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September 2017

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the thought of classes starting up again and the chance to learn something new. Back when I started teaching quiltmaking, not many people worked outside the home. That is no longer the case. My students are split between those who work who have taken time off to take a class and those who have retired and can now do things they were unable to do while they were working. There are several motivations that bring them to a workshop. It may be the chance to learn something new. It may be to fine tune skills they already have. For some it is the project itself that speaks to them. And for all, it is the chance to create something that will last. Heaven knows we spend a lot of our time doing housework, and somehow, it is never done. It doesn't last. But something made from the heart, that is something we can see and touch and enjoy.

If it has been a while since you have taken a class, think about it. Do something because you want to, not because you have to. Do something that makes you happy. Life is short. It should be enjoyed!

And with that in mind, here is what I have coming up over the next several months. If you can not make it to one of my programs, remember that I travel all over the country teaching quilting. Think about having me come to a quilt guild or shop near you.

 


Fabric Selection Made Easy
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

fabric

If walking into a quilt shop leaves you overwhelmed with all of the choices, or, if you wonder why your fabrics are not as exciting when they are put together as you thought they would be, this is the class you are looking for. This is a skill building class in which you will learn about fabrics and their characteristics, and tips on how to make combinations you might never have thought of. Students will build a fabric selection notebook for future reference. Time and time again, I get feedback from students on just how helpful this class is. No matter where you are in your quiltmaking journey, this workshop is good for all levels of experience.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilting

If you have always wanted to try hand quilting, consider this technique. The method I use is quite different from the traditional way of stitching, and I think much easier to accomplish once you know how. This is one of my most popular classes.

I quilt in a method called stab stitch (or poke pull quilting), with one hand above the frame and one hand below the frame. This allows me to get stitches that look straight and even on both the front and the back of the quilt, without the harmful repetitive motion that is used when doing quilting with a running stitch.

Students in this class will learn how to mark a quilting design onto fabric, how to sandwich their layers in preparation for quilting, and how to create the quilting stitch by working on a feathered wreath design. With this pattern, they will learn several of the most common shapes encountered in quilting: straight lines, curves, feathers, how to travel, and how to quilt with no visible starts and stops.

This technique is particularly good not only for those who have had no success with the running stitch method of quilting, but also for those with limited flexibility due to arthritis or mastectomies. No prior experience in quilting is required. We will start at the beginning and carry on from there.

The lap frame that I like to use for this technique will be available for purchase from me at class.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


What Scrap Quilts Have Taught Me
Sunday Afternoon Lecture and Trunk Show, October 1, 2017
1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Mill House Quilts
Waunakee, WI

website

I should start out by explaining what I think a Scrap Quilt is. To me, a Scrap Quilt is one that uses dozens of fabrics. That doesn't mean it is totally random. To me, a Scrap Quilt is a rich tapestry made up of color and texture provided by using many different fabris. Why use one red when you can use 4, or 5, or 20? I have always been attracted to Scrap Quilts. They are so friendly. They create a beautiful design from afar, but they they invite you closer to examine the individual elements of it. That is where the fun starts! That is where you find the fabrics that bring back special memories.

Just how does one combine dozens of fabrics and come up with something so intriguing? What I did not realize was all the things I would learn from Scrap Quilts. This afternoon presentation is chock full of quilts. Come with me as I share dozens of Scrap Quilts, both antique and contemporary, and see what you can learn from Scrap Quilts. The Flying Geese quilt shown here is one of the many quilts you will see.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
7 p.m.
Lakeside Quilters Guild
Oshkosh, WI

website

With 2017 celebrating Laura Ingalls Wilder's 150th birthday, groups all over the country are offering special programs honoring this popular author. The Little House on the Prairie books, made even more popular by the television series of the same name, tell of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up during a time of pioneering expansion.

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by Laura's engaging tales. In an age when people had to make do to survive, quilting played a natural and vital role. Not only are specific patterns mentioned throughout Laura's books, but many existing quilt patterns reflect the adventures of life on the prairie.

This presentation is a combination slide and trunk show which supplements my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series. Viewers will explore quilts as Laura would have known them, tracing the changing style of quilts during Laura's life. Included will be this Little House Sampler quilt made up of blocks that help to tell Laura's story.

For more information, contact:
Cheryl Juedes
920-289-0547
tcsherryrn@yahoo.com

 


Beginning Hand Applique
Friday, November 3, 2017
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

heart

Looking for a way to improve your hand stitching on your bindings? The stitch I use for Hand Applique is the same one I use to get invisible stitching on my bindings. Join me for this morning class where you will applique a heart. This gives you experience in straight edges, curves, points, and valleys. All in one sweet little heart.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Refining Your Quilting Stitch
Friday, November 3, 2017
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilt design

If you have taken my Mastering Hand Quilting class and learned my method of stab stitching, this class may be just what you are looking for.

Now that you have had a chance to try the technique, do you need guidance refining your stitches? Do you need some hands-on assistance tweaking your technique? This is your chance. Bring along your quilting and what you have questions on, and we will work on it together. Learn more tips on using tape to assist in marking, how to measure for placement of lines of stitching, hints on traveling from one area to another, working with colored thread, how to turn corners, and more. Refine your stab stitching in this half day workshop.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Watson Homestead's 2017 Cabin Fever Retreat

Painted Post, NY

I am thrilled to announce that this year will be the 13th Annual Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, NY. Located midway between Rochester and Corning, NY, Watson Homestead is a popular site for a wide variety of retreats, weddings, and conferences. Join me the first full weekend in February for two class opportunities. Come for the Friday, February 2 half day workshop in the afternoon, for the weekend workshop from Friday evening through Sunday noon, or both!

If you have not been to a retreat before, you are in for a treat. Students arrive Friday afternoon, and from there, the focus is on sewing. Meals are provided, so you don't have to worry about cooking. Rooms are hotel style (2 beds to a room, each room with a private bathroom). The classroom is spacious, allowing each student their own long table with additional tables for cutting. After the class sessions, you are free to stitch to your heart's content. Some students use this opportunity to work on the class projects, others bring along additional projects from home to work on in the evening (or into the wee hours of the morning if you desire!). And Show and Tell is always a fun feature of the weekend.

Watson Homestead is located in the rolling countryside of upstate New York. This is where I grew up. It is always such fun to return to the area for this Quilting getaway. The grounds are spacious. It is a lovely place to take a walk if you desire. And the staff is wonderful. It is a relaxing place to get away and treat yourself to a weekend of stitching. Classes are limited to 30 at this retreat. So grab a friend and join me for a stimulating workshop of stitching. Remember that a gift certificate to the retreat would make a lovely present. Watson Homestead will be only too happy to arrange for a gift certificate for you or a friend.

 


Now for details about the retreat classes.

Fabric Selection Made Easy
Friday, February 2, 2018
2 p.m. - 5 p.m

fabric

A big part of my workshops focus on Fabric Selection, but many of my retreat students have asked for something more in depth. This class is for you. If walking into a quilt shop leaves you overwhelmed with all of the choices, or, if you wonder why your fabrics are not as exciting when they are put together as you thought they would be, this is the class you are looking for. This is a skill building class in which you will learn about fabrics and their characteristics, and tips on how to combine fabrics. We will work with your fabric stash to will build a Fabric Selection Notebook for future reference. Time and time again, I get feedback from students on just how helpful this class is. No matter where you are in your quiltmaking journey, this workshop is good for all levels of experience. Rather than starting yet another project, you will gain experience on how to make better use of your fabrics, not only for the projects you already have going, but for your future adventures in quiltmaking.

 


Watson 2018 Scrap Quilt Workshop
Friday, February 2 - Sunday February 4, 2018
7:00 p.m. Friday - 12 Noon Sunday

piecing

Scrap Qults are the focus of the 13th Annual Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat. One of the things that is so great about doing Scrap Quilts is that you learn something new about fabric combinations with each quilt you do. This quilt will allow you to fine tune your piecing and fabric selection skills while using up fabrics you already have on hand.

My classes always include a construction technique that contains a bit of magic, and this year is no exception. In addition to creating a scrap quilt that is full of personality, you will also get a bonus quilt out of the cutaways. This class is the perfect follow-up to the Friday afternoon Fabric Selection workshop. Put your new-found Fabric Selection skills to the test in this year's weekend retreat.

Here is a peak at a detail of one of the class samples. Join me for a weekend of fun from 7 p.m. Friday February 2, 2018, to noon on Sunday February 4, 2018.

For registration information, contact: Neil Yoder
607-962-0541
watsonneil@stny.rr.com
www.watsonhomestead.com

 


In Celebration of Laura Ingalls Wilder's 150th Birthday

Are you a Little House fan? Would you like to do something special to celebrate the 150th birthday of this beloved author? Here are some opportunities for you to make your own Little House keepsake.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Wedding Quilt Pattern

Laura's Wedding Quilt

The pattern for Laura’s Wedding Quilt is now available. In these Happy Golden Years, the story of Laura and her early married life unfolds. In it, she talks about her Dove-In-The Window quilt. Even before I became a quilter, I remember wondering just what her quilt looked like? Sadly, the actual quilt she made no longer exists. In 1889, the young couple lost their home and nearly all of their possessions in a house fire. All I had to go by were some of the descriptions in Laura’s books. I had found a few patterns called Dove in the Window. One was very similar to Bear’s Paw. Is that the one she made, explaining why in On the Banks of Plum Creek she called it Bear’s Tracks and in These Happy Golden Years she called it Dove in the Window?

Or was it the more complex version of Dove in the Window that is made up of many diamonds, fitting the description of how hard it was and that every seam must be exactly right or Ma would make her re-do it? My research into how quilts fit into Laura's life has led me to this design, now available in my new pattern. It includes research information on how this version of Dove in the Window is thought to be the one Laura made for her Wedding Quilt. Made in a time before commercial patterns were available, Laura would have drafted her pattern from scratch. Now you too can create your own Dove In the Window pattern from scratch, as Laura would have. Included are instructions for making the my version of Dove in the Window, combined with the Nine Patch block Mary and Laura honed their quilting skills on.

I offer Laura's Wedding Quilt as a full day workshop, but if you can't take the workshop, this pattern is for you.

Price: $6.00 plus $1.50 shipping

Directions for placing orders are given at the end of the page.

 


Little House Sampler Pattern:

Little House Sampler

In 2015, Andover Fabrics invited me to create a quilt using fabric from their newly released fabric lines inspired by Little House on the Prairie. Using fabric from all three lines and blocks from my book Quilting with Laura, I created Little House Sampler. Whereas Quilting with Laura is geared towards hand piecing, the Little House Sampler pattern uses all machine piecing techniques.

The Little House Sampler pattern is a 22 page booklet containing directions for nine patchwork blocks that tell the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House adventures. The booklet includes a color photo of the quilt, as well as full size templates for the blocks constructed from templates. Non-template blocks are constructed with precision machine piecing techniques. The detailed directions include step by step colored illustrations, making it good for all levels of quiltmaking experience, from the beginner to the advanced stitcher.

Patterns included are:

Price: Originally $15.00, SALE PRICE $10.00 plus $1.50 shipping

Directions for placing orders are given at the end of the page.

