FRIENDSHIP BLOCK (Detail)
(ca. 1855-1863) by
Mercy Jane Bancroft Blair,
What's in a Name? (ICSCM)
A coverlet for this version of FRIENDSHIP BLOCK (dated ca. mid-19th century, detail, illustrated left) shows that the basic design, tinted in pink above (similar to FARMER'S DAUGHTER), needs to be inset into part of the designs which border it, and thereby creates a continuous tiling pattern (scroll down to see a four-color tessellation).
The importance of the smaller plain blocks, so that the larger ones share their corner squares, very possibly relates to the idea of bonding within a single friendship or an interactive community within a circle of friends. If there were a circle of quilters (who created the quilt together) their names would be inscribed in the centers of the blocks, some vertically some horizontally.
The version shown left and above (inset with shared corners) does not appear in the pieced quilt compendiums, but the traditional FRIENDSHIP BLOCK, on its own, separate from the tiling, is
illustrated in Maggie Malone's 5,500 QUILT BLOCK DESIGNS (#2776). It made its debut in print in 1907, via an unknown clipping from Currier Boye Co., according to Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS (#3230).
For more friendship-related design themes at this site, see:
CASTOR AND POLLUX
BOSTON STREETS (read Cabot)
AUNT PATSY'S PET
DOvES IN THE WINDOW