The 70273 Project

with a side of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers


It’s Sunday, 05 November 2017.
Nobody applauds when the announcer declares the 2017 International Quilt Festival over.

Queen Becky gives us a lesson in how to fold the quilts,
how to roll and twist the tissue paper,
and where to place it to prevent creases when the quilts are folded.
She is an excellent teacher from whom I learn an awful lot.

The quilts and all who had a hand in creating them are treated with respect.
A clean sheet is placed between the quilts and the floor,

and everyone who touches the quilts wears clean, white gloves.

Sean and David Rusidill (Caroline’s amazingly polite and fun to be with sons), Judy Jochen,
and Shannon Timberlake join in the take down and store effort.

The Engineer (Andy) takes quilts off the walls, and
Linda Moore and Peggy Thomas (sisters) fold and box quilts as they come down.

Caroline Rudisill checks quilts off the inventory list

as they go into the boxes.

It would not have happened with out Peggy Thomas

and Tari Vickery,
both seen here in The 70273 Project Interactive Booth
where people took home 1000 block kits,
left financial donations, and made Friendship Blocks.

Peggy Thomas and Tari Vickery (The 70273 Project Ambassadors)
– what would I . . . what would The 70273 Project . . . do without them?

Mary Green, Ambassador for The 70273 Project
(seen here in front of her beautiful Middling made with beads)
worked in the Interactive Booth, as did . . .

Cindy Cavallo, Ambassador

Caroline Rudisill, Ambassador

Frances Alford, Ambassador
and folks whose photos must be on somebody else’s phone:
Elaine Smith, Ambassador
Linda Moore, Ambassador
Judy Jochen, Ambassador,
Shannon Timberlake.

Thank you all for making the effort not just to get to the Festival,
but to share your time with The 70273 Project. I am grateful beyond description.

Thank you to Queen Becky, who hung The 70273 Project quilts
in the Special Exhibit, making us look so good . . .

to Rose (she teaches special education) who helped hang quilts in the Interactive Booth . . .

to Becky who, because of health issues, wasn’t able to be at the Festival,
but for months and months before the Festival,  donned her best patience and wit
to guide me through the process,
even taking the time to call me on the phone
with the good news that The 70273 Project had been selected
as a Special Exhibit when she could’ve just sent an email.

to Deann who was on-site, always calm and patient and thorough in her answers and instructions,

to Terri, whose laugh never faded throughout the entire five days

to the people back home who assembled The Go Block Bags
(all 1000 bags were taken!) . . .

 to all y’all who weren’t there in person,
but were most definitely there in spirit – sharing posts,
telling others, sending encouraging, appreciative message, emails, and comments –

and to The Engineer . . .  Andy
the man who has unwaveringly honored
our vision and vow of togetherness
for 44 years now . . .


It definitely takes a village, and we have a village made of the  kindest,
most compassionate, smiling, big-hearted people I ever dreamed existed.

All good things must come to an end, and the International Quilt Festival is no exception.
Looking at the photos of empty walls now, I see visual foreshadowing . . .

We get home and take our elder Corgi Phoebe up the mountain on Wednesday,
cooking all her favorite foods and putting them in front of her,
sitting on the floor with her, petting her, talking to her, loving her.
She wants to go outside every 2 minutes or so as though she can’t make up her mind.
She stands over her water bowl as though it’s familiar,
but she’s forgotten what she’s supposed to do with it.

A business trip on Thursday, and on Friday, it’s time to make The Hard Decision.

As we wait on Jeff (our vet, friend, and well, extended family member),
a man comes in and walks right over to Phoebe who would ordinarily
be glad to see him because she has always known that everybody wants to pet her.
This man does want to pet her,
but today Phoebe doesn’t even raise her head
or look up at him.

We are ushered not into the usual exam room,
but into a more spacious room with colorful padded chairs.
There’s even a doggie bed . . . pink.
I know why we are here
– shoot, I’m the one who called Jeff and told him why we wanted to come –
and yet I am unable to let go of the hope,
that Jeff will enter to announce that an IV of fluids
and maybe 2 weeks of antibiotics and our Phoebe will be good as new.

