Little House on the Prairie Sampler Project

Lily Sewing

When I was a little girl, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie series.  I absolutely loved it. I proceeded to watch the Little House series on tv when I was a little bit older and have reread the books several times.  I really think that my 8 year old, Lily, would love the series.  However, anytime my husband or I try to get the kids to read something we think they will like, they automatically do not want to read it.  So, I devised a spur of the moment plan for this summer that feels genius!  I think it might work but time will tell.  I told Lily that after each book she read, we could design and sew a quilt block that has something to do with the book and then make it into a quilt for her.  She jumped at the chance and quickly read the first book, Little House in the Big Woods.

Little House in the Big Woods Log Cabin Block

With a little help, she settled on the log cabin block for her first block. I told her the name of the block and she quickly saw how it related to the story since the Ingalls family lived in a little log cabin in the woods.  I thought it would be a good beginner block too.  She chose all of her own fabrics from my stash. She went with meadow flowers for the center, greens for the woods and grasses, and blues for the water and sky.  I did the cutting and ironing but she did the sewing. I told her that she could do the ironing too next time.  Some of the blocks she will be able to cut with the Sizzix and therefore do even more of it on her own.

Sewing Speed

I wonder if any little girls out there would like to sew along with us?  I can’t promise how frequently we will post but I am going to try my best to encourage Lily to finish this project.  We might do a little of the reading together too.

I have a couple of tips to pass on.  If you have the option of reducing the speed of your machine, turning it way down low helps greatly with accuracy for beginners.

quarter inch seamIt also really helped Lily to have a washi tape guide to help her keep to the 1/4″ seam, even with the 1/4″ presser foot.

Lily is reading Little House on the Prairie now and already thinking that she might want a horse for her next block but she isn’t far enough into the book to know for sure!

Edited to add:  This is just a traditional log cabin block.  Start by cutting a 2 1/2″ center square and build out with 2 1/2″ strips.  Finished block size is 14″ (unfinished is 14 1/2″).


  1. Oh I love this idea! The Little House books have a very special place in my heart, too 🙂
    Perhaps a covered wagon??? Oh I do hope she sticks with it 🙂

  2. I don’t know about little girls (my little girl is many years from sewing or reading) but I love this idea, Amy! I hope Lily gets really into the books. My mom always let us skip Farmer Boy so that we would not get thrown off track! I can’t wait to see what other blocks you guys come up with.

  3. Mona Keegan says:

    Dear Amy, what a beautiful log cabin block. The selections are perfection! Love these books as well and think sewing along with them makes them even better. Enjoy your summer of stories and sewing.

  4. Definitely a faborite series of mine, too! I had most of the books about her daughter, mother, grandma and great-grandma, too!! This is a great idea for sewing with little girls – I’ll have to keep it in mind for when my daughter gets to be that age! As a South Dakota native who grew up about 30min from “the little town on the prairie” (my town even gets mentioned in the Long Winter!), I hope you can find time to visit the Ingalls’ homestead someday… Several buildings are still around, there are tours and covered wagon rides, and you can attend a pageant. Anyways, keep it in mind for future vacations 🙂 Anyways, I look forward to seeing what other blocks she designs!

  5. Such a perfect project for Lily and she is off to a great start! Love that picture of her at the machine; she looks very excited. I know that the two of you will enjoy this project!

  6. This is a wonderful idea and I am looking forward to seeing the quilt progressing. I also loved these books 40 years ago but I was never a fan of the TV series. Same with Anne of Green Gables.

  7. What a creative idea! I read all the Little House books out loud to my boys when they were young. I wish I had thought of making quilt blocks with them, they would have loved it!

  8. What a wonderful idea Amy! I read a shortened version of the story to my 2 oldest boys in the library last week. They were sort of interested in the historical part, but I could see how they were geared toward girls. I love this! I wonder if I can convince my 7 year old to play along. I was thinking of letting him try to make a quilt with charms this summer. Although I was thinking we’d end up with Batman or football fabric. 🙂

  9. Hi Amy
    I just started reading the series to my boys! I loved it so much as a girl.
    Hmmm….I wonder if my boys would sew along with you……

  10. What a brilliant idea! I also loved the books so much as a girl and had saved the entire collection in case I had a daughter! Luckily, I was blessed with one last month. I will have to keep this in mind as a fun summer project to do together once she is old enough to sew with me! Can’t wait to see the progress you and your daughter make on this project.

  11. Totally brilliant? My 9 year old would probably like that too.

  12. Ha,that should not have been a question mark! 🙂

  13. I loved Laura Ingall’s books too ! Don’t forget to buy her the cook book, so you can have the authentic cookies or cakes in breaks in between sewing…… May I suggest for later on Flying Geese, because they play a prominent role in the time leading up to the harsh winters. Have fun sewing !

  14. Margaret says:

    how love;y that Lily is stitching and what a great eye she has for choosing fabrics, a lovely selection and also a beautifully made block. Sorry my girls are 42 and 38 and granddaughter is 16 none of whom are the slightest bit interested in stitching, such a shame

  15. Such a fabulous block and a great idea.

  16. What a fantastic idea. My kids balk at reading my recommended books too (Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, etc). My 8 year old turns up her nose everytime I mention a Little House book. I will have to see if this bribery works for her and we may sew along too.

  17. Alicia Key says:

    A going-to-be-3rd-grader came to sew with me last week. She’ll be here again tomorrow! She’s such a fast learner! Last week we sewed lines on paper- straight ones and a maze. Then made a pot holder with straight strips sewn for the sides, layered it and zigzagged around the edge. For tomorrow I had planned making a bookmark but perhaps she’d like a log cabin instead! Good idea!

