Battle of the Books

I had this idea to make a quilt for Silas with a square for his favorite book for every year of his life, until he’s 15 or 18. I figured I could commit to one quilt square each year, right?

I just finished the first one. Yes, he turns two in a week. I procrastinated like crazy about starting it. You see, when he turned one, his favorite books, in a dead tie, were The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Baby Farm Animals. I told JC that I thought TVHC was sort of a stereotypical toddler favorite, so I was going to do Baby Farm Animals instead. And then I put off starting it, because I wasn’t sure of my ability to render Garth Williams’ amazing and beautiful illustration in embroidery. I’m of the “making it up as I go along” school of needlework, mostly. I’m not great at it. And just look at this cover:

I needed nearly a year to come to terms with the fact that I really was never going to make anything that lovely, and move on to Plan B.

I give you The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Other than looking a little manic, which I think is appropriate, I think he came out pretty well. I used freezer paper appliqué, which I hadn’t ever done before, and I found that a very useful method for all the curves. Here’s a tutorial with what I learned.

Silas, as I said, turns two next week. I’ve kept track of all the books he’s read or had read to him this year. I track them in Shelfari. I’ve recorded around 200 books that he’s read since his last birthday. I’d guess that I’ve missed about 10%, but it’s close. I marked as “favorites” any that he seemed especially excited about. Last week, I gathered them from his bookshelf or checked them out of the library, and put all his other books away, then watched to see which one he asked for the most.

The contenders were:

Going in, I wasn’t really sure which one would be the winner. Goodnight, Gorilla has become a book that Silas likes to “read” to me. More, More, More is one that he has just adored from the moment he saw it. Everyone Poops was a late-breaking addition, and, frankly, I was struggling with the thought of making that square… Silas surprised me by being completely uninterested in Little Bear’s Friend, after a long phase in which he constantly wanted to talk about how the doll in that book gets broken, but Little Bear fixes her. Dear Zoo is clearly a one-trick pony, and he isn’t excited by lifting the flaps any more. He can tell us before he lifts it exactly which animal is under there and why it was rejected.

Ultimately, I’m going to say it was a three-way tie between Everyone PoopsMouse Paint, and More, More, More. Taking into account my limited skills at embroidery and the fact that I’m really not sure how I feel about making a quilt square for Everyone Poops, I’m going with Mouse Paint.

Maybe I’ll get this one done more than a week before his third birthday!


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  1. Brittany Jackson
    September 4, 2012

    I totally think you should use “Everyone Poops” I love that book! 🙂

  2. Katie
    September 4, 2012

    This is such a cool idea.

  3. September 4, 2012

    Have you seen the follow-up to Everyone Poops, The Gas We Pass? 😉

  4. JC Huber
    September 4, 2012

    Awww, I was really looking forward to seeing the Everyone Poops square…

    Maybe it will still be in the running next year.

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