 


Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie Series

Quilting with Laura Cover Quilting With Laura

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by the engaging tale of what life was like during the era in which Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up. This book is a charming collection of traditional quilt blocks that tell the story of Laura and her adventures. Whether joined into a sampler quilt, as shown on the book's cover, or made a quilt of an individual block, this book will take you on your own Little House adventure. Quilting with Laura includes blocks that are actually mentioned by Laura in her books as well as traditional blocks whose names reflect events of this pioneering time.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books were among my favorites as a child. Reading about Laura's adventures planted the seed that got me interested in quilting. When a Mom approached me years ago asking if there were patterns available that were inspired by the Little House series that she could use to teach her daughter how to quilt, I was off and running.

I began collecting patterns inspired by the Little House books, both patterns Laura wrote about and patterns whose names reflected the adventures of the Ingalls family. The quilt shown on the cover is a sampler quilt displaying the 14 patterns within the book. Don't be put off by the thought of making something with so many blocks! This is not a direction manual for making this particular sampler quilt, but rather, it is a book that will teach you how to do patchwork as Laura did. Blocks are arranged in order of difficulty, so quilters will learn a new skill with each block they make. Quilters are encouraged to pick and choose which patterns appeal to them, either because of the design itself, or because of the story behind the block, and create a quilt that tells their own story.

The book has been out out for a number of years now, and has proven to be very popular with moms, aunts, grandmothers, homeschoolers, girl scout leaders, you name it. It is a wonderful way for you to share your passion for quilting with the youngsters in your life.

Everything from what tools you need to how to make templates is included in this hand-piecing guide book. Each of the 14 patterns is accompanied by what links them to the Little House stories. It is the perfect companion to the Little House series, and a way to pass your love of quilting on to the next generation.

School teachers and youth group leaders find Quilting with Laura also makes an ideal teaching tool that dovetails with a wide range of subject areas.

Reprinted July 2015

Price: $12.95 plus $3.50 shipping

Directions for placing orders are given at the end of the page.

 


 


May 2017

Spring is here, rain and all. It is so nice to see green grass and flowers bursting into bloom. It is at times like this that I get excited about learning something new, a rebirth of the spirit, if you will. If this is all inspiring you to learn something new, here is a list of upcoming programs.

 


Upcoming Class List

Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
9:30 a.m.
North Shore Quilters Guild
Milwaukee, WI

The Little House books, made even more popular by the Little House on the Prairie television series, tell of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up in the Midwest during a time of pioneering expansion.

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by Laura's engaging tales. In an age when people had to make do to survive, quilting played a natural and vital role. Not only are specific patterns mentioned throughout Laura's stories, but many existing quilt patterns reflect the adventures of life on the prairie.

This presentation is a combination slide and trunk show which supplements my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series. Viewers will explore quilts as Laura would have known them, tracing the history of quiltmaking during the time period of Laura's youth.

For further information, contact
Linda Reuss Benson
1004 S. Second Street
Cedar Grove, WI 53013
call 262-305-9372
fatqtr@gmail.com

 


Hand Piecing: Civil War Style
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
1:00 p.m.
North Shore Quilters Guild
Milwaukee, WI

cvlwar thumbnail

An 1864 Lady's Magazine told of having received a 'pleasant letter from a young lady of Rhode Island, who is forming a curious and valuable collection of autographs in an original and very womanly way: the design is to insert the names in a bedquilt.' The idea so intrigued readers that a few months later, by popular demand, the magazine offered the pattern and directions for constructing an English Paper Pieced Tumbling Block quilt. Made entirely by hand, small pieces of fabric are fit puzzle-fashion into an intriguing mosaic design.

This is a technique class which will cover how to write on fabrics, how to draft and make your own paper templates for English Paper Piecing, and how to construct the Tumbling Blocks pattern from the 1864 Godey's Ladies Magazine.

This makes an ideal 'take-along'project to work on at meetings, Civil War Reenactments, or just in the evening when you would like some handwork to keep you productive.

For further information, contact
Linda Reuss Benson
1004 S. Second Street
Cedar Grove, WI 53013
call 262-305-9372
fatqtr@gmail.com

 


What Scrap Quilts Have Taught Me

Sunday, June 4, 2017
1:30 p.m.
Mill House Quilts
Waunakee, WI

Intrigued by the ingenuity of quilters before me, I have long been attracted to scrap quilts, those quilts made up of dozens of fabrics to become a thing of beauty. What I did not realize was all the things I would learn from Scrap Quilts.

Come with me on this Sunday afternoon journey through the world of scrap quilts, both antique and modern, as I share dozens of scrap quilts and what scrap quilts have taught me.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


What Quilting Pattern Goes Where
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
9:30.m. - 12 noon
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

Quilting transforms the quilt. You spent hours picking colors, choosing fabrics, and constructing the quilt top. The choice of a quilting pattern deserves the same care. This discussion course helps you to decide what type of quilting best enhances your quilt, whether by hand or machine, traditional or contemporary. Students are encouraged to bring one or two quilt tops they would like help with.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilting

If you have always wanted to try hand quilting, consider this technique. The method I use is quite different from the traditional way of stitching, and I think much easier to accomplish once you know how. This is one of my most popular classes.

I quilt in a method called stab stitch (or poke pull quilting), with one hand above the frame and one hand below the frame. This allows me to get stitches that look straight and even on both the front and the back of the quilt, without the harmful repetitive motion that is used when doing quilting with a running stitch.

Students in this class will learn how to mark a design onto fabric for quilting, how to sandwich their layers in preparation for quilting, and how to create the quilting stitch by working on a feathered wreath design. With this pattern, they will learn several of the most common shapes encountered in quilting: straight lines, curves, feathers, how to travel, and how to quilt with no visible starts and stops.

This technique is particularly good not only for those who have had no success with the running stitch method of quilting, but also for those with limited flexibility due to arthritis or mastectomies. No prior experience in quilting is required. We will start at the beginning and carry on from there.

The lap frame that I like to use for this technique will be available for purchase from me at class.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Village Quilters
Lake Bluff, IL

The Little House books, made even more popular by the Little House on the Prairie television series, tell of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up in the Midwest during a time of pioneering expansion.

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by Laura's engaging tales. In an age when people had to make do to survive, quilting played a natural and vital role. Not only are specific patterns mentioned throughout Laura's stories, but many existing quilt patterns reflect the adventures of life on the prairie.

This presentation is a combination slide and trunk show which supplements my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series. Viewers will explore quilts as Laura would have known them, tracing the history of quiltmaking during the time period of Laura's youth.

For further information, contact
Marti Austin
14925 King Drive
Libertyville, IL 60048
marti.austin@yahoo.com

 


Spot On
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Village Quilters
Lake Bluff, IL

spot on

Curves, ever so enticing, can be tricky to piece. Welcome to Spot On, where curves are created in a whole new way! There is not one single curved pieced seam in this quilt. Try my revolutionary way to create curves that can be done in half the time of traditional piecing and is much more accurate! Give it a try. I think you will love my new method for doing curves as much as I do!

For further information, contact
Marti Austin
14925 King Drive
Libertyville, IL 60048
marti.austin@yahoo.com

 


Laurapalooza

Laurapalooza is a conference dedicated to the research and legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie book series. This year's Laurapalooza, held in Springfield, IL, will be the fourth time the conference has been held. During the course of 3 days, presentations are given on various aspects of Laura and things related to her. I was honored to be a featured speaker at the second Laurapalooza where I did a presentation about quilts in Laura's life. It is the basis of the presentation I currently offer to groups nationwide.

I am excited to announce that I will be a speaker at this year's conference where I will be doing a workshop about Laura's Wedding Quilt. Made in a time when quilt patterns were not mass marketed as they are today, quilters had to rely on their own drafting skills to create their quilt patterns. Attendees will learn how to draft this very unusual pattern with nothing more than paper, pencil, and a ruler.

Here is a picture of the quilt I made with my Doves in the Window blocks.

Laura's Wedding Quilt

Registration for Laurapalooza is now open. Scholars and fans alike are welcome and encouraged to attend. Go to Beyond Little House website for details.

 


Tea and Luncheon

While in the Mansfield area this summer, I will be giving my Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder program at the Ozark County Historium in Gainesville, MO (about 45 minutes from Mansfield) on Tuesday, July 11, at a tea style luncheon sponsored the Ozark County Genealogical and Historical Society.

I will be returning to Gainesville on Saturday, July 15 to do a quilting workshop entitled Homestead Star. It is an all day workshop where students will learn scrap quilt concepts, making a pattern that makes not one, but two quilts at the same time. The technique is a great way to make use of every bit of fabric with great results.

Homestead Star

The tea, Laurapalooza, and the workshop are all open to the public. If you are in the area, come! It will be great fun.

 


This takes you through the summer months of programming. Remember to check out the Schedule section of this website to see where else across the country I will be. Also, the Tips and Hints section is updated around the first of every month with a new tip. Enjoy!

Wishing you many happy hours of stitching!

 


March 2017

Beginning Hand Applique: Thursday morning, March 16: Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

heart

Looking for a way to improve your hand stitching on your bindings? The stitch I use for Hand Applique is the same one I use to get invisible stitching on my bindings. Join me for this morning class on March 16 where you will applique a heart. This gives you experience in straight edges, curves, points, and valleys. All in one sweet little heart. Contact Mill House Quilts at 608-849-6473 now to register.

 


Rolling Star Workshop: Thursday afternoon, March 16: Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

Susan Fedele's Rolling Star

Love Star Patterns? This one is great fun. All these tiny triangles are the results of cleverly working with 3 different sizes of large squares. The way you sew then cut creates this stunning Star Pattern. Join me for this 3 hour afternoon class on March 16! Contact Mill House Quilts at 608-849-6473 now to register!

 


Quiltmaking in Civil War America: Tuesday evening, March 21: Rock Valley Quilt Guild, Janesville, WI

If Antique quilts set your heart aflutter, this is the lecture trunk show for you. See what quilts looked like prior to the Civil War and how the War changed the look of quilting for years to come.

 


Crazy Quilt Pinch Box: Saturday, March 25: Tri-State Needlearts Chapter EGA, Sinsinawa, WI

pinch_box pinch_box

Fans of hand embroidery will love this charming little whimsy. Modeled after Victorian Pinch Boxes, this treasure is made to pop open when you squeeze it on the ends. Embellished with Crazy Quilt Embroidery, beads, and ribbons, this becomes all the sweeter when you add your handmade cording and tassel.

 


Borders on Parade: Sunday afternoon, March 26: Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

This trunk show is a treasure trove of quilts. Come see over three dozen quilts, each with a different border treatment. You are sure to leave with new ideas on how to create the perfect border for you quilts. Contact Mill House Quilts at 608-849-6473 now to register.

 


Pickup Sticks: Tuesday, April 4: Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

pickup sticks

This pattern is just too much fun! NOT paper pieced, this quilt is perfect for using a wide variety of fabrics. Join me for a full day of scrap quilt fun! Contact Mill House Quilts at 608-849-6473 now to register.

 


Prairie Lilies Scrap Quilt: Saturday, April 8, LaCrosse Area Quilters Guild, LaCrosse, WI

prairie_lilies

One of my most popular workshops. This class is full, but remember that you can contact me to come teach it at a guild or shop near you!

