Quilt Notes: The magnificent WHITE MOUNTAINS, an incredibly beautiful resort area encompassing crystal clear lakes and running streams, and covered with evergreens and various woodlands in New Hampshire, inspired one of the names for this block (see illustration upper right). The design first appeared without a name in "Treasures in Needlework," in 1870, according to Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS (#442.8). Later it debuted in Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune on June 21, 1935, and where Cabot comments as follows:
"As most quilt makers know, it is a striking and unusual quilt pattern which may be pieced and set together without any intervening plain blocks. WHITE MOUNTAINS is one of these blocks. [...] New Hampshire is the home state of this attractive pattern, which has crossed the country many times due to its undiminished popularity."
OCTAGON BLOCK was another name offered by Cabot for a second rendering (December 14, 1937) of the same basic design, though it is interesting how much these patterns (and all blocks) seem to change with a mere shift in dark and light. Thus notice how different the illustrations here appear at first glance, though they are geometrically identical. Compare also at this site with a wide variety of octagon patterns including, for example:
HANDS ALL AROUND