Little House on the Prairie; Maple Leaf

My 7 year old, Penny, just finished sewing her Maple Leaf block for our Little House on the Prairie sew along.  This block design was actually contributed by a little girl named Caitlyn who sewed along with us a few years ago when I made this quilt with my older daughter.

To refresh your memory, this is Caitlyn and her completed quilt from the first Little House on the Prairie sewalong.  Caitlyn just won a second place ribbon for another quilt that she entered into QuiltCon this year!  How exciting for her!

Both of my girls are feeling sick this weekend so we are taking it easy.  Penny decided that she still wanted to sew her maple leaf though.  As she sat down at the sewing machine she said “I’m just like you Mommy!  I am wearing a robe and slippers and sewing!”  She said it with a great deal of pride which made me laugh. It’s true, I walk around most of the day in the winter with my robe and slippers (over my clothes I might add, not over pjs) just for added warmth because our old house is drafty and I am always cold.  It’s probably how my kids will remember me! It could be worse. Come to think of it, I can clearly remember the robe that my mom lived in during my childhood. And it evokes pretty happy memories.

It’s fun watching Penny make her fabric selections.  She leans towards incorporating solids into her blocks and her sister was only interested in prints.  I can’t wait to see how different their two quilts look once they are done.

For this block, we made 4 half square triangle units. I don’t want Penny using a rotary cutter yet but wanted to give her the chance to cut along the line separating the units. I bought these scissors when I started sewing with my kids and recommend them:

They are inexpensive yet work well on fabric. I recently bought a number of pairs to use with my Girl Scout troop as we work on our sewing badge. They are a worthwhile investment AND keep the kids away from your good scissors!  It’s important to explain to your child how they have to work their fingers to pull the blades together when cutting.  It took Penny a moment to catch on but then she was all set.  She doesn’t need to squeeze her hand like that with the kids craft scissors.  So, it’s another good lesson!

We are making our way through Farmer Boy still.  We are probably half way.  Maybe next weekend we will make another block.  Please join in!  All the posts can be found here.  Remember to click on Lily’s version for full instructions.

Little House on the Prairie Sewalong; Bunny

My cute little second grader finished up her fourth block in the Little House on the Prairie Sewalong over the weekend!  When we finish a block, I am never sure who feels more victorious, me or my child.  It’s a lot of work to sew with a child, there’s no getting around that!  But it is very rewarding too.

This block is supposed to represent Pet and Patty, the two horses that Pa bought to pull the wagon from the little house in the big woods to the little house on the prairie.  But, in the book Little House on the Prairie, there is a new baby colt named Bunny, as well.  So, Penny has decided that her block is Bunny.  She chose a textured solid background for her block and went right for one of my favorite stashed woodgrain prints for the mane and tail. She thought that they looked like hair and I couldn’t disagree with that good choice.

This block is sewn with templates. I precut the pieces for Penny and then had her tell me which order she thought that we should sew them in by looking at the key on the pattern sheets.  She was very good at it and could see right away what she had to do. I was impressed. I did all the pinning because there are lots of angled pieces in this block and they are tricker to pin.  She did all the sewing though and did a fabulous job!

We hope you will join us and sew along!  All the instructions for this block can be found in my earlier post right here.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Mary’s Nine Patch

Penny just completed the third block for her Little House on the Prairie Quilt!  Information about the free sewalong and the block pattern can be found here.

In The Little House on the Prairie, Mary is sewing nine patch blocks.  It’s the perfect block for a beginner sampler like this because it’s easy!  And it gave me the chance to teach Penny about chain piecing and nesting seams too.  In this book, Mary and Laura spent hours watching bunnies in the tall prairie grass so as soon as Penny spotted this lavender bunny print in my stash, she knew she wanted to use it.  I think it was the perfect choice.  It has just a touch of red to coordinate with her log cabin block and she paired the lavender with aqua which she also used in the log cabin.

Remember to post images of your blocks on Instagram using the hashtag #littlehousealong. If you want to tag me too, @duringquiettime, I will be sure to see it sooner and can compliment you on your work!

Today, I am a guest blogger on The Quilter’s Planner blog, talking about ways to introduce your child to sewing.  If you have a younger child and think that they might not be quite ready for this project yet, maybe you will enjoy some of my tips.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Black Susan

Penny finished sewing her Black Susan block this afternoon, the second and final block to accompany the Little House in the Big Woods book.  We are a couple of chapters into Little House on the Prairie and will be back with more blocks when we are done reading it.  There has been some controversy within our house over the order of the books in the Little House series.  The books that I have from my childhood list Farmer Boy after Little House on the Prairie.  The new set that Penny got for Christmas, lists Farmer Boy first.  We decided that it doesn’t really matter because Farmer Boy stands on its own anyway.  So we are readying Little House on the Prairie next to keep going in the same order that I read the books with Lily.  If you are sewing along, do what works for you!

