PATH OF FANS is similar to MOHAWK TRAIL, but not exactly the same, the difference here resides in the space between the corner pieces and the half circles, lending a new touch of elegance to the pattern. But, why a "path," even if the design does seem to be a meander, who ever heard of a "path of fans"? So what might that mean? The design is named that way, perhaps, as Jinny Beyer's compendium suggests, because it falls into the category of so-called "drunkard's path" type blocks, except here the 3/4 circle is divided into three parts. |
Nancy Cabot rightly considers this block a vehicle for appliqué. However, it is included in both Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED PATCHWORK PATTERNS (#3302.5, in her section called "Fans with a Smooth Edge") and in Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS (p.351-10). And it certainly could be either. In any case, here's Nancy Cabot's comment from her article in the Chicago Tribune, published August, 26, 1937:
"Everyone knows the "PATH OF FANS" under one name or another but it is one of the outstanding appliqué patterns which cannot be forgotton or confused with any other quilt design. Like the FRIENDSHIP RING, the PATH OF FANS block may use different prints in each block and no two blocks need be the same."
More "drunkard's path" designs at this site include:
REFLECTIONS OF LOVE
SUNSHINE AND SHADOWS
BUTTERFLY IN THE GARDEN