Ayuh to Z Challenge - Q

My theme: Book Titles A to Z written by Maine authors,
and a poem for that title each day for the month of April.
The poem is not about the book, but is written with the title as inspiration! 

Welcome to Q!

Q is for
The Quilting Bee
by Gail Gibbons
I have two poems for this title!  I wrote this one first, but then I thought I'd like to have one with a classic form.  So I wrote a Quatern for the second one, which I will explain below.  Which do you prefer?  I also posted some pictures of some quilt blocks I sewed by hand (needle and thread, no machine) back 30 years ago!  I found them when I was looking for some photos (which I never found).

The Quilting Bee

Walk and bring
all your squares
Talk and sing
all your cares
Stitches fine
in and out
Squares of nine
all about
Layered quilt
out and in
Layered life
stitched within
Stitch, gossip
tiny tales
Gossip, stitch
tiny trails
Up and down
in and out
Down and up
round about
Quilts for bride
Quilts for babe
Gifts of love
from the heart
Love gifting
home to start
Time for spring
Quilting bee
Stitched by hand

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

As promised above, here is what a Quatern is: 
A Quatern is a French form of poetry.  It has sixteen lines of four quatrains. Its refrain is the first line of stanza one, the second line of stanza two, the third line of stanza three, and fourth line of stanza four. 
 There are eight syllables in each line.

The Quilting Bee

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt

women’s hands with needle and thread

sew in gossip, advice, and love

Nine Patch and Pine Tree for a bed

Hole in the Barn Door, Hens and Chicks

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt
layers of cloth, layers of life

tales of laughter and of milk spilt

time gone by and days yet to be
Hourglass and Kaleidoscope

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt

of love, joy, happiness and hope

the stitches, as love, remain strong

though colors and fabric may wilt

the stories remain in the squares

life snippets hand-sewn in a quilt

©Donna JT Smith, 2014

So which poem do you prefer (that's assuming that you like one of them)?

I came this close [-!-] (see the two dashes are very close to that ! - Hey, now it looks like my cat's face!) to writing a silly poem about a Bee that quilts...and maybe I will, as it is still buzzing around in my head.  I'm looking back on what I just wrote there and wondering if I could be a little ADD?

The Quilting Bee by Gail Gibbons was written in 2003. Gail Gibbons writes and illustrates children's non-fiction books. Although she also lives in Vermont, since 1986 she has spent several months of the year on Matinicus Island in Maine.
She received the Katahdin Award 2009, a lifetime achievement award presented by the Maine Library Association in recognition of an outstanding body of work.
The Quilting Bee is, as all Gail Gibbons books are, non-fiction.  It explains what a quilting bee is and how a quilt is made in very easy to understand language.
More information about Gail Gibbons
Holiday House information about Gail Gibbons
The Quiet Noisy Book
by Margaret Wise Brown
I found this book first and was going to try a poem with it, but then the quilts won out when I found them.  And the one above won of the three quilt books I found.

The Memory Quilt was written in 1988 and is about an orphan boy who has a difficult time adjusting to life with his grandparents on a Maine island.
Elizabeth McKey Hulbert  is a children's author and illustrator who lives on Mt Desert Island.

More quilt books by Maine authors:
Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson
The Queen's Twin (1899) by Sarah Orne Jewett -  author of "The Country of the Pointed Firs"
Here are my quilt blocks arranged three ways - the bottom two would be two parts to the same quilt.  I have 12 full blocks and 7 partial.  I should put them together, shouldn't I?  But which pattern?  I'm kind of drawn to the pinwheel look of the bottom two...maybe.

This post was quite rightly brought to you by the letter Q!


R U E 4 R?


  1. You have two beautiful poems here, Donna. I'm finding it difficult to choose. The first Quilting Bee moves with the stitches and rings so true. The second, as a quatern, is so clever, and I like the mention of the designs in it.
    I like quilting as you know, but I also like poetry and writing. The A-Z is inspiring me so much so that I intend to return to writing some poetry. There's so much to learn and attempt.
    Yesterday I came across a blog on the A-Z: http://thepoetrywagon.blogspot.co.uk and found a palindrome.
    I must try 'The Memory Quilt' is sounds like a real tear-jerker. I'll be back.
    Easter blessings.

    1. Just missed you! I put the blocks up just now! I forgot I hadn't done that yet!

    2. I prefer to bottom one, too, Donna. It looks like blue sails.
      I'll put the quilt-as-you-go details up on Monday, Donna. I should have put them on today, but I was lazy. (I'm getting so tired). I'll also mention your blog on Monday and your quilting poems. Thank you for your interest, and keeping me on my toes!

  2. Firstly, I think you are inordinately talented to do something like quilting. Secondly, although both poems are really lovely, I prefer the first simply because I make full use of new lines as breaks and emphases in my own work and it resonates more with my style of poetry.

    Visiting from A-Z

    1. Thanks, Fe! I put these blocks down for 30 years! I've done a few little things, but this one has been hanging over my head for quite some time.

  3. I've made one 'log cabin' block for a child's chair a long time ago, but since my mother and aunt were such prolific quilters, I let them do the work. We had a quilting time at school for year when the older students' play was Quilters. It was a huge community builder. Every day after school, people worked on the quilt-a wonderful memory for us. I love both, the rhythm of the first, and the second is more akin to quilting memories isn't it? I have the book, The Memory Quilt-lovely. Thanks for so much here, Donna. Love "tales of laughter and of milk spilt


    1. This is kind of an adapted "Log Cabin", as the pieces don't really overlap, but are the same on opposite sides. They are stacked. It gives just a little different look. I did it by mistake when I made my first block, but decided I liked the look, so just kept going.
      I made a batik quilt with the class I was student teaching years ago. It is a nice activity to bring people together, but also in solitude.

  4. I have to find this book for my mom! She loves to write children's stories and she's a quilter. She'll love it! :D Thank you for sharing!

    Your poems are perfect, as always. :) And the your quilt blocks are well done. I love the colors.

    1. Thanks, Chrys! And I think your mom would really like Gail Gibbon's book. On Amazon you can see some of the pages.

  5. Goodness, I like both poems, but the second one got me with the mention of gossip being sewed into the quilt. I attended a few quilting bees as a kid, and I remember the environment. It was mostly positive, but such a great time to interact and talk.

    True Heroes from A to Z

    1. I started this quilt when my kids were very young and we were in a new town in NH. The women, especially the young moms like myself, would get together to knit, crochet, or in my case hand-sew quilt blocks. We were not there very long, so I didn't finish...I am tempted to use my sewing machine just to get them done.

  6. quite enjoyed your poem!
    and that's a talent i admire, takes patience and perseverance more than writing does for me!
    happy a to z-ing!


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