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The Original by Rebecca Webb
Quilt Notes: THE ORIGINAL, illustrated left by Rebecca Webb, appeared in the Los Angeles Times on May 3, 1942. The marks on the sides of the block would indicate that the design is continuous, that is, tiled into an overall pattern, accompanied by the double bar sash in between the blocks as indicated.

As regards the title, what does it mean to transform an adjective into a noun preceded by "the"? First of all, it indicates a hidden subject, and then as regards THE ORIGINAL, it asks a question, in other words, the original what? Rebecca Webb concludes that the meaning of the name of this "old design" is unknown, and then humorously suggests that "the original title seems to have been lost." So that's a fun way of answering the question, and actually quite priceless!!

Webb also suggests, at the end of her column, that if anyone knows another name for this pattern they should write to her (of course, she's still jesting). All we can say is that a similar pattern was illustrated in 1898 in the Ladies Art Company Catalogue (however without the small diamond, or Cabot's square in the center, #160) and titled UNION.

Nancy Cabot's illustration above, published in the Chicago Tribune on September 17, 1933, uses a different light and dark distribution, along with an additional square in the center. The striped sashing on Webb's illustration is probably meant to give the pattern more originality, but according to the compendiums by Barbara Brackman, for instance, also Jinny Beyer, and Maggie Malone, it is not at all mandatory.

Compare at this site with the so-called "original" FOUR PATCH, which goes the other way, that is, an expression of something original as absolute simplicity.

For more Cabot designs at this site, see NANCY CABOT BLOCKS!!
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