We didn’t have a lot of black fabric in the house so we decided to use this more loosely woven black fabric.  It reminded me to mention that it’s so much easier to keep to tightly woven quilting cottons when you are sewing with kids.  They stretch more and can be more frustrating for the beginner sewist.  Also, always check how much fabric you have before your child gets her heart set on it!  Penny chose this butterfly print from Lizzy House and then we realized that I only had a 12 1/2″ high piece and it needs to be 14 1/2″.  We couldn’t make the butterflies sideways so we pieced the strips.  She was happy with that solution because she really wanted to use the purple.  We also talked a little about fabric selection. She really wanted this block to be purple but I pointed out that it would be next to her red and aqua log cabin block in her quilt top. I suggested looking for a print that was purple but had a touch of one of those colors to help make it work.

Please remember that all the block tutorials and information about this sew along can be found by clicking on the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along link in the header of my blog.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along–Take Two!

In 2014, I started a sew along to make this Little House on the Prairie Sampler quilt.  It was sewn by my daughter Lily, who was in second grade at the time.  We read the books together and designed a couple of blocks per book.  I shared all the tutorials on my blog so that others could sew along with us!  We used the hashtag #littlehousealong on Instagram to share pictures.  Lily chose all her own fabrics and did all the sewing.  I did the cutting and ironing.  Well, Lily’s sister, Penny, is now in second grade so it’s time for the Little House on the Prairie Sampler quilt take two!

This is Penny’s first real machine sewing project and she felt pretty proud of her finished block!  This is a log cabin block because the Ingalls family was living in a log cabin in the Big Woods.

If you would like to sew along with us, I created a new page that lists all the tutorials.  If you look up at the top of my blog, there are a number of links along the header. One of them says “Little House on the Prairie Sew Along.”  Click there and it will bring you to a picture of the finished quilt and links to Lily’s version of each block which will include the tutorials.  And I will add links to share Penny’s versions as we go so that you can see how the blocks look in different fabrics.  That might help your children as they select their colors!

Another Little House on the Prairie Quilt!

Gianna's quilt

Are you familiar with my Little House on the Prairie Sew Along?  We finished up last year but the tutorials for all the blocks are still available on my blog.  Just search for “Little House on the Prairie” in the search field found in the side bar and you will be able to pull up all the posts.  My daughter and I read all the Little House books and I designed blocks to go with each book.  I then sewed them with my daughter, letting her choose all the fabrics and do all the stitching.

Well, today I wanted to share a reader’s finished quilt. Isn’t it lovely?  She added all sorts of extra details, like whiskers on the cat!  This quilt was made by  Karen Thurn of Tu-Na Quilts.  She shared a lovely story to go with it that I am reposting with her permission:

“It was made for my friend’s 7 year old grandchild in celebration of a prayer that was answered last weekend. Since she could talk, she’s prayed nightly for a daddy. Her mother was married on the 17th and there was a surprise adoption blessing at the end of the ceremony. This little girl loves the Little House books and is now just starting to read them herself. I live too far from her to have her help with the sewing.  But I did ask her what her favorite colors were so I concentrated on the pink, purple, and blues.  My mother added the hand embroidery and the ABC blocks were hand satin stitched. It took her 2 days.

Now my 5 year old grandson wants one too as he is a big fan of Laura—his parents took him to DeSmet SD this summer and they slept in a covered wagon. Only he wants a covered wagon, real log cabin, pair of red mittens, and an ox. So I’ll have to do some designing and switching out of some of the blocks. I might even try designing a fiddle. His colors are orange, blue, green and brown. Should be fun.”

Karen mentioned that she had trouble piecing the geese in the sunset and that it helped to not cut off the tips of the pattern pieces (as shown on the pattern pieces themselves) but rather leave the tips triangular until the whole block is assembled and then trim.  Good tip Karen!  I do that myself.


Thank you for sharing your quilt and it’s story Karen!


