SQUARES UPON SQUARES
(showing piecing arrangement)
SQUARES UPON SQUARES is "continuous pattern" a single rendering of the primary cell illustrated upper left and x four on the right. In her quilt column in the Chicago Tribune, dated May 27, 1937, Nancy Cabot says the following:
"It is only the true eye of an artist that can comprehend the beauty in one block before it is set together in an all-over design. SQUARES UPON SQUARES is an intriguing pattern which was first pieced in 1867 an an all-over design."
The author seems an enlightened being, because she sees this truth, the extrapolation of the whole from a single event, the unified principle at work behind the unique manifestation. See Jinny Beyer's rendering and grid in her QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS (p. 411-5).
SQUARES UPON SQUARES is an illusion, as far as its naming is concerned, however. The block is made up of hidden octagons (see left), connecting the floating squares corner to corner, though never so obviously as in the piecing illustration. The word "upon" in the title truly calls for some kind of "floating" in the color choices, dark and dull in the background, light and bright in the floating squares, in order to bring them forward.
Compare with Barbara Brackman's design #442.5, in her ENCYCLOPEDIA, the same basic OCTAGONAL BLOCK (rotated 90°), and except with 1/4 divisions through the center. Some gorgeous variations of this design are additionally illustrated under the same name in Brackman and also in Maggie Malone's 5,500 QUILT BLOCK DESIGNS (#1168, aka, ROCKY ROAD). All in all, as Cabot says, "an intriguing pattern."
Compare with other polygons at the site: GRANDMA'S SURPRISE (octagon), ARROWHEADS (dodecahedron) and BLOCK STAR (dodecahedron).