Laura Ingalls Wilder was a quilter

Laura Ingalls Wilder lived decades before I was born but her books influenced me all my life. In second grade my mother began reading the series to me and I took over from there. It provided one of the peak moments of that year as I got to read the Little House in the Big Woods to the class once when the teacher had to step out. Be still my heart. If you've followed my blog you know that I had a great deal of trouble with bikes. But I finally learned so I could go to the library myself and check out her books.

laura re 6As you can well imagine, I was over the moon when my husband and I got to visit her homestead on a trip to South Dakota. And it even got better when I discovered that Laura Ingalls Wilder was a quilter.

Driving up I knew I was going to LOVE this visit.laura re 2

And I did. I could imagine myself as Laura, just like I did all those years ago reading her books.

Okay, so maybe I took it a bit further than just imagining it. But admit it, you would have gone for that shot also.

There were all kinds of things for kids to do, pump water, take rides and wear authentic clothing.

As an adult I mainly enjoyed walking the grounds and peeking in the buildings.

Everything was wonderfully restored and maintained.

laura re 3The sod house cut into the ground really impressed me.

At first I didn't even want to peek in.

I mean, really wouldn't there be bugs like crazy?

But it was worth it because I saw my first quilt of the day. laura re 12

At her next house, I saw my second. And I was so smitten with the place.

This vision of a quilt, as a bit of beauty used for warmth and hand stitched, that is how and why I fell in love with quilting.

Plus the blue dishes? Love them

laura re 9And they weren't just there.

The house they lived in right here in South Dakota had been recreated.

When you looked in the front room you could see those great blue dishes.

And another quilt in the bedroom. laura re 10

By this point I was realizing that this simple quilt and these books had really influenced me. And I think in a good way.

I had fallen in love with the idea of being resourceful, creating things by hand and what was Laura's eventual profession? Yes, she and I were both teachers.

And we both quilted.

laura re 11In the addition the Ingalls had built on the house there was Mary's organ but there was also a sewing machine. And a quilt in a frame was there as well.

I got to take a stitch in that quilt.

The whole day was my childhood dream come true!laura re 13

Reliving childhood fantasies and favorite books was such a treat. Seeing that sewing machine and quilt were just sublime.

And of course I bought the whole series of book. After all I've got a granddaughter to read to as well!

Sew happy!

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Read about my other books for children here.

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, biking and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, I prefer not to share that.

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