Caitlyn’s Little House on the Prairie Quilt


Caitlyn's quilt


Oh, I can’t begin to tell you how happy this picture makes me!  This Little House on the Prairie Sew Along quilt was completed by Caitlyn and her mom, Tiffany.  Can you believe that Caitlyn is only in kindergarten?  Tiffany and Caitlyn have been so much fun during this sew along. They contributed the maple leaf block, shared each block with me on IG, and chatted through email.  Tiffany was nearly always the first to check out the new block patterns and caught a couple of typos in them which saved all of you from cutting mistakes and me from embarrassment.  I just love the energy with which they approached this project and how fun that made it for me and Lily.

We are thinking that we might have to do this again in a couple of years!

If you would like to make a Little House on the Prairie quilt, it’s not too late!  The block ideas and patterns will remain on my blog so you can jump in when you have the time and desire.  The best way to pull up all the posts is to type in “little house on the prairie” in the Search bar near the top of my sidebar.

Thank you again Tiffany and Caitlyn for sewing with us and for allowing me to share the picture of your completed quilt here.  If you finish a Little House quilt, make sure you email me a picture!


Lily’s Quilt on Exhibit


Lily's Quilt On Exhibit

Lily’s quilt was just hung up at the town library this morning where it will be on display for the next two months. She is very proud!  Thank you for everyone who has sent me email messages or left comments here or on IG letting me know how much you have enjoyed sharing in our sew along progress.  We have appreciated each and every comment.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along Complete!


Little House on the Prairie Quilt

I’m happy to share my 9 year old daughter’s completed quilt!  If you have been sewing along with us, you know that Lily and I have been reading the Little House series.  As we read, I design blocks to go with the story and she sews them.  She selected her own fabrics.  I cut.  She sewed.  She learned a bit about traditional piecing, hand stitching, applique, templates and even paper piecing so it was a great learning experience.  She put a lot of time and effort into the quilt.  I did the final steps myself; I sewed the top together, basted, quilted and bound.  We were under a little time pressure because her quilt is going to hang at the public library next month. Also, I think that all of that would have been frustrating for Lily. This way, we ended on a high note and she is eager to do more sewing.

Lily chose her sashing and cornerstone fabrics as well as the layout.  All the blocks are in the order in which they were sewn except we switched the pumpkin and the barn, both blocks from Farmer Boy, because the pumpkin and blackbird would have been in the same row with the same background fabric.

If you choose to sash and use cornerstones like Lily, cut 30 cornerstones 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square. Cut 49 sashing strips measuring 2 1/2″ x 14 1/2″. You will need approximately  1/4 yard for cornerstones and a yard and a quarter for sashing.

If you are just learning about our sew along and would like to make a Little House quilt, scroll down my blog and look on the sidebar for a search button (down a ways) and type “little house on the prairie” and all the block patterns and blog posts will come up.  Tag your pictures on Instagram with @duringquiettime and #littlehousealong. I can’t wait to see them!


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Musical Notes


Lily with musical notes
Can you remember way back to the beginning of the sew along?  I warned you that we were designing the blocks as we read the Little House series and that the goal was 2-3 blocks per book but that we reserved the right to go back at the end and add a block from an earlier book.  Well, we did just that!  The last book of the series ends on a very sad note (no pun intended). Laura and Almanzo lose their infant son and shortly after, their house burns to the ground.  We didn’t want to design a block around either of those subjects.  In The First Four Years, they acquire a flock of sheep but we already have a sheep block. They lose wheat crops but we already have a wheat block.  Indians visited…but we already have the Indian feather block.  As you can see, many of the blocks could work for many of the books because the subjects come up over and over again. I suggested that we try to think of another subject like that and we came up with music.  Laura grew up to the sounds of her Pa’s fiddle.  Later, she spends her teaching money on an organ for Mary.  And finally, she and Almanzo go to singing lessons while they are courting.



I couldn’t design the block and be happy with it without paper piecing but Lily was eager to try since she always sees me paper piecing.  We made our block using that method.  But you can try templates if you are opposed to paper piecing or think it would be too frustrating for the child you are sewing with.  Or, you could applique.

The paper piecing foundation can be downloaded here.

The templates can be downloaded here.

Note that some pieces will need to be taped together since they are so large. The finished blocks are 14 1/2″ for this sew along.

I hope you have enjoyed this sew along!  Lily and I are sad to see it end but eager to put her quilt together in time for the library show next month. We will be sure to share it when it is done.



Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Rose’s Letter Blocks


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along

Lily has just finished reading the last book in the Little House Series, The First Four Years.  This book is about the first four years of Laura and Almanzo’s marriage.  They had a baby girl named Rose shortly after they were wed.  Lily was very excited about this so she wanted to include a block to represent baby Rose.  Laura describes Rose as “an earnest, busy little girl with her picture books and letter blocks…”  Lily thought that making wooden letter blocks would be a good idea so that’s what we did!  When Rose wasn’t playing inside, she was roaming the prairie and I think that the background fabric represents that nicely.


Here is a diagram with the basic cutting directions for each piece (1/4″ seam allowances are included).  We cut our letters with my Sizzix die cutter and fused them with HeatnBond Lite.  I stitched around the edge of the letters for Lily.

One more block is coming, hopefully right after Thanksgiving!  Who else is a little sad about seeing this sew along end?



Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Dove in the Window



Dove in the Window

Lily has just finished reading These Happy Golden Years.  As I mentioned before, this book describes Laura and Almanzo’s courtship and ends with their marriage.  Lily was quite swept away by the love story.  In the book, Almanzo builds their home and sets it all up before Laura sees it.  At Caroline’s direction, Almanzo has spread out some of Laura’s things like a checkered tablecloth and her Dove in the Window quilt.  Laura pieced the Dove in the Window quilt as a girl while Mary was piecing her Nine Patch.

dove in the windowb

Here are the cutting instructions for this traditional block to finish at 14.” If you do a quick search of Dove in the Window, you will find tutorials if you care to make a different size block or need further instructions.  The HST units finish at 2 1/2″. We cut our pairs of fabric for the HST at 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ each.  This gave us lots of room to trim down to a 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ unit.

I know that many of you will ask about the cute floral.  It’s a Japanese print and you can buy it here.

We are on to The First Four Years  now, the final book in the Little House on the Prairie series.  We will have two more blocks to share next month, bringing us to a total of 20 blocks for this quilt.  Then the assembly will begin!

I have to say once again how touched I am by the number of people who have sent me private emails letting me know how much they are enjoying the sew along. I am excited by the fact that we have encouraged some adults to read the series! And I am thrilled to be in on secret plans for many Little House quilts that will be gifted this Christmas. I never thought that so many people would enjoy this sew along. I just started it to encourage Lily to read my favorite series of all time and to have a little one on one time with her.  The rest has been a bonus.



Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Chalkboard



Little House on the Prairie; Chalkboard

Lily and I have been reading These Happy Golden Years for the past couple of weeks and are nearly through.  I have been reading most of this one aloud now that Lily is back to school. She claims that it is her favorite book so far, primarily because Almanzo and Laura are falling in love.  So, you can bet that our second block for this book will have something to do with their courtship.  In this book, Laura has her first two experiences as teacher.  The money she makes helps to send Mary to college and pay for an organ as well as material for a new dress.

We decided to make a chalkboard. I had been thinking it might be fun to write Laura’s name on the chalkboard but I thought it might be too much stitching for Lily so I suggested we write ABC.  She surprised me by saying that she thought we should write Laura’s name and then ABC and 123.  I was delighted that we had the same plan in mind and never let on that I had been thinking it too or she would likely have changed her mind!

This was Lily’s first time hand embroidering.  As it turns out, she absolutely loves hand stitching so I have started her on a hand stitched label for the back of the quilt.  She wants to do more hand stitching asap.

The chalkboard should be cut to 9 1/2″ x 11 1/2″.  We cut it oversize and drew the letters out in chalk.  Then she stitched them using an embroidery hoop.  When she was finished, we cut it down to size.  Next, we added a strip of “wood” to either side measuring 9 1/2″ x 1″. Then we added “wood” to the top and bottom, 1″ x 12 1/2″.  Next we added the background fabric to the right and left measuring 10 1/2″ x 1 1/2″; then to the top and bottom measuring 2 1/2″x 14 1/2″.

Cutting Chart

Blackboard:  9 1/2″ x 11 1/2″

Wood frame:  cut 2 measuring 9 1/2″ x 1″, cut 2 measuring 1″ x 12 1/2″

Border: cut 2 measuring 10 1/2″ x 1 1/2″, cut 2 measuring 2 1/2″x 14 1/2″

We will be back later this month with block 18!  To find directions for all the other blocks, scroll way down on my right side bar until you come to the Search function.  Type in “Little House on the Prairie” and you will find them all.



Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Shirt


Welcome to Block 16 of the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along.  This block is the second to correspond to Little Town on the Prairie.  That means that we have 2 more books to read and 4 more blocks to make before assembling the quilt.  If you are new to the sew along, we will be making 20 block.  My 8 year old daughter and I are reading the Little House series and designing easy to sew blocks to represent key elements from the stories.  She is choosing all the fabrics. I am cutting and helping her with the pinning.  She is doing all the sewing.  You are welcome to join us!