 


For additional information on any of the above classes, go to the Schedule section of this website. At the end of the Schedule listings you will find Contact information for each locale.

 


Laura Ingalls Wilder Update

February 7 marked the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder's birth, and for Little House fans, this is a year marked with celebrations. July 12 - 14, Laurapalooza, the conference for all things Little House related, will be held in Springfield, MO, a hop, skip, and a jump from Mansfield, MO where Laura and Almanzo made their home. If you only know Laura through the iconic Little House on the Prairie television show, you may not know about Mansfield. Married in 1885, Laura and Almanzo left South Dakota in 1894 to make their home in Mansfield, MO. Rocky Ridge Farm, the home they built there, is now the site of a wonderful museum dedicated to Laura and her life.

 


Laurapalooza is a conference dedicated to the research and legacy of Laura. This year's offering will be the fourth time Laurapalooza has been held. During the course of 3 days, presentations are given on various aspects of Laura and things related to her. I was honored to be a featured speaker at the second Laurapalooza where I did a presentation about quilts in Laura's life. It is the basis of the presentation I currently offer to groups nationwide. I am so excited to announce that I will be a speaker at this year's conference where I will be doing a workshop about Laura's Wedding Quilt. Made in a time when quilt patterns were not mass marketed as they are today, quilters had to rely on their own drafting skills to create their quilt patterns. Attendees will learn how to draft this very unusual pattern with nothing more than paper, pencil, and a ruler.

Here is a picture of the quilt I made with my Doves in the Window blocks.

Laura's Wedding Quilt

Registration information for Laurapalooza will be released in the next few weeks. Watch the Beyond Little House website for details.

 


Tea and Luncheon

While in the Mansfield area this summer, I will be giving my Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder program at the Ozark County Historium in Gainesville, MO (about 45 minutes from Mansfield) on Tuesday, July 11, at a tea style luncheon sponsored the Ozark County Genealogical and Historical Society.

I will be returning to Gainesville on Saturday, July 15 to do a quilting workshop entitled Homestead Star. It is an all day workshop where students will learn scrap quilt concepts, making a pattern that makes not one, but two quilts at the same time. The technique is a great way to make use of every bit of fabric with great results.

Homestead Star

The tea, Laurapalooza, and the workshop are all open to the public. If you are in the area, come! It will be great fun.

 


Internet Radio Interview

Mark your calendar! Wednesday, February 22 at 8 pm Central time, I will once again be a guest on Sarah Uthoff's Internet Radio show Trundlebed Tales. In this hour long interview, I will talk about the connection between Laura Ingalls Wilder and quilts, including my research about Doves in the Window, the quilt pattern Laura talks about making as her wedding quilt in the Little House books.

You can listen to the broadcast on your computer. Click on this link to join us live on February 22, or to listen later. Linda Halpin Quilt Detecting with Laura Ingalls Wilder.

If you missed it, here is the link for the first interview I did for Sarah back in 2012. Trundlebed Tales: Quilts and Laura Ingalls Wilder

 


Guest Blogger

Looking for a fun book series to read? Check out the Chloe Ellefson mysteries by Kathleen Ernst. Kathleen and I first met several years ago when she took one of my quilting classes. Our paths crossed again a few years ago when she contacted me for research information on a new book she was working on in her Chloe Ellefson series. Chloe is a collections curator at Old World Wisconsin. Chloe is fictional. Old World Wisconsin is not. In the series, part of Chloe's job is to research items in the museum's collection. Kathleen does a wonderful job of weaving the story lines of present day Chloe and the life of the maker of the item she is researching. Being a mystery, and being Chloe, somehow a dead body or two always turns up, leaving Chloe with a quest to solve the riddle.

DeathonthePrairie

The book Kathleen was working on (Death on the Prairie: released October 2015) had a Laura Ingalls Wilder theme. In the storyline, Chloe is given a quilt reportedly made by Laura herself. Her goal is to research the quilt to see if it indeed was made by Laura. And, as so often happens with Chloe, bodies began appearing.

Kathleen commissioned me to make a quilt for her depicting the patterns Laura talks about in the Little House series. The resulting quilt is shown here. And this month, Kathleen invited me to be a guest writer on her blog Sites and Stories . Part 1 tells how my book Quilting with Laura came to be.

Part 2 on her blog tells about the quilt I made for Kathleen. Check out her blog, and check out the Chloe Ellefson mysteries.

kathleensquilt

 


Cabin Fever Retreat Follow-up

This year marked my 12th Cabin Fever Retreat at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, NY. Every year, I do a Friday afternoon 3 hour workshop, followed by a weekend-long workshop that starts Friday evening and continues until Sunday at noon. It is a weekend of nothing but stitching, and it is great fun.

This year's classes played with fusible applique. The Friday afternoon workshop was Fun with Scallops, where students played enhancing simple 9" squares with multiple borders. Some made table runners, some made wall hangings, and one even made pillows! The best part about this class is that they were able to finish the blocks right then and there.

Watson Scallops

The weekend retreat was Home Sweet Home, and oh my. What fun that was! This is such a whimsical design, made even more so by the personal touches people added to their houses. And the techniques we did to create the checkerboard panel created some of the best matched corners I have ever seen in a workshop. Imagine my delight when I received the following picture from Donna Sullivan. She completed her quilt top at the retreat, and followed up by completing the quilting and binding a mere 3 days after the workshop ended. I love love love her colors, and can't wait to borrow her color scheme for an upcoming project.

Donna Sullivan Home

Plans are in the works for next year's retreat. Mark you calendars for February 2 - 4, 2018. Class details will be announced this summer.

 


January 2017

Food For Thought

If you are like me, January always feels like a time of renewal, a time to set goals and make resolutions. And if you are like me, most of these goals have to do with the creative side of my life. Make more time to quilt. Finish more projects. Get more organized. Learn something new.

Of all of those, I think learning something new is the most important. It is what keeps things exciting. It is what motivates. It is what helps all of the other goals fall into place. Taking a class is a great way to learn something new.

I have always thought of classes in three different categories: technique classes, project classes, and inspiration classes. In a technique class, it doesn't matter what you are making, but rather, how. Think of it as a skill building class, something that teaches you a process you can use as you create future projects. My Fabric Selection Made Easy class, for example, teaches how to look at fabrics, whether in a store or in your own collection, and see them with new eyes. Yes, there is a bit of color theory in there, but also, it deals with the visual textures of fabric and ideas to consider when you are combining fabrics for a quilt.

Selecting what fabrics to use in a quilt is different than choosing what clothes go together when you dress yourself, and it is more than buying kits where the fabric is preselected. Often times kits use fabric from one manufacturer, or one line of fabric. Your collection of fabrics in your stash is more varied than that. Learning how to make different fabrics play well together is a skill you will use every time you start a new project.

---------------------------------

Borders On Parade is what I would call an inspiration class. It too is another skill builder. In this class, you don't need to bring a thing except your camera and notebook. It is trunk show of over three dozen quilts, each with a different border treatment. Borders are more than just the four strips of fabric you slap onto the edges of a quilt to make it big enough. They frame the picture. They relate to the center of the quilt and help to enhance it. They are as much a part of the quilt design-wise as the interior that you have pieced or appliqued.

You don't have to know what border you are going to use when you start the quilt, but rather, you wait until the quilt blocks have been assembled then audition different fabrics and ideas for the border to determine what will best make that quilt sing. This presentation may just provide the solution you have been looking for to complete some of those unfinished projects.

---------------------------------

The last group of classes are project classes, those classes which call to you because of the specific quilt being made. These are great fun because you know what the finished project will look like, and you are sure to learn a thing or two along the way that you can add to your bag of tricks.

I sometimes hear people bemoan that they just can't start a new project because they have so many others that are unfinished. Here is a thought for you. Know that when you take a class, you are not signing a blood commitment to finish it. You are signing up to learn something. If once you have learned that something, you decide, for whatever reason, that you don't want to continue with the project, you are under no obligation to complete it! Do something else with it. Make a table runner. Make a pillow. Make a lap quilt. Add the balance of the unused fabric to your stash and use it in other projects. Pass it along to another quilter who may enjoy it. Once you buy fabric, you own it and can do with it as you please. Fabric is not project specific. It can be used for other things. It is ok to change the final outcome of a project if it better suits your needs. Don't let projects guilt you. Remember that you are in charge, not the project.

---------------------------------

With those thoughts in mind, check out some classes.

Go forth and learn something new. You will be enriched. Starting something new may teach you just the thing you didn't know you needed to know to finish some of those other projects you started.

Happy Quilting!

 


2017: Laura Ingalls Wilder's 150th Birthday

2017 marks the 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Born February 7, 1867 in Pepin, WI, Laura's writings inspired by her life have enchanted readers worldwide. Countless libraries, historical societies, museums, and quilt guilds are planning special events this year to celebrate Laura's birth. I will be presenting my lecture program on Quilting in Laura's life at several locations this year. I have also added a new workshop devoted to Laura called Laura's Wedding Quilt. If you are interested in having me do a presentation for your group, contact me at wihalpin@mwt.net for booking details.

 


New Laura Ingalls Wilder Inspired Class

Laura's Wedding Quilt

I have added a new workshop to my Course Offerings: Laura's Wedding Quilt.

Inspired by reading the Little House series as a child, I remember searching for years to find the Doves in the Window pattern that Laura told of making for her wedding quilt. I too had started sewing at an early age, and loved that Laura made quilts out of fabric scraps to keep warm. But what was the Doves in the Window pattern? The quilt she made did not survive the fire that destroyed their home just before their 4th anniversary. I learned that there were several patterns called Doves in the Window. The only clues I had as to which version Laura made were bits of decriptions she mentioned in her stories. She made a quilt block with bias edges that were so tricky, Ma made her take it apart and re-do it until she got it right.

A visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder site in Burr Oak, IA sent me down a path that has lead to what I believe may have been the pattern Laura made for her wedding quilt. Join me in this one day workshop where you will learn how to draft this unusual patterns, make your own templates, and use a combination of machine and hand piecing to create this unique Doves in the Window pattern.

In celebration of the spirit of Laura, I have created my version of her Doves in the Window quilt, combining this intriguing block with the nine patch blocks she and her sister Mary learned their piecing skills on.

This is a full day Skills workshop rather than a Project workshop. You will learn how to draft your pattern, create your templates, create one Doves in the Window block. This may be framed, made into a pillow, or used as the start of your next quilt. The emphasis of this class is to teach drafting and precision piecing skills rather than teaching a project. Students will, however, receive the pattern and directions for making the quilt shown.

Interested in having me teach this workshop for your group? Contact me at wihalpin@mwt.net for booking details.

Class Update

February sees me returning to upstate New York for a series of workshops. If you are in the area, or looking for a mid-winter getaway, I hope you will join me.

This update also includes other teaching venues through April. If your guild or favorite shop is looking for programs, remember that I do travel all over the country and offer over 60 different programs to choose from.

Happy Quilting!

 


Watson Homestead's 2017 Cabin Fever Retreat

Painted Post, NY

Join me for the 12th Annual Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, NY. Located midway between Rochester and Corning, NY, Watson Homestead is a popular site for a wide variety of retreats, weddings, and conferences. Join me the first full weekend in February for two class opportunities. Come for the Friday, February 3 half day workshop in the afternoon, for the weekend workshop from Friday evening through Sunday noon, or both!

