Quilt Notes: The basic pattern debuted in print in the late 19th century, in the Ladies Art Company Catalog, under the title of BACHELOR'S PUZZLE (#34). But a still older version of the block (dating back to the late 18th c.) was reclaimed as titled THE SEASONS, along with appropriate variations in color for each of the four squares, as explained by Nancy Cabot in the Chicago Tribune (March 7, 1938):
"THE SEASONS is a clever adaptation of the original four patch pattern. It was pieced in Massachusetts about a century and a half ago. It contains more colors than quilting custom ruled at that time, but clearly defines the changes of the year."
The design would seem to indicate a sequence of the seasons that rotates counter-clockwise. The upper left square is summer (the brightest) —the lower left is autumn — lower right, winter (the darkest) — and finally the upper right square lightens again into spring. What an interesting design for a quilt pattern —
as an idea, exceedingly unique!!
In terms of the basic geometry, there are many quilt blocks constructed with a center crossbar, and which then fill in the surrounding squares with all sorts of interesting variations — examples at this site would include:
GARDEN OF EDEN
JACK IN THE BOX
TETE A TETE
TONGANOXIE NINE PATCH
Z AND CROSS