This is a shirt block.  In Little Town on the Prairie, Laura works for a time helping a woman in town sew men’s shirts.  She earns money which is used to send Mary to college.


The block is simple but introduces some new sewing skills for the beginner; pivoting, turning and edge-stitching.

To make this block, you must cut two pieces 7″ wide x 14 1/2″ high for the two sides of the shirt.  The strip in the middle is 1 1/2″ x 14 1/2″.  You can cut it on the bias to make the transition more obvious.  It will add more interest to the block.  The print Lily chose is a bit busy but it still helped.

Next, download the pattern here. Cut 4 collar pieces from pattern C and two pocket pieces from pattern piece F.


To assemble, Sew the 7″ x 14 1/2″ piece to the long strip and then to the other 7″ x 14 1/2″ piece. Press and then edgestitch down either side of the front placket. Set aside. The front of the shirt is done.


With right sides together, stitch 1/4″ along the edge of the collar, leaving the upper edge open for turning. Clip the corner. Turn and press. Then top stitch 1/4″ from the edges. Line the collar up with the upper edge of the shirt and stitch along the upper edge. I purposely did not overlap the collar at the top to reduce bulk in the seam when this block is sashed.

Next, sew along three sides of the pocket, clip corners, and turn through the opening at the top. Fold under the top, 1/4″. Press and edge stitch along the upper edge and then stitch 1/4″ from the top.   Place the pocket where desired and pin.


Stitch around the 3 sides of the pocket using a 1/4″ foot, leaving the top open.


You are left with a shirt block with collars that can be lifted up and down and a real pocket.  How fun will it be to have a quilt with a real pocket in it for a treasure?


We plan on attaching buttons, maybe to the collar but definitely to the front. We are waiting till the quilt is assembled and quilted and then we will add those buttons, along with the buttons for the sheep’s eyes.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this block!  Sadly, there is no cute picture of Lily with this block because she is not feeling well.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Blackbird

Little House on the Prairie Blackbird Block,

Lily is back to school now which is putting a hamper on our sew along process!  She has been reading Little Town on the Prairie when she can and is a little more than half way through it.  She told me that she liked one chapter in particular where the blackbirds were eating the corn crop.  The Ingalls family was depending on the money from the corn crop to pay for Mary’s college.  Laura alerted her father to the damage when she went to pick corn one day.  He got out his shot gun and shot so many birds that they decided to start eating them.  One day, Ma made a chicken pie, substituting blackbirds for the chicken.  Lily really wanted to make a blackbird block.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along,Blackbird

I  love her fabric choices.  She used the same background fabric that she used on her pumpkin block because it looks a bit like corn stalks which is perfect for the story.  I also like the Kona Papaya solid.


This block uses templates.  Please remember to cut your templates with the fabric right side up and template right side up.  Look at the diagram on the pattern to figure out the direction of the pattern piece and order of assembly.

Download the free pattern templates here. Please remember that these patterns are free for personal use only. Do not use them for profit.

I hope you are enjoying the sew along!  I plan to share some readers blocks soon.  If you would like your blocks shared, please send me an email with a link or pictures.  My email is amybfriend at gmail dot com.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Eagle Feather


Lily with Eagle Feather

Lily and I completed block 14 in the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along today.  This is the last block for The Long Winter.  At the beginning of the book, an Indian walked in the store in town where the men were congregating and warned them of a severe winter that would last 7 long months.  The Indian wore a single Eagle feather.  As Lily said, it’s a tiny part of the story but so important!

Our block is inspired by Anna Maria Horner’s beautiful feathers.

eagle feather

I want to answer a few sewalong questions today.  Some people have asked about the templates and how to use them.  I want to make the blocks in this sewalong work for children and beginning sewists.  Often, with a block like this one, I would choose to paper piece.  But paper piecing scares away beginners and I think that the concept of sewing a mirror image and through the paper is a big foreign for children.  So, for blocks that cannot be easily pieced with cutting instructions alone (which do always include your seam allowance, fyi–that was another question I received), I thought that templates might work.  They can be assembled in the normal manner, right sides together, 1/4″ seam, etc. but allow me to design some blocks that I couldn’t otherwise.

Sometimes, the templates have to be taped together.  That’s the case this time.  The taping together can often be the most annoying part-just think of it as a puzzle!  Cut with your template facing up on the right side of your fabric.  Rely on the diagram that prints with the template to figure out which piece is which.