If you have not been to a retreat before, you are in for a treat. Students arrive Friday afternoon, and from there, the focus is on sewing. Meals are provided, so you don't have to worry about cooking. Rooms are hotel style (2 beds to a room, each room with a private bathroom). The classroom is spacious, allowing each student their own long table with additional tables for cutting. After the class sessions, you are free to stitch to your heart's content. Some students use this opportunity to work on the class projects, others bring along additional projects from home to work on in the evening (or into the wee hours of the morning if you desire!). And Show and Tell is always a fun feature of the weekend.

Watson Homestead is located in the rolling countryside of upstate New York. The views are lovely. The grounds are spacious. It is a lovely place to take a walk if you desire. And the staff is wonderful. It is a relaxing place to get away and treat yourself to a weekend of stitching. Classes are limited to 30 at this retreat. There is still time to sign up. Remember that a gift certificate to the retreat would make a lovely present.

 


Now for details about the retreat classes.

Fun with Scallops
Friday, February 3, 2017
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

piecing

The Friday afternoon workshop is Fun with Scallops. This is a terrific way to turn those left-over orphan blocks that you never did anything with into a completed piece! Blocks are framed first with scallops, then with an outer frame to really highlight them. These 4 blocks transform into a wall hanging, all in the space of a 3 hour class. Sometimes it is just fun to have a project that you can complete in an afternoon, and this class is it.

Bring along your orphan blocks (or preprinted squares, or embroidered squares, or photo transfers.... let your imagination be your guide!) and we will embellish them with frames and complete the quilt top Friday afternoon!

 


Home Sweet Home
Friday, February 3 - Sunday February 5, 2017
7:00 p.m. Friday - 12 Noon Sunday

piecing

Springtime is in the air with this year's Featured Workshop, Home Sweet Home. Starting on Friday evening, February 3, we work on this project through Sunday, February 5 at noon. Precision piecing creates the colorful checkerboard in the center of the quilt. Come learn my tips for making intersecting corners that match perfectly. This is a great skill builder that is useful in all of your patchwork projects.

Fusible applique, rick rack, and flower-shaped buttons create adorable picture panels that complete the wallhanging. Personalize your house and garden. The picket fence is such fun to create! This is a whimsical piece that you are sure to enjoy!

 


For registration information, contact: Neil Yoder
607-962-0541
watsonneil@stny.rr.com
www.watsonhomestead.com

 


Little House Sampler 2016

website

 


I was once again honored to be invited by Andover Fabrics to make a quilt for their booth at Quilt Market featuring this year's newest line of fabric in their Little House on the Prairie inspired fabrics. This year's line is called Mansfield, named for the town in Missouri where Laura and Almanzo made their home.

I again chose the Little House Sampler pattern for my quilt. The collection of patterns allowed me to highlight the beautiful fabrics in this collection. To make your own Little House Sampler, the pattern can be ordered on the Ordering segment of this website.

 


Remember to check out the Tips and Hints section of this website. A new tip is added every month!

 


October Update

Just a reminder about my upcoming October programs:

Looking for a fun way to spend your Sunday afternoon?

Quiltmaking in Civil War America presentation: lecture and trunk show
Mill House Quilts
Waunakee, WI
Sunday, October 9
1:30 - 3:30
Call the shop to register. Space is limited, and filling fast!
608-849-6473

This is one of the half-scale reproduction quilts I will be sharing during this program.

website

 


Fan of Little House on the Prairie?

Two bits of news here. One is that Craftsy, the online quilting resourse, has kitted the quilt I made for Andover Fabrics using their Little House inspired fabrics! The kit is now available through Craftsy!

website

And second, Andover Fabrics is introducing their 4th line of fabric inspired by the Little House series. It is called Mansfield, in remembrance of Mansfield, MO, where Laura and Almanzo made their home, and where Laura wrote her famous Little House books.

The fabrics will be featured at Quilt Market in Houston. Be sure to ask your favorite quilt shop to carry the fabrics. They are beautiful! Once again, I have been invited to make a quilt for Andover for their booth at Quilt Market with the new fabrics. I made the same Little House Sampler quilt in the new fabrics, and I love the dramatic difference!

website

 


Searching for a Quilt Exhibit?

A one woman show of my quilts is now on display at Community First Bank in Boscobel, WI through November 30. Open during regular bank hours.

website

 


Fall 2016 Update

What's new in this update?

Class information through December 2016
Exhibit of My Quilts
New Little House Fabric Is Almost Here!
Publication of pattern for the Andover Fabric Little House Sampler Quilt

Scroll down through the newsletter to find all the info!

 


Upcoming Classes and Presentations Fall 2016

Mark your calendar! Here are the classes I have been contracted to teach through December. Remember that if your local guild or shop is looking for a program, I am happy to travel to your location. I teach all over the country and have a wide range of offerings, from lecture trunk shows to workshops of varying length.

 


Fabric Selection Made Easy
Thursday, September 15, 2016
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

If walking into a quilt shop leaves you overwhelmed with all of the choices, or, if you wonder why your fabrics are not as exciting when they are put together as you thought they would be, this is the class you are looking for. There is no stitching, just learning about fabrics and their characteristics, and tips on how to make combinations you might never have thought of. Students will build a fabric selection notebook for future reference. Time and time again, I get feedback from students on just how helpful this class is. No matter where you are in your quiltmaking journey, this workshop is good for all levels of experience.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Thursday, September 15, 2016
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilting

If you have always wanted to try hand quilting, this is the class for you. The method I use is quite different from the traditional way of stitching, and I think much easier to accomplish once you know how. This is one of my most popular classes.

I quilt in a method called stab stitch (or poke pull quilting), with one hand above the frame and one hand below the frame. This allows me to get stitches that look straight and even on both the front and the back of the quilt, without the harmful repetitive motion that is used when doing quilting with a running stitch.

Students in this class will learn how to mark a design onto fabric for quilting, how to sandwich their layers in preparation for quilting, and how to create the quilting stitch by working on a feathered wreath design. With this pattern, they will learn several of the most common shapes encountered in quilting: straight lines, curves, feathers, how to travel, and how to quilt with no visible starts and stops.

This technique is particularly good not only for those who have had no success with the running stitch method of quilting, but also for those with limited flexibility due to arthritis or mastectomies. No prior experience in quilting is required. We will start at the beginning and carry on from there.

The lap frame that I like to use for this technique will be available for purchase from me at class.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Story of Quilting in the Years of Laura's Youth
Monday, October 3, 2016
7 p.m.
Lodi Valley Quilters Guild
Lodi, WI

The Little House books, made even more popular by the Little House on the Prairie television series, tell of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up in the Midwest during a time of pioneering expansion.

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by Laura's engaging tales. In an age when people had to make do to survive, quilting played a natural and vital role. Not only are specific patterns mentioned throughout Laura's stories, but many existing quilt patterns reflect the adventures of life on the prairie.

This presentation is a combination slide and trunk show which supplements my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series. Viewers will explore quilts as Laura would have known them, tracing the history of quiltmaking during the time period of Laura's youth.

For further information, contact
Trish Frankland
W 10632 Cty Rd J
Lodi, WI 53555
call 608-235-4646
trish.frankland@gmail.com

 


Quiltmaking in Civil War America
Sunday, October 9, 2016
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

Civil War America and the years leading up to it were vastly changing times for America. From the struggles of establishing independence as a new country, the land would be torn apart by war less than 100 years later. Women, who passed from being the property of their fathers in childhood to that of their husbands in marriage, were charged with all of the responsibilities of keeping a home, but with few of the rights the men in their lives had. When war came, many were thrust into the role of sole supporter. They journaled their lives through their daily work, quiltmaking being one of the most enduring forms of their times. The fabrics they used, as well as the patterns they made, tell the stories of their lives in ways that history books never could. Travel back as we explore Quiltmaking in Civil War America.

Join me for an afternoon of quilt history as I share the story of what quilting was like during this time period. Included are both antique quilts from my collection as well as charming half-scale reproduction quilts. Space is limited, so call to sign up.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Spot On Scrap Quilt Workshop
Friday, October 28, 2016
9:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

spot on

Curves, ever so enticing, can be tricky to piece. Welcome to Spot On, where curves are created in a whole new way! There is not one single curved pieced seam in this quilt. Try my revolutionary way to create curves that can be done in half the time of traditional piecing and is much more accurate! Give it a try. I think you will love my new method for doing curves as much as I do!

Proficiency: All levels

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Spot On Scrap Quilt Workshop
Thursday, December 8, 2016
9:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Rio Grande Valley Quilt Guild
McAllen, TX

For those of you in the McAllen, TX area, I will be teaching this workshop here in December.

To register, contact:
contact: Jan McCoy
2105 S, Cynthia St. Apt B 102
McAllen, TX 78503
janmccoy@hotmail.com
214-923-5613

 


Tinker Toys
Friday, December 9, 2016
9:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Rio Grande Valley Quilt Guild
McAllen, TX

tinkertoys

Creating a scrap quilt is tons of fun. Tinker Toys is just one of the many possibilities of what can come out of strips of fabric. Class starts with how to choose and combine fabrics, giving valuable fabric selection skills that can apply to your future quiltmaking projects. If choosing fabrics has always been difficult for you, this class will show you how to decide just what fabric goes where to create a quilt that really glows.

Proficiency: All levels

To register, contact:
contact: Jan McCoy
2105 S, Cynthia St. Apt B 102
McAllen, TX 78503
janmccoy@hotmail.com
214-923-5613

 


Hints, Tips, and Other Things You Wish You Knew
Saturday, December 10, 2016
10 a.m.
Rio Grande Valley Quilt Guild
McAllen, TX

One of the things I hear over and over again in my classes is how appreciative students are of the many tips they learned that will carry over into their other quilting projects. This program is chock full of tips and hints that will make your quilting life easier. Participants are invited to share their favorite tip.

Format: Demonstrations, followed by trunk show of quilts.

For more information, contact:
contact: Jan McCoy
2105 S, Cynthia St. Apt B 102
McAllen, TX 78503
janmccoy@hotmail.com
214-923-5613

 


 


October-November 2016: One Woman Show

logcabinCFB

Once again, I am honored to have been invited to share my quilts in a one-woman show at Community First Bank in Boscobel, WI. The bank has a central courtyard area surrounded by a second story balcony that is ideal for displaying quilts. Here are a few pictures from last year's exhibit. Stop in to see what I have in store for you this year!

kingscrownCBF

 


 


Coming Late October 2016: More Little House on the Prairie Fabrics

website

Andover Fabrics is introducing yet another line of fabrics inspired by Little House on the Prairie. This line is called Mansfield (as in Mansfield, MO, where Laura and Almanzo made their home) and will be released in October. Once again, I have been invited by Andover to make a quilt out of the new line of fabric for them to use in their booth at Quilt Market in October. Watch this site for a picture of the new quilt, coming soon!

 


 


Little House Sampler Pattern!

andover

If you missed it in previous newsletters, Andover Fabrics invited me to design a quilt for them using their new lines of Little House on the Prairie inspired fabrics that were released in October 2015. The quilt was used in their booth at Quilt Market for the fabric's release. It is now part of my personal collection, and you can see it during my trunk show presentations as I travel around the country.

