MARKET SQUARE (with optic colors)
Quilt Notes: The four-patch
MARKET SQUARE is illustrated in Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM p. 57-11. The design debuted in print in Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune, dated March 14, 1936. Cabot gives some very clear instructions as regards the overall tessellation (see tiling below). She suggests that alternating blocks reverse dark and light, side to side and top to bottom (accomplished simply by flipping the blocks into position — they are actually all the same when pieced). Cabot states the following (the "Geneva cross" is considered a symbol of neutrality):
"MARKET SQUARE is named for the old market squares in early colonial towns. Massachusetts is the state in which this quilt first was pieced in 1853. The original quilt was composed entirely of pieced blocks set together with half the blocks in reverse color and forming large Geneva crosses separating the market squares. White, red and red and white print form one of the favorite combinations for this charmingly old fashioned quilt pattern."
Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS situates MARKET SQUARE (#1289) among other center-receding designs, such as FLYING SAUCER and STAR OF ERIN, or SPIDER WEB. There are a variety of traditional town square ideas for quilt patterns, for instance the very elegant and simple ART SQUARE, but MARKET SQUARE is truly unique, nothing else quite like it. See Karen Combs' OPTICAL ILLUSIONS FOR QUILTERS in her section titled "Devices to Show Depth," including this design and demonstrating a wide variety of techniques used to create some amazing, optical effects.
For links to more optical patterns at this site, see ARRANGEMENT OF SMALL PIECES with the great op-artist, Bridget Riley.