Today I am going to give you the option of paper piecing since I know some more advanced quilters are also joining in.  So, download whichever you prefer:

Eagle Feather Templates

Eagle Feather Paper Piecing Pattern

We used the templates and they were ok but I had a hard time getting the top corner piece right so we just stitched on a larger piece and trimmed it down, squaring up the block while we were at it.

I didn’t include instructions with either because I think that as long as you lay things out you can figure out the sewing order.  If you need more help though, just email.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Winter Window


Lily with Winter Window block


Lily and I are working hard on finishing her two quilt blocks for The Long Winter before school starts next week. We had hoped to make all the blocks this summer but obviously, that isn’t going to happen!  She has three more books to read.  We are hoping she can read one a month and finish two blocks a month for the next three months and then I can help her sash and quilt it in December and over Christmas vacation.  We are setting this goal because our librarian asked to have her quilt on display at the library in January if she can have it done in time.  That’s pretty exciting for her so we are going to try to make it!

In The Long Winter, the Ingalls family suffers through 7 months of unimaginable winter weather with blizzard after blizzard with only a day or two of bitter cold sunshine in-between.  The trains stop running so they are out of coal and food.  They see no one but their own family and Laura often comments about how lonely it is and that she feels like they are all alone in the world.  At first, Lily and I thought of making a snowflake.  It seemed an obvious choice but designing an easy snowflake pattern is pretty tricky.  Then it came to me, as we were reading, we could make a window with snow.  Laura often runs to the window to look for an approaching storm if Pa is out getting hay.  During storms, she will go to the window and comment that she can see nothing but whirling snow, no buildings, no people, no light.  So we made the wooden walls of their building in town with a whirling snowstorm outside.

I read The Long Winter aloud to the whole family.  I started reading it on the car ride home from our vacation and a few hours into it, everyone was hooked.  So we finished this book by reading a few chapters after dinner each night. Lily has determined that she is going to read the next book all by herself, Little Town on the Prairie.  In the meantime, we have one more Long Winter block to design and sew.

Here are the cutting instructions for this block:


I hope you are all enjoying the Sew Along. I love seeing the pictures that pop up on IG with the hashtag #littlehousealong.  I have heard that a few of you are set to start sewing along this fall. Lily and I are excited to see  your blocks!


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Lone Star in the Night Sky


Lone Star in the Night Sky

Can you believe that we are up to block 12 in the Little House Sew Along? This is the final block to correspond to By the Shores of Silver Lake. In one of the passages, Laura talks about a star in the vast night sky that is brighter than all the rest. Since the theme of endless prairie skies is repeated in several of the books, we decided it was time to make a star block.

star in night sky

Here are the cutting instructions. When we cut the squares for the HSTs, we went with 3 1/2″ squares which are really oversized but I find that they are more forgiving. Lily tends to turn outward or inward at the end of seams sometimes so it avoids any problem there. We can just trim it down in the most precise spot. That might help the other beginning sewists who are sewing along with us too.

Speaking of which, please send me an email to amybfriend at gmail dot com if you have pictures of your blocks or a single block that you would like me to share on my blog. Maybe I could do a little round up!

Lone Star in Night Sky

I let Lily use my treasured piece of Lizzy House’s Constellations for this block because it seemed too perfect not to.

If you would like to make another block for this book, or want to substitute for one of the designs, there is a traditional block called the Lady of the Lake block that works so nicely with the title of this book too.  Just Google it and you will find directions.  There are a lot of HSTs involved for a beginner though which is why we settled on this block instead.

We are nearly done reading The Long Winter and hope to make the two blocks for that book soon, ideally before school starts up again.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Wild Geese Flying into the Sunset



Wild Geese Flying into the Sunset

We have moved on to By the Shores of Silver Lake and this is block 11 in our Little House on the Prairie Sew Along.  Apparently the smaller type wasn’t such a big deal because Lily is flying through this book.  Mary loses her eyesight in this book due to scarlet fever.  Laura describes things to her and Mary says that her words paint beautiful pictures.  Laura describes a few sunsets and talks about wild geese.  I told Lily that there is a type of triangle called Flying Geese in quilting and maybe we could use them to make a sunset block.  She liked the idea and this is what I came up with.

Wild Geese Flying into the Sunset

We chose the fabrics together to try to achieve good gradations in color.  We looked for prints that had bits of the color that we were moving toward or away from to help blend them together.  I think it makes for a beautiful block.  The geese are a bit challenging. Lily lost the tip of one but I don’t think that’s bad at all for a beginner!

