Quilt Notes: The snail trail patch, on its own, debuted in the Ladies Art Company Catalog, 1928. Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM (#108-8) attributes the origin of this four-patch version of SNAIL'S TRAIL to Nancy Cabot (March, 1934, see drafting grid left). Cabot in turn points out the design's place in natural history as a mollusk, and suggests that it is nevertheless "one of the outstanding successes in the quilt world." Cabot was only about 27 years old at the time she began writing her column for the Chicago Tribune, but her reflections possess an awareness and a professionalism that at times seem extraordinary.
Innumerable birds and butterfly blocks populate "quiltdom" (a place name often used and probably coined by Cabot), but for a selection of creatures as unusual as a mollusk, examples at this site might include the sound-alike, SNAKE'S TRAIL, also BEAR'S PAW or FLYING BATS, and surely, TOAD IN A PUDDLE.
A contemporary quilter (interviewed in a magazine article) mentioned that she always envisioned what she called "KISSING DINOSAURS" in the two figures of SNAIL'S TRAIL. And it is difficult not to imagine such a marvelous interpretation once it is suggested (see illustration right).