Photo: earlywomenmasters.net, 11/29/2013
The BIRD'S NEST quilt design was first published in the OHIO FARMER periodical on December 6, 1894 (and again in the late 1890's in the Ladies Art Company Catalog #256). At last it made its debut in Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune on December 13, 1934. But why in the media these December dates for bird's nests? As a design motif it ought to appear at least in the newspaper in spring or summer. Perhaps because of the irony that when the trees are bare of leaves and most of the birds have gone south, that's when one can see the nests most visibly, whereas they are often hidden otherwise amidst the foliage.
Again, Cabot's article for this patchwork, surprisingly, has nothing to do with birds, but it does connect to childlike delight, which fits the theme on many levels, and in that regard she takes flight:
"Few adults ever outgrow the thrill of cutting patterns they enjoyed when they were children. This often is evidenced in a theater audience, in which people will fold and tear programs. Many a lovely quilt pattern has been lost to posterity because such designs were not saved. 'Bird's Nest' is one block which affords a pleasurable opportunity to cut and cut some more."
Compare with BIRDS AND KITES and BIRDS IN THE AIR.