That’s not what happens.

I sit on the floor with Phoebe.
She stands near the door,
and I ask her to move
for fear someone will smack her hard
when they don’t see her standing there.

She makes laps around the room,
walking in circles that take her
in front of the examining table,
in front of Andy,
in front of me,
then back by the examining table.
Around and around and around she goes.

Jeff takes her out to put the catheter in,
and when he brings her back,
she’s content to lay on the bed she’s been avoiding.

We all sit on the floor now.
As Jeff administers the sedative/anti-anxiety drug,
I tell stories that start with “Remember when . . . “.

As Jeff administers the narcotic,
we each lay a hand on Phoebe
and send steady streams of love to her
through our touch.

The precious four-legged soul called Phoebe
who gifted us with her presence
breathes her last breath
to the sound of laughter and love.

From the high of the Special Exhibit at IQF
to the lows of witnessing the life of a member of our family come to a close,
life is a roller coaster, and we have been in the front seat.

Diary of a Week with Nancy: Day One

Saturday, 17 Nov 17
Fayetteville, GA
3:30 a.m.

The alarm clock goes off. The Engineer and I dress and make our way to the Atlanta airport. We are flying to Florida to fetch Nancy today and bring her home for Thanksgiving.

9:00 a.m.
Arriving at Nancy’s house, I ask her for a hug and get a two-armed hug instead of the usual lean-in-my-direction with her upper body. She’s ready to “go home for Thanksgiving.”

10:15 a.m.
Andy drops Nancy and me off curbside while he goes to return the car. As I toss the carry-on over my shoulder (I make it sound so light and easy!), freeing up one hand to roll the checked-bag while the other hand holds onto Nancy, Wayne Friday, a Southwest Sky Cap, leaves his station and walks over to the curb. He takes the suitcase then tells Nancy and me for us to stay where we are while he goes to get a wheelchair “’cause I can tell you need one.” He is gone several minutes, then returns smiling with a wheelchair in hand. As I struggle to get Nancy seated  in the wheelchair as expeditiously as possible so as not to hold Wayne or any other customers up, Wayne assures me he will wait as long as possible. He is calm, kind, and patient. I want him on my Committee of Jeanne.

He checks the three of us in, then pushes the wheelchair inside the terminal and down I don’t know how far to the elevator he says Andy will surely be taking. “This way,” he tells me, “you can see him right when he gets off the elevator and you won’t have so far to walk.”

“You can’t leave yet,” I tell him, “because I have absolutely no money for a tip, and if anybody ever deserved a tip, it’s you, Wayne Friday.” He chuckles and says, “Just keep flying Southwest. That’s more than enough.” When Andy gets off the elevator, just as Wayne promised he would, we walk back to Wayne so I can leave $10.00 in his hand. It’s not nearly enough, but all the cash we have. That with the letter I intend to write will have to do.

11:05 a.m.
We arrive at gate 120 and position Nancy’s wheelchair just behind the sign that says “Preboard Area.” Twenty minutes later, two women come – one pushing her wheelchair, the other walking hers – and get in line behind Nancy, but only for a few minutes, preferring to sit directly in front of the gate agent’s desk instead. He tells them that while they don’t have to go back to the Preboard Area, they will need to move because there’s a plane landing in a few minutes and people will need to go right through where they are sitting. Perhaps fearing they’ll be forgotten, they don’t budge.

11:35 a.m.
I take Nancy to the bathroom where women don’t wait for me to ask for help. They simply see what I need, and they do it, all the while offering me reassuring words as I apologize for inconveniencing them. I didn’t know until we had everything off that Nancy wears two pairs of disposable underwear, and I only brought one. There’s nothing to do but go back, fetch another pair, then find our way back to the bathroom.

On our second trip to the restroom, a plane has arrived, so there’s a line. The woman in front of me holds the hand of her young daughter, and when it’s finally her turn, it’s the handicap stall that becomes available. “You go ahead,” she tells me with a smile as she steps aside to let me pass.

