Quilt Notes: This four-patch design is just a little less "modern" than Nancy Cabot's CENTURY OF PROGRESS, because it does have a strict diagonal symmetry, whereas the former has no symmetry at all. This one appeared in Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune (December 5, 1936), where she says:|
"LIGHTS AND SHADOWS has no historical background, and it is within the last twenty-five years that it has appeared as a quilt block. The reason for its title lies purely in the combination of materials which were used in the original design."
There is a departure here, however, some sort of exception within Cabot's conception of light and dark, via that one square, which seems to use a print fabric, moderating the duality in some way. It is off-center, happily, as is the entire design, however when it tiles, it take it's place in a central position, because the border on two sides acts as a sash (see below). All sorts of ideas might be adapted for that one square (a shocking pink, or a bright turquoise, for instance, as illustrated left). Or again, a slightly off-center plaid here attempts to imitate the basic organizational theme.
Though LIGHTS AND SHADOWS seems a commonplace name, the design is very definitely non-conformist. For another block very much attempting a similar, get out of the loop light and dark theme, see the great Maggie Malone's SUNSHINE AND...STAINED GLASS!!
Note: the background fabric fill for the tiling design was created with a compressed version of a fractal, called a "Z-order curve," illustrated here, from Wikipedia.