I have been honored by requests from shops and individual quilters alike for the pattern for this quilt, and I am happy to say it is now available. The patterns are selected from my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie Series. While Quilting with Laura tells the story of how each pattern ties in to Laura's stories and gives instruction on how to hand piece each design as Laura would have, the Little House Sampler pattern is adapted for machine piecing techniques.

The Little House Sampler pattern is a 22 page booklet containing directions for nine patchwork blocks that tell the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House adventures. The booklet includes a color photo of the quilt, as well as full size templates for the blocks constructed from templates. Non-template blocks are constructed with precision machine piecing techniques. The detailed directions include step by step colored illustrations, making it good for all levels of quiltmaking experience, from the beginner to the advanced stitcher.

Patterns included are:

Price: $15.00 plus $1.50 shipping. See the Ordering Section of this website for directions on how to order your Little House Sampler Pattern.

 


 


This takes you through December 2016. Remember you can always check out the Schedule section of this website to see other bookings. And don't forget to keep an eye on the Tips and Tricks section, where I post a new tip every month. Tips going back to 2003 are there, giving you a treasure trove of ideas to explore.

Happy Quilting! Hope to see you soon.

 


 


Spring 2016 Update

What's new in this update?

Scroll down through the newsletter to find all the info!

Little House Sampler Pattern!

andover

If you have been following my site, you know about Andover Fabric's invitation to design a quilt for them using their new lines of Little House on the Prairie inspired fabrics. The quilt was used in their booth at Quilt Market, October 2015. It is now part of my personal collection, and you can see it during my trunk show presentations as I travel around the country.

I have been honored by requests from shops and individual quilters alike for the pattern for this quilt, and I am happy to say it is now available. The patterns are selected from my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie Series. While Quilting with Laura tells the story of how each pattern ties in to Laura's stories and gives instruction on how to hand piece each design as Laura would have, the Little House Sampler pattern is adapted for machine piecing techniques.

The Little House Sampler pattern is a 22 page booklet containing directions for nine patchwork blocks that tell the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House adventures. The booklet includes a color photo of the quilt, as well as full size templates for the blocks constructed from templates. Non-template blocks are constructed with precision machine piecing techniques. The detailed directions include step by step colored illustrations, making it good for all levels of quiltmaking experience, from the beginner to the advanced stitcher.

Patterns included are:

Price: $15.00 plus $1.50 shipping. See the Ordering Section of this website for directions on how to order your Little House Sampler Pattern.

 


Another Internet Radio Interview

If you have been following my website for a while, you know that I was a featured speaker on Sarah Uthoff's Internet Radio show Trundlebed Tales, where I talked about Quiltmaking in Laura Inagalls Wilder's life. Well, I will be returning to speak with Sarah about Quilting in general: How I got started, what draws me to quilting, what does being a quilter involve... Trundlebed Tales is a radio interview show that exists on the computer. All you need to do is click on the above link (the words Another Internet Radio Interview) on Thursday, May 26 at 8 p.m. Central time, and you can hear the interview live. And by the beauty of the internet, you can re-visit the interview anytime as a podcast.

If you missed my first interview with Sarah where we talked about Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Praire fame and what role quilting played in her life, you can listen to it also. Just click on the link below and it will take you to the site. The show is one hour long, and we really covered a lot of territory! Imagine my delight to have heard from Sarah that over 2,000 people have listened to the broadcast and it has been one of her most listened to broadcasts!

Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder Interview

 


Wisconsin Shop Hop 2016

It's almost Shop Hop time in Wisconsin! The 2016 Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop is June 3 to June 25. If you are new to what a shop hop is, here's the scoop. Every June, Wisconsin quilt shops (over 60) join together for a Quilt Shop Hop, where shoppers are encouraged to make the rounds to as many quilt shops as their hearts desire. Special exhibits are put in place, each year featuring a new line of fabric that has been designed especially with Wisconsin in mind. Many of the shops design a pattern using the year's fabric, and the patterns are unveiled during the shop hop.

For the fifth year in a row, Gatherings, the shop here in my town of Boscobel, has commissioned me to design their Shop Hop quilt, and here it is.

scallops

The picture blocks are part of a panel of scenes from Wisconsin. The scallops and borders surrounding then are a fun way to make the pictures a real feature. This technique would be a great way to expand the size of any 9" block you may have, whether if be from a panel or an orphan block from an old project.

Gatherings will have kits available. You may also purchase just the pattern from Gatherings, or from me. Check out the Ordering section of this website for details. At $4, the pattern is a real bargain!

 


Row By Row Challenge

In addition to the Shop Hop, Gatherings is also participating in a fun challenge called Row By Row. In this challenge, participating shops each design a pattern according the a set theme that is for a row of a quilt. This year's theme? Home Sweet Home.

homesweethome

When you travel from shop to shop, you can pick up the pattern, or a kit containing the fabrics and pattern. Pick and choose which rows are your favorites. Make your own row by row quilt! Patterns will be available June 21, and are available only by stopping into Gatherings June 21 - September 6. The challenge offers some great prizes! What a fun way to collect patterns.

After October 31, the pattern will also be available in the Ordering section of this website.

 


Coming Fall of 2016: More Little House on the Prairie Fabrics

website

Check it out! Andover Fabrics is introducing yet another line of fabrics inspired by Little House on the Prairie. This line is called Mansfield (as in Mansfield, MO, where Laura and Almanzo made their home) and will be released in October. I can't wait to get my hands on some of this!

 


Upcoming Classes and Presentations

Mark your calendar! Here are the classes I have been contracted to teach through September. Remember that if your local guild or shop is looking for a program, I am happy to travel to your location. I teach all over the country and have a wide range of offerings, from lecture trunk shows to workshops of varying length.

Beginning Hand Applique
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
9:30 am - 12 noon
Millhouse Quilts, Waunakee, WI

heart

I know a lot of students are put off by applique. You needn't be. My technique is actually easier than most, and gives lovely results. The class project is a charming little piece, measuring about 8" square, so it is something that will be quick and easy to do. With the shape of the heart, you will learn several of the basic shapes encountered in applique: straight edges, outer curves, outer points, and inner points. I use a ladder stitch to do applique (also the same stitch I use to finish bindings). This is a wonderfully versatile stitch that is invisible, resulting in applique you will be proud to show off.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilting

I quilt in a method called stab stitch (or poke pull quilting), with one hand above the frame and one hand below the frame. This allows me to get stitches that look straight and even on both the front and the back of the quilt, without the harmful repetitive motion that is used when doing quilting with a running stitch.

Students in this class will learn how to mark a design onto fabric for quilting, how to sandwich their layers in preparation for quilting, and how to create the quilting stitch by working on a feathered wreath design. With this pattern, they will learn several of the most common shapes encountered in quilting: straight lines, curves, feathers, how to travel, and how to quilt with no visible starts and stops.

This technique is particularly good not only for those who have had no success with the running stitch method of quilting, but also for those with limited flexibility due to arthritis or mastectomies. No prior experience in quilting is required. We will start at the beginning and carry on from there.

The lap frame that I like to use for this technique will be available for purchase at class.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Fabric Selection Made Easy
Monday, May 23, 2016
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Sew 'n Save, Racine, WI

If you have ever been overwhelmed by all the fabrics before you when you go into a quilt shop, or, if you wonder why your fabrics are not as exciting when they are put together as you thought they would be, this is the class you are looking for. There is no stitching, just learning about fabrics and their characteristics, and tips on how to make combinations you might never have thought of. Students will build a fabric selection notebook for future reference. Time and time again, I get feedback from students on just how helpful this class is.

This class is sponsored by Lighthouse Quilters Guild. It will be held at Sew 'n Save Quilt Shop in Racine, WI.

To register, contact Lighthouse Quilters Guild
Jayne Steffens
call 262-638-9221
jaynesteffens22@gmail.com

 


Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Story of Quilting in the Years of Laura's Youth
Monday, May 23, 2016
7 p.m.
Lighthouse Quilters Guild
Racine, WI

The Little House books, made even more popular by the Little House on the Prairie television series, tell of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up in the Midwest during a time of pioneering expansion.

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by Laura's engaging tales. In an age when people had to make do to survive, quilting played a natural and vital role. Not only are specific patterns mentioned throughout Laura's stories, but many existing quilt patterns reflect the adventures of life on the prairie.

This presentation is a combination slide and trunk show which supplements my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series. Viewers will explore quilts as Laura would have known them, tracing the history of quiltmaking during the time period of Laura's youth.

To register, contact Lighthouse Quilters Guild
Jayne Steffens
call 262-638-9221
jaynesteffens22@gmail.com

 


1 x 1: A Trunk Show of Quilts Using 1 inch x 1 inch Squares
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
7 p.m.
Sheboygan County Quilters Guild
Sheboygan, WI

With the publication of my first Scrap Bonanza book, I became fascinated with what one could do with the tiny scraps that were cut away and thrown out in the construction process of quiltmaking. Making inventive used of these cutaways has become a trademark of my scrap quilts. By doing an extra line of stitching on these units before the excess is cut off, the cutaways become pre-sewn units that can be used to make what I call Bonus Quilts.

Truly nothing goes to waste as these diminuative 1 inch x 1 inch pieced squares transform into dozens of patchwork possibilities. Enjoy viewing dozens of quilts that will show just how you can transform tiny bits of cloth that would have otherwise been discarded. It will change the way you think about how you construct quilts.

Format: Trunk show of quilts from my personal collection.

To register, contact:
Betty Price
3510 N. 49th Pl
Sheboygan, WI 53083
rprice0950@charter.net
920-226-0600

 


Crazy Quilt Sampler
Thursday, June 9, 2016
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sheboygan County Quilters Guild
Sheboygan, WI

Priority Alzheimer

Join me as we explore Crazy Quilts by making this charming sampler. Hand embroidery (no sewing machine required!) creates a variety of stitches that are then embellished with buttons, laces, and bits of ribbon to create a lovely keepsake. The class sample is about the size of a sheet of paper, making it an easy project to complete. Come learn the heartwarming story behind this creation.

To register, contact:
Betty Price
3510 N. 49th Pl
Sheboygan, WI 53083
rprice0950@charter.net
920-226-0600

 


Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Story of Quilting in the Years of Laura's Youth
Monday, September 12, 2016
RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 3 !!!
7 p.m.
Lodi Valley Quilters Guild
Lodi, WI

The Little House books, made even more popular by the Little House on the Prairie television series, tell of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grew up in the Midwest during a time of pioneering expansion.

Children and adults alike continue to be fascinated by Laura's engaging tales. In an age when people had to make do to survive, quilting played a natural and vital role. Not only are specific patterns mentioned throughout Laura's stories, but many existing quilt patterns reflect the adventures of life on the prairie.

This presentation is a combination slide and trunk show which supplements my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series. Viewers will explore quilts as Laura would have known them, tracing the history of quiltmaking during the time period of Laura's youth.

