The quilt I made for the little bookworm before he was born is known around here as his "ispy" quilt. I posted a photo of it with my last post here, but here is a close-up (yes, that's the Cat in the Hat!). We use the quilt just like we use his word books; to learn and reinforce new vocabulary (the quilt just has the added bonus of keeping his tootsies warm). Collecting the squares, which if I remember correctly are four inches each, took a long time and was at least half the fun of making the quilt. I even hosted an internet swap at one point to vary my collection. I included a few licensed characters, like the Cat in the Hat and Charlie Brown, but most of the squares contain simple things like flowers, trains, hearts, etc. This is a perfect quilt design for beginners, and babies are extremely forgiving if your seams don't match up perfectly! I still have an entire bag full of novelty fabric, and I'm considering trying to sew another one while letting the little guy pick the squares from a bag one at a time as I sew them on. I think I could get a few minutes of quilting in before he tired of the game each day.
I said that we use the quilt like we use word books. I've reviewed most of his favorite word books before, when I suggested my favorite books for 0-6 month olds. You can see that post here. Our two most read word books are probably First 100 Words (Bright Baby) and My Little Word Book, both by Roger Priddy. He also really enjoys Richard Scarry's Biggest Wordbook Ever, which I reviewed here, and a series of word books by YoYo Books. We own two books in the series -- the one reviewed below, as well as one about school that I can't seem to find on amazon. The images in the YoYo books, as you might be able to tell from the cover, would be fairly easy to construct in an applique pattern, if you really wanted to create a matching book/quilt gift.
Baby's First Library - Words (Hardcover), by Yoyo Books. The images in these First Library books are bright and simple. Our bookworm really enjoyed flipping the thick pages himself, and he'd sit independently "reading" them (what a gift!). Now that he's over a year old, he's starting to make connections between some of the things in the book and our house, like the globe and drum, and he likes to practice some of his sign language with the images too (like "hat").
Parent's Peeve: Why is there a banana in the fridge?
I'm editing to add one more word book that gets a huge amount of reads lately (note to self: must look into who Roger Priddy is and how he has cornered the word book market so handily):
Counting Colors: Seek & Find (Hardcover), by Roger Priddy. This has been a favorite since Christmas (approx age one). Each two-page spread features a certain color, and little readers can search for the items, like balls, ducks, santas, and gingerbread men. It has been great at building vocabulary and passing winter hours stuck inside. We love this book.
Any of these word books would make a wonderful gift coupled with a homemade quilt that highlighted some of the items in the book. If you choose the Richard Scarry book, though, you better get practicing your applique skills for that apple car.
Want a little less challenge? Google "hungry caterpillar fabric" for a quick and easy panel quilt that would be a delightful gift when paired with Eric Carle's classic tale. Here's our review of the board book version:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Board book), by Eric Carle. This brightly illustrated board book (full version also available) follows a caterpillar's journey from egg to butterfly, and his dietary intake along the way. After seeing how popular it was with other infants (or at least their parents), I was disappointed that our little man didn't like it more at first, but at around 13 months, he suddenly started enjoying it due to his realization that it contained a drawing of a piece of watermelon. Hopefully he will move beyond that page eventually.
"One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and - pop! - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar."
Infant's Interest: "muh! muh! muh!" (translation: watermelon).
Glutton for punishment and want an additional challenge? I'm pondering the idea of a "lift the flap" quilt. For ideas, take a look at our favorite lift the flap books we reviewed here. I have my sights set on a "Dear Zoo" quilt.
I think our bibliophile is starting to wonder why my voice is trailing off and I'm starting to stare into space halfway through every board book I read him this week. The quilty wheels are turning in my head for the first time in awhile.