There are five variations of this design listed in Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA, which share identical piecing but employ different dark and light arrangements (#1874-1877). The version illustrated here was titled ALPINE CROSS by Nancy Cabot in her quilt column in the Chicago Tribune, published on September 11, 1936, where she says:
"Cross patterns are as numerous in the quilt realm as the star, puzzle, or rose designs, yet there are a great variety of cross patterns that have distinct and outstanding personality. ALPINE CROSS is not the easiest of the pieced cross patterns, but it is easily one of the most effective. It is unfortunate that the history of this pattern should be lost. However, it is definitely not new, since the original quilt from which the pattern was taken is over 85 years old."
The block name refers to the Alps, a mountain range in south central Europe, as well as to any high, snowcapped area. There is certainly a snowy feeling to the design, the x-cross, star-like, whilst the light patches stand forth brilliantly against the surrounding dark. None of the other variations of the pattern provide this same illusion of crystalline and fluttering whites (see tiling below).
For more themes of light and dark, compare at this sight with LIGHT(S) AND SHADOWS, SUNSHINE AND STAINED GLASS, also STRAIGHT FURROW, ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL, and NEW MOON.