FANTASTIC PATCHWORK (see upper right) first published in the Ladies Art Company Catalogue, #290, in 1897, is a continuous design, constructed in a very similar fashion to an endless ROMAN STRIPE. Obviously the difference here is that the pattern uses lozenges instead of rectangles (see Barbara Brackman's "Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns," #432a). Like ROMAN STRIPE, Jinny Beyer's "Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns" (p. 407-3) adds a black section at regular intervals, in order to give the design a sense of organization, perhaps, as well as some rhythm or pace. The pattern is also titled QUINTETTES (Nancy Page, 1938). THE PERFECT PATCHWORK PRIMER, 1973, by Beth Gutcheon, includes it as STAINED GLASS (p.28).
Finally, Nancy Cabot published a smaller variation, illustrated left, titled RAIL FENCES, in the Chicago Tribune on January 3, 1936. However since the design is continuous, the lesser number of elongated hexagons is irrelevant. Cabot's color distribution also creates a significant change visually in construction.
Given the original name of the block, what then is so "fantastic" about this design as "patchwork"? Possibly the endless creativity possible regards the colors and fabric choices. Theoretically the quilt could utilize a different color or fabric for each and every hexagon, but even with less variety, the tiling pattern (see below) is quite startling.
Compare with the color combinations and/or simplicity in these designs:
CUBE LATTICE and
SQUARES UPON SQUARES, also
ON THE SQUARE and