Now our first trip was to the handicap stall at the far end of the bathroom where there is a sink and room for the wheelchair and my mother’s family. This stall is mere steps away. It is much smaller, and when I finally manage to get me, Nancy, and the wheelchair inside, I am sitting on the toilet with my feet on the arms of the wheelchair, the feet of the wheelchair touching the toilet, and not nearly enough room to close the door. Though it disrupts the flow of things, I open the stall door, stand Nancy up, then push the wheelchair out. I catch the eye of a woman and ask if she’ll roll the chair over to the little cubby I spy. It’s a small bathroom, and to leave the wheelchair just outside the door would mean nobody could enter or leave the entire bathroom. “Of course,” she says with a smile, and when I open the door to leave, I’m greeted by the same smiling face. “I thought you might need help again, so I waited on you,” she tells me. I resist the urge to  kiss her.

On the way back to the gate area, we twice navigate our way past a woman who is leaning on her baby’s stroller, texting while she walks in leisurely, mindless circles, oblivious to the presence of anybody else. Three men stand in the middle of the aisle – also texting – their carry-on luggage on the floor beside them. For a moment, I wish the wheelchair came with a “wide load” sign, flashing lights, and maybe even the back-up beep of a golf cart. We must get past them to get back to Andy. I scout out options for other routes, there are none. In response to my, “Excuse me, please,” one grumbles, one signs audibly, and the other does nothing.

1:00 p.m.
I find the spot for my boarding assignment A55, leaving Andy (who has a higher boarding assignment in the C group) to board with Nancy. Eric, the gate agent, motions for them to board first because we were the first ones in line to Preboard. He notices, he remembers, he boards in order of arrival. I’ll write two letters to Southwest – Eric gets his own.

1:25 p.m.
Comfortably situated in the first row of seats, we get to hear and see Flight Attendant Bingo (“After four girls, BINGO, we have a boy!”), and that right there is worth the price of admission. He is firmly in control of this flight with reins we are happy to leave in his hands because he is so darn fun and pleasant. Friendly, really, affable. He greets every person – not every fifth person, not every time he happens to look up, but every single person –  as they board the plane as though welcoming us to a party at his home. He notices the bling of princess attire (we are in Orlando, you know), the hats of fellow veterans, reads the t-shirs on the young boys. This is going to be a good flight.

3:15 p.m.
We arrive in Atlanta, and because Nancy moves at the speed of frozen molasses, we wait to let just others get off first. Every passenger makes a point to smile and say “Thank you” to Bingo as they leave. It changes the air we breathe, all that gratitude. Yes, Bingo set the tone for the fight, and he is pitch perfect. I’ll write three letters.

Bingo frequently glances out the door to assure us there’s a wheelchair waiting for us. He even offers to hold up the line so we can get off, and we tell him we’d prefer to wait a little longer so as not to back things up. Finally it is time for us to get off, and just as Nancy’s foot crosses the threshold separating airplane from jetway, we spy a woman take her seat in the waiting wheelchair while her husband gets behind her to push, and off they go in a great big hurry. Bingo hollers after them, but they don’t even look back. We get Nancy completely off the plane and stop. It’s the only thing we can do. As they exit the plane, the pilots tell us they’ll make sure somebody brings back a wheelchair. Nobody does.

A female gate agent comes out and says Nancy will have to walk because there are no more wheelchairs. “It’s a long walk,” I tell her, “this could take a while.” I turn around so I can take both of Nancy’s hands in mine and walk backwards down the jetway, guiding her and alerting her to inclines and speed bumps. Though I know she’s anxious for us to get off the jetway so they can have an on-time departure, the gate attendant never says so, slowing her pace to match ours, holding onto Nancy’s left elbow as we make our way towards the terminal. Eventually, we make it to the gate area, and voila – there’s a wheelchair waiting on us . . . in the gate area . . . at the end of a l-o-n-g jetway.

