Quilt Notes: The illustrations above are traditional, mostly following Nancy Cabot's rendering left. But there are a number of other variations in the compendiums. Likewise the illustrations above reverse dark and light and restructure the piecing arrangement. This is a design which cries out for experimentation, just as a "knot" might just as well be defined as "a complex and intractable problem." In her May, 1936, article in the Chicago Tribune, Cabot caught on to that double meaning in her comments for this complex geometric design, with its deceptively simple name, she says:|
"BOW KNOTS apparently is one of the most complicated of all pieced blocks. The square contains only two patches, which are set together in shades of blue print, light blue and white material."
Blue and white is Cabot's favored color scheme for the sake of simplicity as balance. Maggie Malone illustrates BOW KNOT as a two block design in 5,500 QUILT BLOCK DESIGNS (#4928). Jinny Beyer's QUILT ALBUM (#409-12) adds additional 3D darks and lights, looking very modern like an abstract sculpture (which Cabot would have loved). Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA (#1423) situates this impossible block amidst a set of patterns reminiscent of ARABIC LATTICE, and preceding Cabot's wild, WINDING TRAIL (equally unique and challenging).
Compare with other curious quilt design constructions, such as OLD MAID'S RAMBLER, or BOX KITE. The blue shapes above are called "concave polygons," very unusual in quilt designs, see more on the designation at Wikipedia.