Quilt Notes: In 1915, Marie D. Webster (photo right), in her book, QUILTS, THEIR STORY AND HOW TO MAKE THEM, refers to a quilt design named OLD BACHELOR'S PUZZLE, a humorous play on the traditional OLD MAID'S PUZZLE quilt. By the time Nancy Cabot wrote her 1933 newspaper column, tradition seems to have dropped the "old," at the beginning of the title. Nancy Page writing later in 1940, returns to the original name, at least in meaning, if not in titling, that is, to an elderly bachelor, whom she describes with that same "dry humor" Webster had delighted in.
In a long list of the traditional quilt names used in 1915, Webster notes the following:
"It took someone with a strain of dry humour to suggest 'Old Bachelor’s Puzzle,' 'Drunkard’s Path,' and 'All Tangled Up,' or to have ironically called one quilt a 'Blind Man’s Fancy'."
Nancy Page's syndicated column (see illustration left) says:
"You all have heard of the 'Old Maid's Puzzle' quilt block. Well here we have one which is quite as perplexing. This one is called the 'Bachelor's Puzzle,' not that I think a man will ever piece this quilt — but I know you will have to keep your wits about you when you put the pieces together. If I were you I would piece the four dark sections onto the center white block first. Get them in the right position and then you ought not to have much difficulty with the other parts."
More blocks with "puzzle" names at this site include:
DEVIL'S PUZZLE and
DUCK CREEK PUZZLE, also
MONKEY PUZZLE and
Credit to Jinny Beyer, who included the quote by Nancy Page, see THE QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS, p.66-10.