Quilt Notes: There are surely enough "ALBUM" blocks already in quiltdom. So it is a joy to read Nancy Cabot's column, in the Chicago Tribune, July 31, 1937, where she recovers an older, more gracious title here, that is, TOKEN OF AFFECTION. Both titles could apply to the type of quilt where names of friends or members of a quilter's circle were stitched into various fabric pieces, like the petals of this 8-point pattern block. In that case the quilt itself would be the "token of affection."
But beyond that, the design is shaped like a flower, another sort of gift (as illustrated upper right, here imagined as a rare and very beautiful lotus blossom). The lotus would be a symbol of spiritual understanding or enlightenment. And as a gift, it promises supreme good luck and good fortune. And it would only be given to someone greatly cared for. Cabot's comments state the following (though the tiling, see below, actually works quite well):
"A direct descendent of the old AUTOGRAPH quilt, ALBUM BLOCK was the last of that type of coverlet to be made before the introduction of the present guest book. This TOKEN OF AFFECTION quilt, as it was called a few generations ago, contains 36 pieced blocks, alike in design and color. These are alternated with plain blocks of white or a harmonizing color."
The same basic pattern (titled ALBUM BLOCKS, and with a slightly smaller center) debuted in print in the Ladies Art Company Catalogue, #352, in the late 19th century. See Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS, p.175.1-2. More designs at this site as tokens of good fortune include:
DOVES IN THE WINDOW