Quilt Notes: DANCING PINWHEELS debuted in Nancy Cabot's quilt column in the Chicago Tribune on December 19,1935, and as illustrated left. The headline reads: "PINWHEELS LEND DAZZLING DESIGN TO QUILT PATTERN." The razzle-dazzle of this pattern has much to do with a quirky change in direction of the upper and lower stars — above the top of the stars point outward, but below they face inward. And so there's a sort of dance or wiggle in that. Cabot's comments state the following:
"The dazzling pinwheel provides the incentive for the design of this lovely DANCING PINWHEEL block. It is an old pattern, the first example of the block was pieced in red and white, portraying as realistically as possible the whirling, flaming sparks of a pyrotechnical wheel in motion. Any color and white may be used with equal success. The entire quilt may be made of pieced blocks, or they may be set together with alternate blocks of plain material."
In her ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS, Barbara Brackman listed this design a section titled, "Miscellaneous with Diamonds," #4036. In other words, the pattern is too geometrically unique to fit into any specific category, however, a number of other seemingly oddball patterns listed along with this block include, for example:
HANDS ALL AROUND