Tumbling Blocks has a long history in the grammar of ornament, dating as far back as ancient Greece, when the pattern appeared as a mosaic floor design. It may have been introduced into quiltmaking in the 1850s. Also known as cubework, the stunningly optical results of floating, stacked, and overall cubic arrangements are achieved through the distribution of color and light and dark pieces.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Tumbling Blocks Quilt," exhibition label for alt_quilts: Sabrina Gschwandtner, Luke Haynes, Stephen Sollins. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2013.