My yahoo group, SmallQuiltTalk, is doing a Winter doll quilt challenge, after the holidays, choosing quilt patterns from my 2nd book, Prairie Children & Their Quilts. This is going to be fun, I think. And if I hadn't already made all the quilts and quite a few duplicates, I'd join in too! I'm excited to see how some of the quilts turn out. Based on the other challenges we've done, every quilt is likely to be unique because each quilter uses the challenge to make the quilt "her own."
The book was inspired by children's diaries from the 19th century written on or about the trail west and is full of doll quilts made from traditional patterns using blocks that were popular at that time.
Pioneers traveled in covered wagons called Prairie Schooners, large wagons with canvas and frames covering them. The wagons were what the families called home for months. Everything a family needed was carried in these wagons—food, pots and pans, bedding for an entire family. Clothing was placed in trunks and breakables were wrapped in quilts for safeguarding.
Doll quilts were made by young girls as practice for later sewing skills. When weather did not permit travel, women and girls whiled away the time in the wagons using up scraps from worn dresses and shirts to sew quilts.
My kids really inspired me when I was writing this book. Here's a picture of my very own "prairie children" peeking out from a log cabin at a historical prairie settlement one summer quite a few years ago. They're much older now but it's still one of my favorite photos of the two of them together.