Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Happy Birthday, Edward Gorey - February 22

Happy Birthday, Edward Gorey - February 22
(February 22, 1925 - April 15, 2000)

One day at a used book sale I found a copy of The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey. I bought the book without opening it. I bought it without being familiar with the author. I just liked the cover. I came home and put it on my bookshelf where I keep the books I want to read to my children.

Eventually, I read the book and loved it. I pledged to myself that someday I would use the book to celebrate Gorey's birthday. The last two February's I read the book but an activity idea didn't come to mind. This year was different. Something caught my attention that really hadn't before. Do you see it? Do you know what caught my eye this year?

Watch the video below of the book:



I didn't read The Doubtful Guest to my children at first. We only talked about the mysterious creature on the cover and his amazing scarf. I said to them, "Will you help me make a scarf that I can wear when I read you the book?"  Thankfully, they agreed to help.
We wanted our scarf to be yellow, white and black to match the scarf on the cover.
Mom taught us how to roll the yarn into a ball.
We found white and black marble yarn that we thought matched Gorey's pen and ink illustration style.
He let me roll when it got too big for his hands. 
All done!
We were ready to start knitting a scarf like the one worn by mysterious creature in The Doubtful Guest. 
We used the shortest loom from a set of four long knitting looms. After I showed my daughter how to do it she was able to knit one pass on the loom. Then she said, "I'm done, Dad. My hands hurt." 
My oldest son worked hard using the knitting hook. 
Big brother is so awesome.
He found looping to be frustrating especially when you were almost at the end and the yarn pops off. 
I was so happy that everyone in the family contributed to the knitting.
We thought we were pretty awesome when we did this much.
Three days later we were here!
My youngest son said that knitting the scarf reminded him of his Rainbow Loom. I asked him if he would show me. He made a replica of our scarf and turned it into a necklace for me.
Mom helped us close up the end of the scarf. 
My son helped me add the fringe.
The scarf turned out great. It is really warm too. 
It was long enough for all of us.
A huge thanks to my family for helping me make the scarf to wear as I read The Doubtful Guest.
It was worth the time and effort. 
During his career, Edward Gorey created books and stories for all ages, commercial art, drawings and illustrations, etchings and printsset designs, and award-winning costumes. He may have been one of the greatest book cover designers too. He designed over 200 covers during the 1950s and 60s. As I look back on this experience, it is not surprising that it happened because of a book cover that caught my eye at a used book sale.

Are you interested in learning more about Edward Gorey? I encourage you to visit the Edward Gorey House website.

Links:
1. The Edward Gorey House
2. Read The Gashlycrumb Tinies on BrainPickings
3. 13 Facts about Edward Gorey - Biography.com
4. Edward Gorey's Cautionary Tales for Children puppet show - YouTube
5. Watch THE UTTER ZOO - Vimeo

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