For further information, contact
Trish Frankland
W 10632 Cty Rd J
Lodi, WI 53555
call 608-235-4646
trish.frankland@gmail.com

 


Fabric Selection Made Easy
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
9:30 am - 12 noon
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

If you have ever been overwhelmed by all the fabrics before you when you go into a quilt shop, or, if you wonder why your fabrics are not as exciting when they are put together as you thought they would be, this is the class you are looking for. There is no stitching, just learning about fabrics and their characteristics, and tips on how to make combinations you might never have thought of. Students will build a fabric selection notebook for future reference. Time and time again, I get feedback from students on just how helpful this class is.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilting

I quilt in a method called stab stitch (or poke pull quilting), with one hand above the frame and one hand below the frame. This allows me to get stitches that look straight and even on both the front and the back of the quilt, without the harmful repetitive motion that is used when doing quilting with a running stitch.

Students in this class will learn how to mark a design onto fabric for quilting, how to sandwich their layers in preparation for quilting, and how to create the quilting stitch by working on a feathered wreath design. With this pattern, they will learn several of the most common shapes encountered in quilting: straight lines, curves, feathers, how to travel, and how to quilt with no visible starts and stops.

This technique is particularly good not only for those who have had no success with the running stitch method of quilting, but also for those with limited flexibility due to arthritis or mastectomies. No prior experience in quilting is required. We will start at the beginning and carry on from there.

The lap frame that I like to use for this technique will be available for purchase at class.

To register, contact:
Mill House Quilts
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


 


January 2016 Update

Another Quilt Exhibit

CFB20161

CFB20162

CFB20163

The exhibit of quilts I did in October at Community First Bank in Boscobel, WI were so popular that they requested another exhibit. This time, I installed a group of ten antique and vintage quilts from my collection that range from c.1875 to 1976. They will be on display for the month of January. I hope you can come see them. They really are lovely.

 


More banners commissioned by the church in Janesville, WI

I have the pleasure of working once again with St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Janesville, WI. Their request was for three pieces for the white season of the church that contained meaningful symbols as well as the concept of flowing water. The white season calls to mind purity, light, and joy. The challenge for me was to create something that was primarily white yet still dynamic in design.

Keeping with the stained glass theme of my previous commissions, I chose to work in a wide range of white on white prints with silver 'leading' to give the illusion of etched glass with stained glass overlays. The use of a pale cream fabric creates a cross in the center of the smaller pieces, and repeating crosses in the altar cloth. Flowing water was formed by the interweaving of bands of blue fabrics.

The lectern piece features the dove of peace carrying an olive branch.

lectern

The pulpit piece is adorn with interlocking rings of the trinity done in red, gold, and purple.

pulpit

And finally, the altar cloth, which displays the cross, the crown, and the shell of baptism.

altar

 


November 2015 Update

Quilt Exhibit

logcabinCFB

I was honored to be invited to exhibit several of my quilts for the month of October at Community First Bank in Boscobel, WI.

stackedbrks

It is a lovely space with a second floor balcony that is perfect for displaying quilts. Imagine my delight when they asked if they could keep the quilts there another month! They said the response has been so positive that they would like to keep the quilts up for the month of November. Because I need some of the quilts that were on display for upcoming workshops, I replaced them with other quilts.

There are 14 quilts in all. Even if you stopped in to see the quilts in October, do drop in to see them again! There are three quilts new to the exhibit that I think you will enjoy.

kingscrownCBF

October 2015 Update

Little House on the Prairie Fabrics

In October, Andover Fabrics is introducing three lines of Little House on the Prairie fabrics.

Walnut Grove: Named for the town in Minnesota where the Ingalls family settled in 1874, the Walnut Grove collection features prints from the era that their quilts would have been made from.

WalnutGrove

Prairie Flowers: The quilts of the Little House on the Prairie TV show feature bold, bright prints that gave the show its life and color. The Prairie Flowers collection is a rainbow wave of calicos, inspired by the TV quilts.

PrairieFlowers

Scenics and Icons: Inspired by the illustrations found in the novels, this collection features iconic imagery such as the running girl, wagon, little cabin, and the majestic scenery.

Icons

 


I was invited by Andover to create a quilt out of the Little House fabrics for their booth at Quilt Market in October. Here is a sneak peak of the quilt top. What makes this picture more fun is that I am standing in front of the reproduction Ingalls cabin in Pepin, Wisconsin, the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Icons

And here is a picture of the quilted quilt.

AndoverFabricQuilt

It will be one of the quilts featured by Andover at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston. Such an honor! The quilt is made up of a collection of blocks from my book Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie Series . I did not write a pattern for this specific quilt, but rather, chose several blocks from the book that gave me a chance to play with the fabrics and come up with my own arrangement. I can't wait to see what quilts people make from the fabrics themselves!

 


Watson Homestead Cabin Fever Retreat

Pickupsticks

Come join me the first weekend in February at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, NY for the 11th Annual Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat. Located in the countryside of the Finger Lakes Area of New York State, Watson Homestead is a lovely place to getaway and do nothing but quilt!

Class begins on Friday afternoon, February 5, 2016, with a workshop on Mitering Corners. Whether you are framing a block within your quilt, or creating mitered corners on the quilt's border, this class will make the process oh so easy. The retreat continues on Friday evening with the quilt I designed for my local quilt shop, Gatherings, for this year's Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop. If you don't know by know, I love scrap quilts, and this pattern fits that bill perfectly! There is something very satisfying about using lots of different fabrics in a quilt that works up quickly, and that is just what this quilt did. I call this quilt Pick-Up Sticks. It is NOT done with paper piecing (paper piecing and I don't get along. I always cut off the wrong piece of fabric!) Instead, I devised what was really a quick and clever way to create this design using just strips and squares. Measuring 29" by 29", this makes a darling wall hanging.

The workshop for Pickup Sticks continues on through Sunday at noon, February 7. Students can come just for the Friday afternoon class, or stay for the entire weekend experience. For registration information, contact www.watsonhomestead.comWatson Homestead.

And if the color scheme of this year's Shop Hop Fabric isn't your thing, how about this very scrappy version of Pick Up Sticks. It was such fun to do, and I love the colors. Hope you do to.

Pickupsticks

 


 


Little House on the Prairie.com

website

Whether you are a fan of the Little House books, or the tv show, or both, Little House on the Prairie.com is a website you need to check out. It is a wonderful resource of information on everything from Laura historic sites to the backstory behind various aspects of Laura's life to a lifestyle section that provides information on how you too can recreate a Little House experience.

This summer, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the people behind the website, and I was invited to write an article or two for them. This link will take you to the first article, Quilting with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Enjoy!

 


A New Mystery Book with a Laura Ingalls Wilder Theme

DeathonthePrairie

Death on the Prairie

Last newsletter, I told you about the new book by Kathleen Ernst coming out in October 2015. Kathleen has written several young adult books as part of the American Girl doll series, as well as a fun series of mysteries for adults. Her newest book, Death on the Prairie, picks up on the adventures of her main character Chloe Ellefson, a Collections Curator at Old World Wisconsin. While Chloe is fictional, Old World Wisconsin really exists. It is an open air museum in Eagle, Wisconsin. In the story, Chloe has been given a quilt that was supposedly made by Laura. In an effort to try to authenticate the claim, she and her sister take off on a road trip to several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic sites to see if they can match any fabrics from the quilt given to her to fabrics used in quilts known to have been made by Laura. And because it is a mystery, and because these things just keep happening to Chloe, dead bodies start turning up.

When Kathleen told me the premise of her book, we began talking about the quilts at the various historic sites, and I told her about my research on the Dove in the Window Block that Laura made for her wedding quilt. I am thrilled to report that my theories made it into the story line! What fun! Kathleen commissioned me to make a quilt for her to take with her on her publicity tour that consists of the blocks Laura talks about in her books. It was a fun challenge to arrange the blocks so they too could well a story. The front of the quilt consists of Nine Patch Blocks as well as a Bears Paw and a version of Dove in the Window that is similar to the Bears Paw block.

kathleensquilt

The Dove in the Window pattern is the one Laura made for her wedding quilt. Because they lost most of their possessions in a house fire very early on in their marriage, Laura and Almanzo's wedding quilt has remained a mystery. There are several patterns known as Dove in the Window and it is unknown which one Laura made. Here is where my research came in. There is a very unusual single block made by Laura that is at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum in Burr Oak, Iowa. Imagine my surprise to find a sketch of a block very similar to the Burr Oak block in a quilt book from the 1920's, identified as Dove in the Window.

This version has an octagon shape in the center that can be very tricky to piece. If not done accurately, the block won't go together well. The Burr Oak block doesn't lay quite flat. In trying to recreate it, I discovered that the octagon is not equilateral, that is, the sides are not all the same length. When placed as it is in the Burr Oak piece, the block doesn't lay quite flat. But, if turned by one side, it fits perfectly! I really think Laura was trying to recreate this complex block from memory some 50 years after she made the original, and while she had it almost right, because the octagon was not positioned correctly, the end result didn't quite work.

The back of the quilt I made for Kathleen shows the original Dove in the Window pattern as seen in a quilt publication from the 1920's (lower right). It also shows an adaptation of that block, with the center octagon correctly placed, demonstrating what the Burr Oak block would have looked like if the center was correctly positioned.

kathleensquilt

I received my copy yesterday. Imagine my delight to see that my review of the book appears on page one! I have really enjoyed the entire Chloe series, and I think you will too. If you haven't read these books yet, I highly recommend them for a fun read. Watch for the release of my pattern for the quilt I made to go along with Death on the Prairie coming soon.

 


 


 


June 2015 update

I have been spiffing up my website. Be sure to check out the new sections that have been added. The Laura Ingalls Wilder tab is a terrific resource for Wilder fans. The Links tab is full of links to various quilting resources. And of course, the Tips and Tricks tab gives you a new tip every month to make your quilting experience more enjoyable.

 


Shop Hop

So many things to tell you about! First of all, it's Shop Hop time in Wisconsin! The 2015 Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop is June 5 to June 27. If you are new to this site, let me explain. Every June, Wisconsin quilt shops (over 60) join together for a Quilt Shop Hop, where shoppers are encouraged to make the rounds to as many quilt shops as their hearts desire. Special exhibits are put in place, each year featuring a new line of fabric that has been designed especially with Wisconsin in mind. Many of the shops design a pattern using the year's fabric, and the patterns are unveiled during the shop hop.

This year has been really fun for me, as I was asked to design quilts for TWO of the shops! Millhouse Quilts, in Waunakee, WI, is fully embracing the Wisconsin theme of the shop hop by paying tribute to Wisconsin-born Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame. Millhouse asked me to design a quilt using blocks from my book Quilting With Laura, Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie Series. While the book features hand piecing techniques in keeping with how Laura pieced her quilts, this quilt and the pattern that goes with it are done with machine piecing techniques. A charming 30" square, this quilt would make a lovely keepsake for any home.

MillhouseShopHop2015

 


In addition, Gatherings, the shop here in my town of Boscobel, commissioned me for the fourth year in a row, to design their Shop Hop quilt. If you don't know by now, I love scrap quilts, and this pattern fits that bill perfectly! There is something very satisfying about using lots of different fabrics in a quilt that works up quickly, and that is just what this quilt did. I call this quilt Pick-Up Sticks. It is NOT done with paper piecing (paper piecing and I don't get along. I always cut off the wrong piece of fabric!) Instead, I devised what was really a quick and clever way to create this design using just strips and squares. Measuring 29" by 29", this too makes a darling wall hanging.