On the train, off the train and into the l-o-n-g line for the elevator that will land us at baggage claim, we find ourselves behind the woman and man who took Nancy’s wheelchair. The man (her pusher) makes his way to the front of the line and informs people that his ride is waiting on them upstairs, and when nobody will let him break to the front of the line, a miracle occurs: the woman stands, hoists her bag, and the two of them walk back to take the escalator to baggage claim, leaving the vacated wheelchair sitting empty in line.

5:30 p.m.
We pick up our daughter, get a quick bite to eat, then drop Andy and Nancy back at the house to enjoy (I use the term lightly, as it turns out) the second half of the Georgia Tech game while we run an errand. Once back, I sit and try to write this post, but my brain is screaming for sleep, threatening to post unintelligible nonsense, so I prepare the photos then sit and stare at the screen until 9 p.m. when we can give Nancy her bedtime meds and call it a day.



Day 3 of the International Quilt Festival

As I write this, I am feeling sad that today is the last day. Yesterday was another remarkable, indescribably astonishing and magical day with so many people coming back to the booth to be with the quilts or to talk some more. Many people came back, bringing others they wanted to show it to. There’s just too much to tell you right now because I am hoping to get this posted in time to have breakfast and a shower today (something that hasn’t happened since Wednesday!). I also want to get back to the convention center and have time to be with the quilts myself as today at 4, we will lovingly take them down and send them to their next destination. I have so much to tell y’all, but for now, some photos from yesterday. There were people . . .

At The 70273 Project Interactive Booth in the 100 Aisle, things are constantly bustling as people make Friendship Blocks using markers on fabric and the handy-dandy template Elaine Smith created. Many bouquets of thanks to those who volunteered at the IAB over the course of the Festival: Peggy Thomas, Tari Vickery, Linda Moore, Caroline Rudisill, Elaine Smith, Judy Jochen, Shannon Timberlake, Frances Alford, Cindy Cavallo, and Mary Green. Visitors can make Friendship Blocks and/or take a Go Bag filled with everything you need (except scissors and a needle) to make a small block. All blocks made at the Festival will go into a special Festival 2017 quilt, and of course, each pair of red X’s commemorates one life.

These two treasures – Tari Vickery and Peggy Thomas – have been here every minute of every day. The Engineer and I could not have done it without them. Yesterday they came over to the Special Exhibit to help talk to people – yes, it kept 5 of us busy because there were that many visitors!

I finally got to meet Caroline Rudisill in person! She split her time between the Interactive Booth and the Special Exhibit, and today she’s bringing her two boys to help with set strike.

And oh my goodness, what on earth would I do without The Engineer (who’s called Andy behind the scenes). He hasn’t sat down a single time since we’ve been here. There are always people,
so he’s always telling them about The 70273 Project.

Catherine Bonte, President of the French Patchwork Guild, came by. We looked at all the French quilts (there are many that were also exhibited in Lacaze, France in June of this year). Here we are in front of a quilt that was pieced by Katell Renon. I have a story to tell you about this, but no time now, except to say that when I mentioned my friend Chantal who is gathering blocks for us in France, Catherine knew I meant Chantal Baquin without me having to mangle her last name. (I get very self-conscious when speaking French to people from France! They pronounce the words so melodiously. I don’t.) If you live in France and have blocks to send, please contact Chantal Baquin for her mailing address. Catherine and I share a hope that One Day, all – as in every single one – of The 70273 Project quilts will be exhibited somewhere in France.

Now y’all, I tell you what: I don’t let dogs lick me (especially on the face) ’cause I know where their mouth has been. But Neely, the seeing eye dog? He’s different. With his owner’s permission,
I let him lick me till he didn’t have any saliva left to lick me with.

Emma from the Quilt Alliance came by to do a quick 3-minute interview about the project.

And there were quilts. These are just a few of them, of course. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be profiling each quilt individually with stories and names of all who had a hand in creating them.

Quilt 185

Quilt 113

Quilt 111

Quilt 78

Quilt 76

Quilt 75

Quilt 70

Quilt 60

Quilt 54

Quilt 45

Quilt 28

Quilt 23

Walls of The 70273 Project Special Exhibit

And that’s not all! This morning I received these photos . . .

