The TV version of the Wilder family.
Fabric from the “Walnut Grove” line
Promotional quilt shop poster.
Alison Arngrim as the bratty Nellie Oleson, and today.
International Quilt Market/Houston
Classes begin October 22
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, Texas, USA
International Quilt Festival/Houston
October 29-November 1
Preview Night October 28
Classes begin October 26
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, Texas, USA
International Quilt Festival/Chicago
Classes begin April 7
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont, Illinois, USA
International Quilt Market/Spring
Classes begin May 19
Salt Palace Convention Center
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
NOTE: Quilt Market is a credentialed
trade show only, and not open to
For information on these or any other Quilts, Inc. shows, visit www.quilts.com
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Be one of the FIRST
1,000 attendees to the
Premiere Schoolhouse Opening Session at
fall Market in Houston
Friday, Oct. 23
*Redeemable after the presentation with a coupon provided at Schoolhouse check-in
HOW TO GET YOUR
SWAG BAG AT MARKET
ANDOVER GOES BACK TO THE “PRAIRIE”
PREMIERE SCHOOLHOUSE FEATURES FABRIC FROM TV ICON
-By Bob Ruggiero
“Little House on the Prairie” was one of the most beloved television series of the 1970s. Running for eight seasons, its success surprised many a viewer (and TV executive) who thought that a gentle show about life on a rural Minnesota farm a full century before could compete against fare like “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Love Boat,” and “Three’s Company.”
The show was based on the autobiographical novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, first published in the 1930s. Both “Little House” media are still highly popular today; no doubt just one reason that Andover Fabrics has partnered with the original producers to introduce a line of fabrics based on them.
Andover will debut the line during the Premiere Schoolhouse Opening Session at the upcoming fall Market in Houston (10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, in Ballroom C). The first 1,000 attendees will also receive a special limited-edition “Little House” Swag Bag from Andover (redeemable after the presentation with a coupon provided at Schoolhouse check-in).
Among those in attendance will be Kathy Hall (Andover’s Design Director), Trip Friendly (whose father, Ed, produced the show), and familiar actresses from the series, Alison Arngrim (the dreaded neighborhood bully and brat Nellie Oleson) and Charlotte Stewart (beatific schoolteacher Miss Beadle).
“We had success with the ‘Downton Abbey’ line, and so, when we were approached about a line for ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ we thought it was the perfect license for the United States,” Hall says.
“Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in several states in the Midwest, and wrote about her experiences with her family farming on the prairie. And the books are still being read and loved by kids and adults today.”
Trip Friendly calls the books and TV show “timeless.” “For many, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ is a source of inspiration that has come to represent connection, love, courage, optimism, and joy,” he says.
“For others, it provides nostalgic reminders of a simpler time when neighbors would lend a helping hand and supportive communities would work together to overcome adversity.”
And Arngrim – as the girl-you-love-to-hate Nellie – says that the appeal of the show and her character is worldwide, crossing generations, from grandparents to those in their 20s who attend her standup comedy shows.
“The people who watched it the first time around raised their children to watch it...and so on and so on. But the young people wouldn't stick with it if it didn't have something they could relate to,” she says.
“I think people all over the world can identify with the problems of the Ingalls family. And everyone knows a Nellie… that bully from school, that nosy neighbor, the annoying co-worker who's always trying to make you look bad. There's always someone about whom everyone knows what you mean when you say ‘guess what she did today?’"
The fabric line consists of three different print collections: “Walnut Grove” (named after the town where Wilder lived, and featuring prints of the era from which actual quilts would have been made); “Prairie Flowers” (a rainbow of calicoes and bold, bright prints as seen on quilts from the show); and “Scenics and Icons” (drawings and graphics inspired by line illustrations found in the novels).
“We wanted to do a small line of calicoes since that is what most people think of when they think about ‘Little House.’ Also, we believe that the show and these calicoes really influenced the quilting industry in their time,” Hall points out of the “Walnut Grove” line. “And we knew our customers interested in the real history of the story would want actual fabrics from the time period.”
But sorry, ladies. None the fabrics feature a bare-chested Michael Landon swinging an axe over a pile of wood.
In addition to the fabrics, Andover is rolling out accompanying quilt patterns, projects, and even ideas for quilt shops to host “Prairie Parties” in their stores to boost the collection’s appeal and usage.
As for the show, Friendly says he cherishes the memory of the trip he and his father took with crew members to scout locations for the pilot. And he recalls a story that his father told him about young Melissa Gilbert’s audition to play Wilder.
“He remembered how absolutely charming Melissa was and how she won everyone over. When Melissa was about to leave the audition, the NBC casting director asked how tall she was,” Friendly recalls. “Melissa looked at my father and with a half-smile, put her hand on top of her head and said to the casting director, ‘Oh, so big.’ She then exited. For my father’s money, she had the part right then and there.”
And while Hall admits to watching the show herself when it first aired, it wasn’t that pigtailed goody-goody that Melissa Gilbert played who most inspired her.
“Although many people are Laura fans, I have to admit that Nellie Oleson was one of my favorite characters,” she chuckles. “Because she caused Laura such problems!”
And the actual Nellie Oleson? Alison Arngrim doesn’t expect Quilt Market attendees to show up in bonnets and prairie dresses as they do at other “Little House”-themed events. But she does know a bit about the art form, as both her grandmother and mother were avid quilters. And she still has handmade quilts made by both of them.
So…if Nellie Oleson made a quilt…what would it look like?
“Oh it would be of her own face! A huge quilt just covered in gorgeous reproductions of her own likeness!” Arngrim laughs. “Or, barring that, something French. Remember, Nellie's best clothes and dolls all came from ‘Pah-ree, in FRANCE!’ I see a Nellie quilt, very pink, with little Fleur de Lis and Eiffel Towers all over it!”
Little House on the Prairie® and associated character names are trademarks owned and licensed by
Friendly Family Productions, LLC. All rights reserved. © 2015 Friendly Family Productions, LLC.