You can download the free pattern here. Please note that I am providing all these patterns for free for personal use only. Please do not use them to profit from my work. Thank you for your understanding.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Wheat

Lily Sewing


Lily has finished the 4th book in the Little House series and this is our last block to go along with that book, block 10 of the sew along.  The 4th book, On the Banks of Plum Creek, tells about the life of the Ingalls family after they move to Plum Creek.  They buy land with a growing wheat crop.  Their financial future is really tied to the land and that crop and sadly, a cloud of grasshoppers come and eat everything in sight.  We thought about making a grasshopper block but I couldn’t figure out how to do that simply enough and then I got an idea for a simple wheat block so we went with it!

wheat block with measurements


This 14″ finished block is made up of strips of background fabrics cut the the dimensions listed above and 2 1/2″ finished HST units.  Lily cut those herself using the Sizzix but they can be rotary cut as well, of course.

Wheat Block


After the block was pieced, we placed stabilizer/tear away behind it and used wool Aurifil thread and a stitch length of 3 to stitch the stem and some waving leaves/grasses.  I stitched up free hand and then Lily stitched down working off my stitching.  It was team work.

I hope you enjoy making this block!  Remember to join us on Instagram with the hashtag #littlehousealong.

Lily is just beginning book 5 and says that the print is a lot smaller so the next block might be a couple of weeks out!  Time will tell!


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Church


Church Block

Here is block 9 in our Little House on the Prairie Sew Along!  Lily is reading On the Banks of Plum Creek.  In this book, they move to a town for the first time and get to go to a real church and a real school for the first time.  We decided to make the church with the belfry and one window on the side as described in the book.

Again, Lily chose all the fabrics and did the sewing. I cut the fabrics for her and helped with pinning, etc.

You can download the templates to make this 14″ block here.  Have fun!

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Sheep


Lily with Sheep Block

I definitely have the best blog readers ever!  Not only do you all leave supportive comments for Lily, but when I mentioned having a hard time coming up with a simple to sew sheep, Sharon sent me an email and a picture of her 1980s quilt with a simple sheep block!

Sharon's Sheep Block


Sharon didn’t have the designer’s name for the original block. I drafted it to suit our purposes, as a 14″ finished block.




Here is a comparable pattern that will work with our sew along.  Simply cut your fabric to the sizes shown in this layout.

Sheep Block

The resulting block is so cute.  We are going to add button eyes like this after we quilt.

When I posted the picture on Instagram, Synnove recognized it as a Debbie Mumm pattern from “Quick Country Quilting” from 1992.  The pattern is called “Flock of Sheep” and the blocks are 8″.  Sharon remembers sewing her quilt in the 1980s so maybe they are similar patterns or the book had a couple of editions?  Anyway, I hope my modifications make it ok to use the block for this purpose.

The reason we wanted to include a sheep block for the Farmer Boy book is because there is a chapter where Almanzo betters his father and brother who keep telling him that they are going to beat him no matter how fast he works.  They are shearing the sheep and he is carrying the wool to the second floor in the barn.  He catches on and realizes why they will beat him so he sneaks a sheep up to the second floor before it is sheared.  At the end, he beats them.  All the wool is upstairs and they have one more sheep to shear.  Lily thought it was very funny.

I hope you have fun making block 8 in our sew along!  Now, back to reading On the Banks of Plum Creek.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Almanzo’s Pumpkin


Almanzo's Pumpkin Block


Lily has finished Farmer Boy!  She enjoyed it but not as much as the stories about Laura so she is happy to be reading On the Banks of Plum Creek now. I am excited because this book introduces Nellie Olsen and I know she will be amused by her antics.

Last time I mentioned that the next block was going to take a bit of design work.  Well, this isn’t it!  Lily would like to sew a sheep block after a funny story that she read about in Farmer Boy.  However, I am having a hard time designing a sheep block that is a simple sew.  I told her I would work on it in a bit but meanwhile, we are carrying on.  In Farmer Boy, Almanzo’s milk fed pumpkin takes first place at the fair.  Lily decided that it would be fun to have a pumpkin block, which is oh so much easier.  This is Block 7 in the sew along. I think we are going to make about 20 blocks for a 4 x 5 layout after reading all 9 of the novels.  We are starting the 4th book now.

