Like the TETE-A-TETE BLOCK, illustrated left, published April 3, 1937, Nancy Cabot had an unerring instinct for choosing some of the most beautiful, yet basically easy to piece quilt patterns. And that may be why her column lasted through the 1930's and 40's so successfully at the Chicago Tribune. Her mother, as mentioned elsewhere at this site, was a fine dress designer, and may have helped her in various ways. They probably had many a welcome tête-à-tête researching the best designs to illustrate. The version upper left follows Cabot closely, but upper right a slight change in order to keep the red in the center. Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS has an exquisite variation with the triangles merging with the white or neutral background. (#1923).
Tête-à-tête is a French expression, borrowed into English, meaning literally, "head-to-head," that is, one on one, or a private conversation. An "S" shaped sofa, where people can speak face to face is also called a tête-à-tête. How does this pattern evoke that name, though? Maybe it's the small squares, tucked in, amidst the triangles facing each other. Whatever it is, intuitively the design would seem to work perfectly with the quilt name. Naming abstract patterns is an art in itself: the most important thing to remember is not to impose a name onto the block, but rather let the design tell you who or what it is, and you don't need a carefully worked out reason, it can just be women's intuition.
Some more brilliant titles for quilt patterns include:
CATCH AS YOU CAN
PUDDING AND PIE
BROKEN SPIDER WEB
CASTOR AND POLLUX
SUNSHINE AND STAINED GLASS