Quilt Notes: DIAGONAL PATHS made its debut in print in Nancy Cabot's Chicago Tribune column on April 18, 1936. Cabot seems to have a love for patterns that form multiple other designs in the tiling pattern (see below), and which she says in her notes is true of this block. The so-called "original" FOUR PATCH would surely be one of them. The title may sound meaningless in itself though, that is, that the paths, or stepping stones, are diagonal, except that there are few geometric quilt patterns that lean in one specific direction. Pieced quilts, if geometric, mostly have that advantage built in of bilateral symmetry, the design therefore able to be recognized from any perspective.
Other directional design examples would include patterns based on the compass, for instance, at this site MIGRATION SOUTH and WEST WIND would qualify. Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT DESIGNS (#1834) lists this pattern next to KING'S HIGHWAY, also beautifully and uniquely aligned by way of the diagonal. And a fabulous CARRIE NATION QUILT pattern was first published in 1940 in the Kansas City Star.
Though its axis may be unusual, quilt blocks employing only squares and/or rectangles are quite common in quiltdom. They are easy to piece, and yet their simplicity can be gorgeous, given some interesting color combinations. Here are a few examples (note that a number of these patterns include comparative artworks by well-known, historical women artists).
ODDS AND ENDS
CITY STREETS (with Georgia O'Keeffe)
ON THE SQUARE (with Sonia Delaunay)
ALBUM QUILT (with Gunta Stölzl)
PUSS IN THE CORNER
OP ART DESIGN (with Bridget Riley)
CENTURY OF PROGRESS
GREEN RIVER (with Georgia O'Keeffe)