Pumpkin Block


To create this 14″ finished pumpkin block, cut the following:

Out of background fabric:

A:  2″ x 14 1/2″

B:  Cut two 3″ x 6 1/2″

E:  Cut four 3 1/2″ squares

Out of stem fabric:

C:  2 1/2″ x 3″

Out of pumpkin fabric:

D:  10 1/2″ x 14 1/2″

Sew the B pieces to either side of C.  Press.  Attach piece A and set aside.

Sewing Pumpkin Block

Place the four squares of background fabric at the four corners of the pumpkin and draw a diagonal line from point to point and stitch along the line as Lily is doing in this picture. Trim 1/4″ to the outside of the stitching line and press.  Now attach the top of the block to the bottom.

Pumpkin BlockAs usual, Lily chose all her own fabrics. I like the background print because Almanzo grows corn and it looks like corn to me.

Lily sewingOne more picture of my little seamstress!  I hope you are having fun sewing along. I read Lily all of your comments and she is enjoying all the support and encouragement (and praise!)




Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Barn Block


Barn Block

Lily is finishing up reading the third book in the Little House series, Farmer Boy.  It’s about Almanzo’s childhood.  Almanzo becomes Laura’s husband years later.  Lily would prefer to hop to the next book and read more about Mary, Laura, Ma, Pa and baby Carrie.  But she does enjoy the stories about animals of which are plenty in this book.  Almanzo lives on a big farm and there are three large barns.  So, we started with a barn!

The block is my adaptation of Iowa Barns found in 5,500 Quilt Block Designs.  Lily chose her own fabrics again and did all the sewing. I did the cutting from templates.

You can download the templates here. Again, you will need to lay the template pieces out so that they make sense when looking at the diagram provided.  Sometimes this will mean that the letters will be upside down or on their sides.  Cut with the templates right side up on the fabric, also right side up.

Lily with Barn Block


I hope you enjoy sewing your own barn!  Lily has an idea for the next block that is going to really put me to work designing.  It’s not likely that it will be ready for at least a week because I have some quilting I have to get done.  So, it’s a good time to catch up on your blocks and reading!


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf BlockI love it, I wasn’t producing new block patterns quickly enough for a little girl named Caitlyn, so she decided to enlist her mom’s help and come up with another block for Little House in the Big Woods!  I love her enthusiasm!  She emailed Lily asking if she would like to sew the block too.  It’s a Maple Leaf block to go along with the Sugar Snow chapter.  As it turns out, Lily is reading the third book now, Farmer Boy, and there is a chapter on sugaring down the sap and making maple syrup.  Like so many of the blocks, it will suit multiple books.

Caitlyn’s mom, Tiffany, has provided a pdf with directions to make this block if you’d like to join us!  Download it here. See Caitlyn’s beautiful block here.

Lily sewing

If you are sewing along and come up with a great block idea like Caitlyn did, please feel free to share it with me so I can share it with others!  Thank you for your contribution to the sew along Caitlyn.

Lily is ready to work on her first Farmer Boy block this week. We’ll be making a barn. Check back!

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Pet and Patty

Pet and Patty Block
Lily has just finished sewing block 4 of the sew along; the second block for the second book in the series, Little House on the Prairie. She is now moving on to Farmer Boy but we reserve the right to add a block from any book we feel like at the end if we decide that we need another block or two!

Lily really loves horses so she wanted to make Pet and Patty, the Ingalls’ horses.  I found this horse as a part of a block called Winner’s Circle in the book 5,500 Quilt Block Designs.  I adapted it to remove the outer borders and enlarged it to a 14″ finished block.  I would normally paper piece a block like this but decided to use templates to make it more like what Lily expects.  When you are cutting your fabric from the templates, please look at the block layout diagram so that you orient your templates properly.  This means that the letter on the pattern piece will not always be right side up, sometimes to the side, etc.  Look at the diagram for placement.  Cut with your fabric right side up and templates right side up.

Pet and Patty Block

You will need a horse color, a mane/tail color and background color.  I loved Lily’s choices for the horse body and mane.  When we were looking for a background fabric as soon as she saw the birds, I knew there would be no changing her mind. I think it makes it a little busy with the tail but I can see how an 8 year old girl would fall for the bird print.  It’s awfully sweet!

Pet and Patty Block

I was worried that it would be hard to sew this block with Lily but it went together really smoothly after I precut all the pieces for her.  We talked about, “which piece do you think goes next?” so she understood how the block was being constructed.

You can download the templates and block layout diagram here.

Thanks for sewing along!  I started a Flickr group if you would like to add your blocks there.  If you post them on Instagram make sure you tag me so I see!  I am @duringquiettime.