From Uta Lenk, the German Ambassador for The 70273 Project, this photo of 80 commemorations made in Germany, now on their way to be pieced and quilted.

And from Lucy Horner, a 70273 Project Ambassador in the U.K., this photo showing quilts being made that will fill Rochester Cathedral in January 2018. More about that soon.

With that, I’m off to go commune with the quilts before the doors open. Being at the International Quilt Festival is a phenomenal, amazing, magical opportunity and experience. Thank y’all for letting me be the steward for The 70273 Project.


Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

Day 2 of the International Quilt Festival

The line is even bigger today, though there’s a Celebration Parade for the Houston Astros right outside our doors in just a few hours. Here are a few of the most amazing people I had the honor to met today. Wish I could had taken photos of every single one of them.

Tari Vickery and Peggy Thomas sure don’t look as tired as I’m sure they are. They’re in charge of The 70273 Project interactive booth where people are making blocks.

Susan Wynne and Elaine Smith came by. Elaine is also helping in the Interactive Booth, where she has one of the Middlings she’s made on display.

Sue Warby from the UK offered to be a 70273 Project Ambassador!

Stephanie Brown Bowen is a hoot and a holler. She’s also an angel who swooped back through the booth later in the day and quietly handed me a bottle of water as I talked to other people about The 70273 Project. Last night, she joined our Facebook Campfire, which I’m means our chats are about to get livelier!

Sheila Bishop and Tori Benz-Hillstrom are friends with our Kitty Sorgen and Kris Phillips (who pieced the quilt we’re standing in front of) and Trish Lehman and so many more members of The 70273 Project Tribe!

I finally got to meet the delightful and talented Nan Ryan live and in person! She lives in a community where my in-laws lived for many years before they died, and she found out about The 70273 Project in an interesting round-about kind of way and jumped right on it. I was going down to meet her a month or so ago, but Hurricane Irma was a party pooper.

Kathleen Kashmire from Eureka, California made blocks in the Interactive Booth.

Lois-Scheiter dropped off a block and a donation (Thank you, Lois!) then happened back through several times to bolster me with her bright smile and blown kisses.

Helen Jordan is a polio survivor from Glasgow, Scotland.

Andra Steemkamp from Nambia stopped by to learn more about The 70273 Project, so maybe we’ll soon have our first blocks from Africa.

Meg Cox was one of the first people I met yesterday, and she is a real dynamo. I enjoyed talking to her as much as I enjoyed looking at her jacket.

Jacqueline Bonner stopped us on the way in to say how powerful she found The 70273 Project Exhibit. Her ex mother-in-law was going to teach her to quilt, but Jacqueline didn’t want to learn then. She got ready to learn, but only after her mother-in-law died. Jacqueline’s grandmother made quilt and clothes by hand.

This is Marie Ange (center) and her friend. Marie Ange is from France and she hopes to meet Chantal Baquin and maybe Katell Renon when she’s there next week.

Christine Treweck owns the Delbrook Quilt Company in New Zealand. Her daughter died at age 5 from disabilities she sustained as a result of an infection she contracted. I so enjoyed meeting her daughter through Christine’s stories – and there were more smiles and chuckles than tears because her daughter’s joy shown right through the stories – like how her daughter would blow kisses and sign “I love you” to the person who performed painful medical procedures on her as she left the room.

Meet Cheryl Johnston and Jan Tarbox.

Anabel  Ebersol made some of the wind chimes that are exquisitely hung just in front of The 70273 Project Special Exhibit. Very appropriate, don’t you think? Kudos to Festival Special Exhibit organizers and planners.

Hilary Jordan, Barbara Tyo, and Melinda Ashby were in the exhibit when I arrived (I got there early, they got there earlier.) Hilary sells Aurafil thread. Just sayin’. Just hopin’.

The Engineer (Andy) is a real trooper, y’all. I am so lucky to have a husband who wholeheartedly supports The 70273 Project in every way imaginable. Yesterday, we fell into a pattern (not by design) where he would tell people the story about The 70273 Project then they would come tell me their stories. It made for an amazing day.

