Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Black Susan


Lily and I were surprised to hear from so many Little House on the Prairie fans who might like to sew along with us this summer.  I made this little button for our sew along.  Feel free to share it if you would like and join us!

To recap, Lily is eight and I would love to share my fondness for the Little House series with her but she doesn’t normally like to read books that I suggest.  So, I bribed her a bit!  I told her that we would sew a block or two after each book and make her a quilt.  That sparked her interest.  She started out by reading the first book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods.  In that story, the Ingalls family lives in a log cabin in the Big Woods.  So, we made a log cabin block with 2 1/2″ strips resulting in a 14 1/2″ square.  Our original blog post is here.

Lily sewing

We are half way through reading the second book now. I am reading her a chapter here and there and she is reading to herself as well. But we decided to make a second block for Little House in the Big Woods before moving on.

Black Susan

Our block is Black Susan, the Ingalls’ family cat who was mentioned many times in the first book but the family had to leave her behind when they left the Big Woods. It’s a fairly simple block, like the log cabin, but introduces a couple of half square triangles. You can cut those out using traditional methods, or with a Sizzix die cutter if you have one. We used the diecutter because it gave Lily more independence. I rotary cut the other pieces.  Directions for making half square triangles are widely available so I am not including them here.

Black Susan layout

Here is a little cutting diagram for you.  First, assemble your HST units and trim them to 2 1/2″ square and 4 1/2″ square.  (No trimming is necessary if you are using die cut pieces.) Then, assemble the row with Black Susan’s ears.  Attach that strip to her head and then to her body; set aside.  Next sew the right hand column.  Join these two pieces to complete the cat.  We then added two 2 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ strips of background fabric to either side of the block to bring it up to a 14 1/2″ square like our log cabin. The larger size blocks make them easier for kids to sew.  And, it will make for a larger quilt with fewer blocks which is more satisfying!

We will be back before too long with our first block from Little House on the Prairie. We already have a list of 6 ideas so there will likely be at least two blocks again.


  1. Amy Verne says:

    My children are older now, but I think this is a great summer reading adventure.

  2. What a fun idea to encourage reading! When my daughter homeschooled we did an extended exploration of the Oregon Trail. On a family trip we visited stops in Idaho and Oregon along the old trail. She also created a story that was a journal of a girl along the trail and we made little toys, etc. that a girl would have had then. I love looking back through the materials in her school box. Wonderful memories!

  3. This is such a clever idea. You’re not only making a quilt, you’re making wonderful memories!

  4. That is so ADORABLE!!! and wonderful sewing she is doing! So precise! Plus I love hearing a bit of the story as you go along since I have forgotten so much, such as the cat! Glad you are doing more then one block per book!!! XXOO Cat

  5. Aw, cute!! It always made me a little sad at the beginning of the second book when they had to leave Black Susan behind.

  6. What a wonderful idea! I am reading my way through the classics and I can’t wait to get to this series!
    I love the show, which we just call “Pa” because… Why not? =]
    I am looking forward to seeing what other blocks you decide to do! Thanks!

  7. What could be better than combining sewing and reading! My kids and I loved those books so much and we were living in a cabin in Alaska at the time. So glad to see you sewing with Lily at an early age, and hope it becomes a life-long activity! Even now, thirty-five years later, my daughter and I sew together. For the past few summers, we had Crafty Wednesdays, and now we are doing a Summer Sewing Challenge, where we try something we don’t normally do each week (YES, we started with paper piecing, lol!) Keep sewing, keep reading!

  8. Our girls are in in their 20s now, but they read all of the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder when they were young. I love the idea of combining the love of these books with sewing. It is a precious memory your daughter will never forget! One of my children (I’m not sure which!) visited Laura’s home in Mansfield, MO with her Girl Scout troop.

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