(Anonymous, 19th Century)
AROUND THE WORLD dates back to at least 1935: the original quilt (much used, washed and faded and pieced with scraps) was first illustrated in Jonathon Holstein's, THE PIECED QUILT (1973, see plate 55).|
Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS has a lovely illustration (p.352-2), pieced with multi earth colored scraps. The rendering here uses the typical 3/4 circle, whereas Beyer's design utilizes a 2/3 cut (as does the original). The 3/4 circle (that is, how to draft it), is illustrated right. It is generally more lively, because the indentations of the curves are more pronounced.
Regards the title, AROUND THE WORLD could refer simply to travel or galavanting about, but it might also refer to what is out there in the cosmos, around the earth, that is, Earth's Sun, solar system and the universe. The design has a marvelous similarity to a traditional mandala used in Hinduism and Buddhism as a focus for meditation (see left). "Mandala" means simply, circle, but it is supposed to represent the universe. The four prominent semicircles at the cardinal points on the sides, (similar to the block), represent four "gates," or types of meditative experience. Working with quilt designs can also provide a rather mystic journey into deepening levels of spiritual depth and awareness.
For a recommended book on this type of so-called "drunkard's path," or "quarter circle" designs, see: DRUNKARD'S PATH QUILT DESIGNS, by Pepper Cory (1991/1998) — Google Books has an excellent preview here, where you can scroll through a number of interesting patterns. Other celestial quilt blocks at this site include:
RISING SUN (with Zinaida Serebriakova)
HALF MOON (with Japanese Design)
CITY STREETS (Georgia O'Keeffe, New York Moon)
MYSTIC STAR (with St. Teresa of Avila)