  18. This is such a fantastic idea and S has been itching to sew more than straight lines on paper! We’ve made it through Little Cabin in the Big Woods but haven’t gone through anything else yet – we’re all in! Your daughter did such a great job on her block!

  19. Brilliant idea Amy! Love the idea that the blocks are going to coordinate with the books. What a win-win project! Great reading, learning sewing and quilting skills and ending up with a quilt with a treasury of memories built in. The joys of summer vacation in a creative family!

  20. What a fabulous project one lily will remember forever. I would love for Colette to sew along with you but she has no interest In little house series…we own them but she doesn’t want to read them! Maybe we can do similar project with different book? I didn’t realize you had an 8 year old too! I’ll let you know how my pitch goes with her.

  21. GENIUS!!! 100x over! I loved the books! Passed down from my older sisters and sitting in my bookcase, very old hardbacks that are beat-up and loved. I could never get my daughter into them not to mention she never became a reader! Boo Hoo. HOWEVER yours is SO CUTE! and you must be thrilled!! Genius! XXOO Cat

  22. Barbara says:

    This is a great idea Amy… Lily is lucky to have a cool mom with a great stash! I was also a fan of “Little House” as a kid… after watching the TV show, my sisters and I used to beg for our hair to be done in “Nellie Oleson curls.” Have fun!

  23. This post made my day!!! I too LOVED Little House, the books, the show, pretending to be Laura, being Laura for like 7 Halloweens….such a fun idea for your girl! My girl is only 2 but I’ll stash this great idea away for years to come…maybe by then you will have posted your girl’s Little House quilt all finished!!

  24. I just finished reading the series to my 5 yo. And she’s itching for a new ‘learn-to-sew-with-mommy’ project. I think she would love this project!

  25. Great idea so inspiring and creative. I also loved watching the Little House series on tv when I was a child.I hope we could see your daughter’s quilt in progress. Love from Spain 🙂

  26. I just finished a quilt for my soon to be 8 year old niece – who loves horses – using the Wee Wonder fabric by Sara Jane. I Have enough left over of the print with the horses on it that I could send to Lily for her project. I fussy cut out the horse, she could do the same and incorporate it into another log cabin. LMK – the fabric was hard to find so I do not mind sharing. I also have some of the fire flys left over too. For that matter I have a bit of the whole line left over so take a look at the print and see if you would like it.

  27. What a coincidence! No kids in this house but my husband and I read to each other before bed every night and we just finished the first two books. (I have the whole set and they’ve been my favorites since I was seven.) Love your quilt idea. We’ve been thinking of a road trip to Independence, Kansas and Laura’s houses in Missouri (we’ve been to the Wisconsin cabin and De Smet, SD already.) You could do flying geese, school house block…so many ideas. I will definitely follow along. 🙂

  28. Great idea!! I love her color choices too. Even more than that, I love that she picked out a Jennifer Paganelli print!! She has such good taste. Hope she loves all the wonderful books she reads this summer.



  29. My name is Lily too but you have to add a zero after 8! A friend introduced me to the Little House books couple of years ago. I love love love them! I have already read them 3 times. I think I will make the blocks along with Lily and when completed give them to my granddaughter Laura. You and Lily have added so much pleasure to my day.
    Thank you.

  30. angiesue says:

    What wonderful timing! My goal this summer was to get my girls (10,12) to read the Little House books and Anne of Green Gables books. They read constantly, but won’t pick up a book I recommend. I had decided just to bribe them with cash ….but I like your idea better. Thanks so much…I’ve got to go talk to the girls!

  31. Well, I’m not a little girl anymore, but I would love to follow along–such a great series! I can’t wait to see what the next block will be! Great job on your block Lily!

  32. I would love to try to sew along. My 5 1/2 year old daughter keeps asking to learn to sew. Will have to see how she does.

  33. What a fun idea! My daughter Aria is 9 and so loves those books. I’m sure she’d be totally excited to sew along and I’d be more than happy to help her. If you are interesting in sharing tutorials for the less-obvious blocks that would be doable. Only thing is I don’t have a special cutter, so hopefully that won’t be a trouble. Will keep my ears out to see if you announce an official sew-along for girls! Let me know if you need help.

  34. Great idea! Those books weren’t big here, but we had our own long standing series to play with. I still don’t take my dad’s advice in books though, he has weird tastes lol

  35. Dianne Ritter says:

    you are such a good mom! great way to start a love of reading and sewing.

  36. I love this project! The books, the quilting, the time for you and Lily to share. It’s the stuff from which memories are made. I can’t wait to see more, so I hope Lily wants to continue!

  37. What a wonderful idea to spend the summer with your daughter reading and sewing together – the Little House books are wonderful and my two daughters adored them and the tv series. I hope that one day one of my granddaughters will want to do the same with me. Tess is 9 and already likes to sew and create and I think she would love to do this – I am sure she would love the Little House books too. Neve is 7 and not so much into practical creating – she loves to dance and sing and act – I don’t think she could stay still long enough to read for long or to sew – but she could act out the stories. I really admire all the blocks you have designed to represent the series of books, they are beautiful – congratulations. What is daughter reading next – I can’t wait!

  38. Carole Whiteleather says:

    A friend just told me about this blog. Want to do this with my granddaughter who is a big fan of “Little House on the Prairie”. What size strips did you use for the log cabin block?

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