Pickupsticks

And if the color scheme of this year's Shop Hop Fabric isn't your thing, how about this very scrappy version of Pick-Up Sticks. It was such fun to do, and I love the colors. Hope you do to.

Pickupsticks

Both shops are offering kits for their quilts as well as the pattern. Check out the ORDERING tab of this website for pattern ordering info. In the meantime, get out your maps and start planning your Wisconsin Shop Hop!

 


Little House on the Prairie Fabric Line

Speaking of Little House on the Prairie, there are several bits of news to share. First of all, Andover Fabrics is coming out with a line of fabric inspired by Little House on the Prairie. It was informally introduced at Spring Quilt Market, and will be hitting stores after Fall Quilt Market in late October. I have seen previews of the fabric, and Little House fans are going to be very pleased. What is fun for me is that I have been invited to make a quilt using the fabrics for Andover to use in their booth at Quilt Market!

 


Little House on the Prairie Conference

Some of you may remember that in 2012 I had the honor of being one of the featured presenters at Laurapalooza, the conference held in Mankato, MN in which researchers presented papers on their area of research on Laura Ingalls Wilder. What fun that was. My presentation was about what quilting was like when Laura was learning to quilt. It resulted in the lecture program that is now one of my program offerings. The 3 day event was such a treat! Attendees included fans of the books as well as fans of the tv show. Presentations delved into the backstories of Laura's life. It was great fun. Well, it is Laurapalooza time again, and there is great excitement about this year's event.

Laura began writing down her stories when she was in her 60's as a way to be sure that the stories weren't lost. Her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, was submitted to publishers, but no one was interested. Not being one to give up easily, she reworked it into a much smaller book called Little House in the Big Woods. To our great fortune, that was picked up by a publisher, to great success. Readers were so enchanted that they wanted more, and eventually, the series of books that are now loved worldwide came into being. That still left her original autobiography unpublished.

After many years of research, editor Pamela Smith Hill teamed up with the South Dakota State Historical Society to publish Laura's book as an annotated autobiography. Ms. Hill does an amazing job of placing the text in historical context, complete with photos of the people and places Laura wrote about as well as the backstories to Laura's writings. They went to press last Fall with 15,000 books which were snapped up by Laura fans before they had even come off the press. So a second printing of 15,000 was ordered, and that didn't begin to cover the pre-orders that were coming in. Reviews began showing up in the likes of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and on NPR, to name a few. To make a long story short, by midsummer, 145,000 copies will be in print, and readers who ordered their copies months ago are finally getting their copies.

This year's Laurapalooza Conference will be held in Brookings, SD, and Pamela Smith Hill is the keynote speaker. Will I be there? You bet! Can't wait! Here is a link with information about the Conference. There is still time to register. Hope to see some of you there!

http://beyondlittlehouse.com/laurapalooza-2015

 


More Little House News

One of the things that has always fascinated me about Laura is the quilt she talked about making for her hope chest. It was a Dove in the Window pattern and a very tricky one because of all the bias seams. Ma, Laura clearly remembers, made her take out the seams several times until she got them right. We have all had that experience! I have always wondered what that quilt looked like. Sadly, early on in their marriage, Laura and Almanzo lost everything in a house fire, including the quilt. When I was writing my book Quilting with Laura, I had come upon a pattern called Dove in the Window that indeed did have lots of bias seams, and I made a guess that it might have been the design Laura had made, but of course, there was no proof.

Fast forward. While visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum in Burr Oak, IA, where the family lived for a short time while Pa helped manage the Masters Hotel, I saw a quilt block on display that was made by Laura. It was a very unusual pattern, one I had never seen before.

As I was doing research for my lecture on Laura, I came across a line drawing of a block called Dove in the Window in an obscure quilt book called Old Patchwork Quilts by Ruth Finley from 1929. I was struck with the similarities between Laura's block and this drawing. When Laura was learning to quilt, there were no quilt pattern books. They did not come until much later. She may have seen the design at a county fair or at a friend's quilting bee, or someone may have sent her a sketch of the design. That was the way patterns traveled from person to person before catalogs offering quilt patterns became commonplace.

The block at Burr Oak is an odd one, that is to say, I have never seen a whole quilt made of this pattern. What struck me was the similarity to the drawing of the Dove in the Window block shown in Ruth Finley's 1929 book. The Burr Oak block has some variations from the Finley version. The outer diamond in the center section of Laura's Burr Oak block are cut as one piece, for example, where the shape in the Finley version is three pieces sewn together.

Construction-wise, the center octagon would be assembled first, then set into the center of the main block. It turns out that this shape is not a perfect octagon, but rather one that is slightly elongated. It would be easy to rotate that center octagon by one turn, which would then coincide with the Burr Oak block. When the octagon is rotated by one turn, it doesn't fit smoothly into the block. The edges are all bias, and it would certainly explain Ma making Laura take out the pieces and re-do them until they were correct, and why Laura's Burr Oak block does not lay smooth.

My theory is that Laura, in later years, wanted to reconstruct the Dove in the Window pattern from her youth and was trying to do it from memory. It would explain the minor variations from the Finley block. The offset of the center octagon in the Burr Oak block, which caused it to not lay flat, would explain why Laura did not continue to make an entire quilt of the pattern.

 


A New Mystery Book with a Laura Ingalls Wilder Theme

DeathonthePrairie

Death on the Prairie

My journey with Laura continues. I was recently contacted by author Kathleen Ernst that she was writing a mystery book with Laura Ingalls Wilder as a theme. Kathleen has written several young adult books as part of the American Girl doll series, as well as a fun series of mysteries for adults. Her newest book, due out in October, picks up on the adventures of her main character Chloe Ellefson, a Collections Curator at Old World Wisconsin. While Chloe is fictional, Old World Wisconsin really exists. It is an open air museum in Eagle, Wisconsin. In the story, Chloe has been given a quilt that was supposedly made by Laura. In an effort to try to authenticate the claim, she and her sister take off on a road trip to several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic sites to see if they can match any fabrics from the quilt given to her to fabrics used in quilts known to have been made by Laura. And because it is a mystery, and because these things just keep happening to Chloe, dead bodies start turning up.

When Kathleen told me the premise of her book, we began talking about the quilts at the various historic sites, and I told her about my research on the Burr Oak Block. I am thrilled to report that my theories made it into the story line! What fun! Kathleen has commissioned me to make a quilt for her to take with her on her publicity tour that consists of the blocks Laura talks about in her books, including the Burr Oak block. Both the book, DEATH ON THE PRAIRIE (Publisher Midnight Ink Books) and the pattern I will publish of the commissioned quilt, will be available in October.

 


And Yet More Little House News

Quilting With Laura Cover

Between the debut of the Little House line of fabric in October, the release of Death on the Prairie and the quilt pattern that will accompany the book, the adaptation of some of the blocks for Millhouse Quilts Shop Hop Quilt, and renewed interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder with the publication of Laura's autobiography PIONEER GIRL, I am in the process of reprinting Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie Series. The book has done well over the years at the various Laura historic sites, at quilt shops, and at my lectures, and I am happy to say that a reprint was in order to restock my supply of books!

 


Late January 2015 Update: Class is in Session!

With the holidays behind us, classes are now in session for 2015. Several skill building classes have been scheduled at both the Quilt Peddler in Fennimore, WI and Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, WI. Skill Building Classes are half day sessions meant to cover the basics of any given technique. They are a great introduction to learning something new, or the perfect refresher if it has been a while since you have done a particular technique.

These half day sessions are good for any level of past experience. I always start as if you are new to the technique and build from there. Some classes are during the week and some are on a Saturday. Hopefully there is a time and topic that will work for you! When you are checking your calendar, remember that for any shop or quilt guild, when classes are scheduled, the sponsor needs to evaluate whether or not to go ahead with the class based on attendance, so don't wait until the last minute to sign up, or you may find that the class has been cancelled.

 


Rolling Star Quilt
Friday, February 6, 2015
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat, Watson Homestead, Painted Post, NY (central New York State)

RollingStar

One of my favorite Star blocks, you have the choice of creating these individual blocks in two different sizes. The technique includes slick tricks that allow you to create a block with seemingly lots of tiny pieces without ever having to actually work with tiny pieces. A fun way to spend the afternoon!

To register at Watson Homestead, contact:
Neil Yoder
607-962-0541
watsonneil@stny.rr.com
www.watsonhomestead.com

 


Postcards: A Remembrance Quilt
February 6 - February 8, 2015
Friday evening - Sunday noon
Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat, Watson Homestead, Painted Post, NY (central New York State)

Postcards

Designed for the 2014 Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop, this quilt gives you perfect areas to frame and highlight those special fabrics or mementos you want to treasure, whether they be pictures, embroideries, or signatures.

To register at Watson Homestead, contact
Neil Yoder
607-962-0541
watsonneil@stny.rr.com
www.watsonhomestead.com

 


Fabric Selection Made Easy
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

If you have ever been overwhelmed at the selection before you when you go into a quilt shop, or, if you wonder why your fabrics are not as exciting when they are put together as you thought they would be, this is the class you are looking for. There is no stitching, just learning about fabrics and their characteristics, and tips on how to make combinations you might never have thought of. Students will build a fabric selection notebook for future reference. Time and time again, I get feedback from students on just how helpful this class is.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


Binding 101
Wednesday February 18, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

That final step: binding your quilt. This is another great skill building class that should be in every repertoire. Learn why bias bindings make better bindings than straight grain, how to make a long continuous strip of binding, how to correctly apply it to the edges of your quilt so the edges do not ripple, and how to miter the binding in the corners. Finish that off with how to invisibly stitch the final edges in place. Give your quilts the edge finishing they deserve.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


Beginning Hand Piecing
Thursday, March 5, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

There was a time when this was the only way quilts were assembled. Learn the basics of how to piece a block by hand, including how to make templates, how to mark your fabric for hand piecing, and how to construct a block with perfectly matched corners and points.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


Beginning Hand Applique
Thursday, March 5, 2015
1 pm - 4 pm
The Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

heart

This is the perfect take-along project that gives you a chance to learn the technique for several of the basic shapes encountered in applique: curves, inside points, outside points, and of course, straight edges. This is the stitch I use to finish off the binding on my quilts. It is particularly lovely because it gives you an invisible stitch.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


Borders
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
The Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

This class starts out as a trunk show of over three dozen quilts, all with different borders on them. It is a treasure trove of ideas on how to find just the right border for your quilt. Learn how to avoid borders that ripple on the edges, and follow that with how to create a perfectly mitered border by stitching a mitered sample. This is a skill building class that everyone can learn something from.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


Crazy Quilt Sampler
Saturday, March 21, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
The Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

Priority Alzheimer

Spend National Quilting Day with me at the Quilt Peddler as we explore Crazy Quilts by making this charming sampler. Hand embroidery (no sewing machine required!) creates a variety of stitches that are then embellished with buttons, laces, and bits of ribbon to create a lovely keepsake. The class sample is about the size of a sheet of paper, making it an easy project to complete. Come learn the heartwarming story behind this creation.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


Beginning Hand Applique
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

heart

The perfect take-along project that gives you a chance to learn the technique for several of the basic shapes encountered in applique: curves, inside points, outside points, and of course, straight edges. This is the stitch I use to finish off the binding on my quilts. It is particularly lovely because it gives you an invisible stitch.

