MONASTERY WINDOWS dates back to Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune, published May 27, 1936. Cabot's design illustrated left is slightly different than some of the compendiums, where the pattern is simply offered as a continuous design (see Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS) and the same with Maggie Malone's 5,500 QUILT BLOCK DESIGNS (#1477). Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM is closer (p.111 #2) to Cabot's version with the same alternating swap back and forth of the tilt of the diagonals. In her introduction Cabot states the following:
"While MONASTERY WINDOWS is not especially well known in the United States, it has been a popular design among the quiltmakers in England. The single block has the appearance of monastery windows, yet when the pieced blocks are set together, a group of interesting designs appears, such as interwoven bands, or a flock of pinwheels. The blocks are large, measuring 16 inches square, and only 30 pieced blocks are required for the entire coverlet."
As Cabot mentions, the tiling pattern is provocative, especially Maggie Malone's version (see her variation upper left and tiling below— a sort of interwoven movement of light taking flight!! More designs at this site evoking similar mystic-like imagery include:
DOVES IN THE WINDOW
CASTLE WALL (with St. Teresa of Avila)
TOWERS OF CAMELOT (with Lyubov Popova)
LADY OF THE LAKE
MYSTIC STAR (ancient mystic designs)