardships endured by Almanzo and Laura in the early years of their marriage, she as soon as once more turned to stitching, utilizing the cash she earned to make a down cost on the 40 acres they purchased in Mansfield, Missouri that turned Rocky Ridge Farm.

And it was Laura’s proficiency in hand stitching that made an enduring impression on her daughter Rose. In the introduction to On The Method Residence, Laura’s diary of their transfer from South Dakota to Missouri, Rose writes:
“One day my mother made sixty good firm buttonholes in one hour, sixty minutes, nobody else could work so well, so fast. And every day, six days a week, she earned a dollar.”

Little House on the Prairie® Quilt Materials Delivered to Life!

Now, these a few years after Laura’s tales have been saved for these of us who treasure them so, she continues to fireside our creativeness. In October of 2015, Andover Materials launched three strains of Little House on the Prairie® materials.

  • Walnut Grove: Named for the city in Minnesota the place Laura’s household settled in 1874, the Walnut Grove assortment options prints from the period that their quilts would have been comprised of.
  • Prairie Flowers: The quilts of the Little House on the Prairie TV present function daring, brilliant prints that gave the present its life and colour. The Prairie Flowers assortment is a rainbow wave of calicos, impressed by the TV quilts.
  • Scenics and Icons: Inspired by the illustrations present in the novels, this assortment options iconic imagery comparable to the operating woman, wagon, little cabin, and the majestic surroundings. This can be a pure end material, paying homage to the rustic roots of Laura’s tales.
Andover's Little House on the Prairie new quilting fabric line - brilliant colors and designs!

A sneak peek at Andover Material’s new Little House on the Prairie® material assortment.

Many of those materials have been bought out.  A number of of the materials are nonetheless out there to buy on-line at Fats Quarter Store.

In 2015, Andover Materials invited me to create a quilt utilizing material from their newly launched material strains impressed by Little House on the Prairie. Utilizing material from all three strains and blocks from my guide Quilting with Laura, I created Little House Sampler.



The Little House Sampler sample is a 22-page booklet containing instructions for 9 patchwork blocks that inform the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House adventures. Whereas Quilting with Laura is geared in the direction of hand piecing, the Little House Sampler sample makes use of all machine piecing methods. The booklet features a shade photograph of the quilt, in addition to full-size templates for the blocks constructed from templates. Non-template blocks are constructed with precision machine piecing methods. The detailed instructions embrace step-by-step coloured illustrations, making it good for all ranges of quiltmaking expertise, from the newbie to the superior stitcher.

For those who too want to design your personal Laura quilt, please go to my web site to take a look at and order my e-book Quilting with Laura or my new sample. Decide and select which blocks will inform your story!

Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder by Linda Halpin

Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder by Linda Halpin

Do you will have a favourite quilt reminiscence? Be sure you share your tales in the remark part under and subscribe to the free publication for cloth and craft updates.

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Linda Halpin

Linda Halpin has been educating quiltmaking all through the United States and Canada for over 40 years. A graduate of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America’s Instructor Certification Program in Quiltmaking, Linda is writer of seven quiltmaking books and quite a few patterns. Her e-book “Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie Series” has one thing for each talent degree.

Linda Halpin

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