FOLLOW THE LEADER dates back in print to Ruth Finley's OLD PATCHWORK QUILTS AND THE WOMEN WHO MADE THEM, first published in 1929 (and republished in 1992 with a new introduction by Barbara Brackman).
In her study, Finley is clearly aware of the effect of abstract fine art coming into its glory in the early 20th century, via artists like Braque, Picasso and Paul Klee, for instance, along with the exquisite color harmonies of Cubist artists like Sonia Delaunay and Anni Albers. And thus quilt designs, which had been deeply involved with abstraction for a long time, took up residence within that exciting, new context of modernism. As regards FOLLOW THE LEADER, and similar patterns, Finley comments:
"The patterns known as FOLLOW THE LEADER, or CRAZY ANN [see Beth Gutcheon's variation] and TWIST AND TURN, are so prophetic of the latest trend of decorative design as to be quite startling. Or would it be heresy to suggest that modernistic art is reminiscent of folk-crafts the creations of which have gone so completely out of memory as to seem now strikingly novel?"
The illustration left of FOLLOW THE LEADER by Florence La Ganke (aka Nancy Page), appeared in her syndicated column on March 2, 1937. Although it is a very different pattern when used as an overall design (see tiling below), but as a single block, the arms of the star look like they have so much material, they are flapping round themselves like a flag in the wind. Humorously La Ganke comments also:
"Perhaps you think this should be called MARCH WIND. Look at the way the busy triangles push the corner squares around. They look as if the wind were at its friskiest and most March-like behavior."
Compare at this site with a similar overlay effect in JACK IN THE BOX. For designs with titles that lead off or begin anew see, for example:
SIGNS OF SPRING
ROAD TO TENNESSEE