To register at Mill House Quilts, contact:
Dianne Larson
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
1:00p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

quilting

This class teaches my revolutionary method of hand quilting that uses the poke pull or stab stitch. Different from the running stitch, this technique gives you stitches that look the same on the back of your quilt as they do on the front, all without the damaging repetitive motion that creates carpal tunnel that the running stitch does. If you have arthritis or limited grasping skills, this technique may be just what you have been looking for. We stitch a feathered wreath on muslin, giving you a chance to do all the shapes you will encounter in real life quilting.

To register at Mill House Quilts, contact:
Dianne Larson
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

 


Mastering Hand Quilting: The Stab Stitch
Saturday, April 18, 2015
1:00p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Quilt Peddler, Fennimore, WI

quilting

Scheduled on a Saturday for those of you who work during the week, this class teaches my revolutionary method of hand quilting that uses the poke pull or stab stitch. Different from the running stitch, this technique gives you stitches that look the same on the back of your quilt as they do on the front, all without the damaging repetitive motion that creates carpal tunnel that the running stitch does. If you have arthritis or limited grasping skills, this technique may be just what you have been looking for. We stitch a feathered wreath on muslin, giving you a chance to do all the shapes you will encounter in real life quilting.

To register at The Quilt Peddler, contact:
Nancy Porter
4420 US Hwy 18 E
Fennimore, WI 53809
quiltpeddlerllc@gmail.com
608-822-6822

 


More Church Banners

Through the wonders of the internet, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in West Grove, Pennsylvania found out about the church banners I had made for St. John's Lutheran Church here in Boscobel. As a result, they commissioned me to make banners for their parish in remembrance of one of their parishioners.

They recently completed construction on a new community center and wanted artwork for both the general meeting room as well as the stair well. Once again, I used their stained glass windows as inspiration to create a series of banners for them.

(toknowjesus

This set of banners expresses the guiding principle of their parish: To Know Jesus, To Love Jesus, To Serve Jesus. The white lilies are the symbol for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the name of their church.

lilycross

The other set of banners was made for their stairwell, an imposing 12 foot high space that was beautifully filled by these banners which create a cross in the white space between them. Again, the white lilies are used in honor of their parish.

I flew to West Grove to install the banners and was able to be there then they were presented to the congregation. To see such color and pattern bring otherwise blank spaces to life was a joy.

 


Stay tuned. More banners have been commissioned by the church in Janesville, WI. They will be created this Spring.

 


September 1, 2014 Update

Fall is in the air, and it is time to think about signing up for workshops. There is always something new to learn, and the chance to get together with others just as excited about quilting as you are is sure to lift your spirits. With that in mind, here is what is coming up. Hope to see you soon!

Prairie Lilies Scrap Quilt Workshop
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 pm.
Mill House Quilts, Waunakee, WI

prairie_lilies

This class is one of my favorite two-for-one classes where the construction techniques result in cutaways that are used to make a bonus quilt, so you will get patterns for two quilts in this workshop, the one shown above as well as this charming bonus quilt.

prairie_lilies

Class starts out with a fabric selection exercise, showing you what to pick and choose from your collection of fabric to come up with exciting fabric combinations. From there, machine piecing techniques combine with hand applique stems and leaves to create the Prairie Lilies Scrap Quilt. Join me for a day packed full of wonderful stitching!

To register for the Prairie Lilies Scrap Quilt Workshop at Mill House Quilts, contact:
Dianne Larson
100 Baker Street
Waunakee, WI 53597
608-849-6473
www.millhousequilts.com

Just a note that they have been doing construction in Waunakee all summer. Hopefully, the road construction will be done by now, but be sure to ask when you register so you will know if you have to plan in extra travel time.

 


Announcing: 2015 Cabin Fever Retreat, Watson Homestead, Painted Post, NY

This marks the 10th year for the Watson Homestead Retreat. Once again, I will be returning to Upstate New York to do two workshops: a half day workshop on Friday, February 6, followed by a longer workshop that runs from Friday evening, February 6 through Sunday noon, February 8. You can come to either workshops, or make a long weekend of it and come to both. It's a delightful space, with tons of room to spread out, and someone else to prepare all the meals. It is a weekend of stitching, stitching, and more stitching!

Friday afternoon starts with a new 3 hour workshop, Rolling Star.

RollingStar

The first time I made this design, it was as the Bonus Quilt made from the leftovers of a larger quilt. I have always loved this pattern, and decided to make it all on its own. The result? Some more of my Stitching Magic..... While this star looks like it is made up of 21 teeny tiny pieces, there is not a single triangle cut in this method of construction. Instead, you will be cutting 3 sizes of squares, and with a few simple steps, they will be transformed into this Rolling Star block! So much fun, so much magic!

The fun continues with another new workshop, Postcards: A Remembrance Quilt, that begins Friday evening.

Postcards

For the third year in a row, Gatherings, the Country Decor and Fabric shop here in Boscobel, WI, commissioned me to design a wallhanging pattern using the fabrics designed especially for the statewide shop hop. And what fun it was! This year's fabrics have a lovely antique feel, with design elements that scream Wisconsin. From the antique postcards of places around the State, to the postal stamp collage, these fabrics were a treat to work with.

Working to create a scrapbook feel, postcard motifs are fussy-cut to be the centerpieces of several of the blocks. The alternate blocks create an intriguing interlocking design that help to highlight the postcards. Any fabric with motifs you would like to focus on could be used in the postcard position. I have already made another quilt from the same pattern, using plain fabric in the postcard spot, where autographs will go. Or try it with photo transfers. Let your imagination be your guide!

Ready to sign up? Contact Neil or Donna at Watson Homestead 607-962-0541 for more information.

 


Personalized Workshops

In case you are new to my newsletter, or if it has escaped your attention, know that I offer workshops here in my home in southwest Wisconsin. I require a minimum of 4 students, and can accommodate 6 - 8 students, depending on if it is a hand stitching technique or one that requires a sewing machine.

Classes here in my home include a tour of my studio, where you will get lots of storage and workspace set-up ideas. For those who have been here for classes before, know that I have once again rearranged things, so I have a new set up from previously. Come to check out the storage ideas!

We will also do a 'bed turning', where you will get to see a collection of my quilts, in addition to the display of quilts that will be hanging in my dining room, where the class will be held. We have lots of natural sunlight in the class area, as well as individual Ott lights for those who need them. And in case one of those Midwest Humid Days is upon us, we are air-conditioned. Literally, all the comforts of home!

I invite you to check out my class offerings, over 60 options in all. If you see a class you would like to take, let me know, and we can work on scheduling a session. The fun of the workshops here in my home is that you are able to learn in a much smaller class group that is usually held in a shop or guild.

To complete the experience, there is a lovely shop here in Boscobel, 3 blocks from my home, as well as a full service quilt shop 15 minutes away in Fennimore for you to check out while you are in the area. I highly recommend both as must-see places to check out.

So do consider scheduling a personalized workshop for you and your quilting friends! I'd love to see you.

.

 


More Church Banners

In 2011, I was commissioned to make banners for our church (see details in article below). As luck would have it, the sister of one of our parishioners saw them, and told her church about them. When a member of her church expressed a desire to do something special in memory of her husband, the banners came to mind, and I was commissioned to make some for their church.

Check out the What's New section of this website for more details, but here is a look at the finished results.

goinpeace2

servethelord2

They were installed in January, 2014 on the face of the choir loft in St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Janesville, WI.

 


In Other Quilting News...

Woodland Ridge Retreat

woodland

I am so happy to share this news with you. Chris Daly, the talented fabric dyer I have written about in past postings, has had a dream come true. She and her husband Mark have purchased Woodland Ridge Retreat in Downsville, and we are all the beneficiaries. This gorgeous retreat center can be the site of your next quilting get-away (or scrap booking, or knitting, or writing.... whatever your heart desires!)

Chris describes it best: Woodland Ridge Retreat is a creative getaway designed with quilters and fiber artists in mind. Located in the rural village of Downsville, Wisconsin, this idyllic property overlooks the scenic Red Cedar River Valley in the west-central part of the state. Our retreat offers deluxe accommodations and brightly lit gathering rooms. The facility is on one level with ADA accessible guest accommodations.

I have to say, just looking at the pictures is an inspiration. The setting is so peaceful, the light in the rooms is amazing. I can't wait to check it out. You should, too. You'll be glad you did!

http://www.woodlandridgeretreat.blogspot.com

 


Quilt Note Cards!

I now offer note cards featuring four of my quilts:
Princess Feather Applique
Barn Raising Log Cabin
Log Cabin Free For All
and
Split Rail Variation

They are really lovely, and would make beautiful gifts. Due to requests for different ordering options, they have been repackaged to offer you more variety and greater value. Each pack now contains 4 glossy note cards, blank inside, with envelopes. You can order 4 of the same design, or a variety pack of 1 of each design. Packs are $6 each (4 note cards), or a gift pack of 8 note Cards (2 of each design) for $10. The gift packs are beautifully packaged in a clear acetate gift box.

prinfeathnote

Princess Feather Applique is a half scale replica of a circa 1850 antique quilt. Hand Appliqued by Linda Halpin.

lognote

Barn Raising Log Cabin Quilt started out as a way to use some of my cutaway units as the centers of the log cabin blocks. Machine Pieced by Linda Halpin. Beautifully machine quilted by Penny Gerds.

mandyslognote

Log Cabin Free For All uses a 1 inch half square triangle (a cutaway unit) as the block centers. Machine Pieced by Linda Halpin. Custom quilted by Marcia Wachuta of www.CraftySewing.com

splitrailnote

Split Rail Variation is the bonus quilt made from cutaways of a larger Flying Geese quilt. Machine Pieced by Linda Halpin. Custom quilting designed and expertly done by Marcia Wachuta of www.CraftySewing.com. This quilt was featured in Quiltmaker Magazine.

To order Note Cards:

If ordering two packs, you may mix designs. Specify you choice. Postage is $1.50 per pack.

Pay by check made out to Linda Halpin, with your name, address, phone number (in case there are questions) email address (for shipping verification notice), and your desired pattern(s) to

 


In other news, don't forget to check out the TIPS AND TRICKS section of the website. On the first of every month, I list a new tip. Also, the WHAT'S NEW section of the website is updated more frequently than the NEWSLETTER with late breaking news, so be sure to visit it frequently.

 


Blog Radio Interview

In case you missed it, I was the featured guest on Sarah Uthoff's blog radio show Trundlebed Tales. The topic of our interview was Quilts and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Check it out, and enjoy! Trundlebed Tales: Quilts and Laura Ingalls Wilder

 


For additional booking information, visit the Schedule section of my website.

 


Newsletter Notification...

If you would like to be added to my mailing list, send me an email at wihalpin@mwt.net
Clicking on this link will open an email window for you. Fill in the subject and message, saying you want to be added to my mailing list.

You will then receive future emails notifying you when the newsletter has been updated, with a link to the newsletter. You may also pass along the class info to your group or guild. If your email address changes, be sure to let me know so I can update your information. As always, if you decide you no longer want to receive info, ask to be removed from my mailing list.