KNIGHT'S BLOCK debuted in print in Nancy Cabot's column in the Chicago Tribune on October 14, 1935. Unique in name and design, no other pattern exists in the compendiums by this title, and only a couple of blocks, ILLINOIS STAR and COLUMBIA, come anywhere near to resembling it. See Jinny Beyer's QUILTER'S ALBUM OF PATCHWORK PATTERNS (p. 82-10), and Barbara Brackman's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PIECED QUILT PATTERNS, #2745 (for COLUMBIA). In her column, Nancy Cabot says:
"One of the trick patterns in the quilting realm is "KNIGHT'S BLOCK." The single pieced block appears to consist of light and dark crosses. The finished pieced block measures 12 inches square and 7 blocks across and 8 blocks deep, making it a completed quilt which measures 90 x 120 inches."
But what does Cabot mean by referring to the block as a "trick pattern"? It's that sudden entrance, perhaps, of that white, four-pointed star, seemingly out of nowhere in the overall design, and creating a whole new center for the pattern (see tiling below). Almost humorously, it makes its improbable appearance, a sort of magical trick, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
From another perspective, KNIGHT'S BLOCK might also be the insignia on a knight's shield, and therefore account for the title. Like heraldry, this patchwork delights in complexity. Other beautifully designed, multi-faceted patterns at this site (and many more) include:
NAVAJO (with Daisy Nampeyo)
JANE AUSTEN QUILT
TUTTI FRUITY (with Helen Frankenthaler)
FRAMED BOUQUET (with Mary Cassatt)
PUDDING AND PIE
IN NARCISSUS MOTIF