Quilt Notes: RED SHIELDS was illustrated by Nancy Cabot in the Chicago Daily Tribune on January 4, 1936 (see left). It is listed as an OLD MAID'S PUZZLE block, 1932, in Jinny Beyer's ALBUM (#428-7).|
Cabot offers an intriguing insight, where she claims RED SHIELDS as an "ancient design." By "ancient" she is referring to the simplest of geometry, interworking a single pyramid throughout, easily imaginable in multiple cultures and time periods. But "ancient" might also relate to the Earth as Goddess, symbolized by the larger "V" shaped triangle, and indicated by way of a darker color — pointing down as a shield would also point downward, but celebrated in pre-history and in contemporary Earth-based spirituality as a female emblem.
In print, the name (not the design) may be unique to Cabot's 1936 article. The illustrations here are also a slight variation, retaining the center "shield," but alternating light and medium colors instead of medium and dark as in Cabot's rendering. Compare with the intersecting triangles in BIRDS AND KITES, as well as (A) THOUSAND PYRAMIDS, and TRIANGULAR TRIANGLE, also SHIFTING CUBES, which utilizes parallelograms throughout.
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« Transcription of Cabot's text: "'Red Shields,' like 'Cardinal's Cap,' is one of the ancient designs which always are made up of red and white patches. There is only one pattern required to cut sufficient patches for one square and an entire coverlet. The completed square measures 12 inches, with 56 blocks composing the quilt. The border contains a four inch band of red and red print, and is finished with a half inch binding of white."