For The 70273 Project to be a Special Exhibit at the International Quilt Festival is an honor, y’all, and I am humbled and fueled by the conversations I have, the love notes that people leave me on our table, by the stories folks share with me. The Engineer and I haven’t left the booth once because every single minute someone is there, and we don’t want to miss a single person. To all y’all who have come by or will come by, to all y’all who are sending good energy from far away, thank you.


Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.


Day 1 of the International Quilt Festival

As we cruise to the front of the massive line (to give us time to get ready to greet our visitors) waiting to gain entry to Day One of the International Quilt Festival, a security guard stops me to say, “I love your project. It is the most meaningful project here for me because my dad was a pilot in World War II and spent years in a German prison camp.”

As we get to our Special Exhibits, in comes a text from our son telling me that he’s thinking of me and loves me along with a text from our daughter saying I’m proud of you and love you. Always a grand way to start a day. 

The next person I see is Day Brightener Kathee Colman, whom you met yesterday when she stopped by with Patricia A. Montgomery. Kathee gives me my start-the-day-off hug and checked by throughout the day to give hugs of support and encouragement and offer to fetch  me water. From here, my day is filled with stories and hugs and smiles and tears from the likes of . . .

Libby Wares and Peggy Conklin from Florida (I met them when I presented
The 70273 Project to the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild last July.

Cindy Cavallo (We’re standing in front of her gorgeous Middling that’s hanging in the Special Exhibit.) An active member of The 70273 Project Tribe,
Cindy also spent the day at the project’s interactive booth.

Sharron Evans


Patty Spiller

Jennifer (daughter), Susan (mother), and Belinda (daughter).
Susan works with people like Nancy who lives in group homes.
Jennifer promises to take The 70273 Project
back to her school’s art design classes.

Jennifer (niece) and Jan (aunt) – my Bathroom Girls, I call them because when I  exited the bathroom, they were waiting on me. “I saw you go in,” Jennifer said, ” and I told Jan, ‘There’s the two red X woman.’ We are captivated by what we’ve read,
and we want to know more about the project.” Of course I told them about it, and true to their word, they stopped by later for a visit with the quilts and me.

And there were the most delightful fifth grade students and teachers who came by to view the quilts and ask projects. They’re from the Pearland, TX Independent School District, and I’m very excited that they want the students to Skype with me later AND they’re going to incorporate The 70273 Project into their curriculum. It’s something they apparently do every year – have the students research something then quilt it. The students were engaged, asked the most thoughtful questions, and showed keen observation skills.
It was a little spot of heaven as I stood there talking to them, remembering
why I so enjoyed teaching fourth graders.
I’m looking forward to hearing from and talking with them more.

Quilting Rock Star Bonnie Bobman came by, and oh the outside-the-box talk we did have.

While Bonnie and I were talking, Quilter Rock Star Pauling Salzman happened by for a chat.

Meet Gilda Hamilton and 2017 IQA Award Winner Pat Connally.

All the while The Engineer and I talk with hundreds and hundreds of people in the Special Exhibit, Peggy Thomas, Cindy Cavallo, and Tari Vickery woman our Interactive Booth in aisle 100, telling more people about the project and inviting them to make Friendship Blocks that Cindy has graciously offered to turn into a Festival 2017 quilt.

Visitors commemorate.

“For the sensitivity and the love
For the memory and the knowledge
For all with two
Whoever was taken and whoever lives”

The lovely Evy Styliara penned these words in Greek in her friendship block.
More tears.

Right next door to the interactive booth, Siege Leland with
the Houston Quilt Guild teaches people how to Quilt and quilt with a purpose.

And that’s not all. Across The Pond, Wendy Daws and members of the Kent Association for the Blind and their guide dogs are making tactile blocks and quilts that will fill Rochester Cathedral come January. Photos sent by Wendy and taken by LadyBird Day.

Peggy, The Engineer, and I close out this magical day with our one meal of the day and stories. Y’all know I’m an optimist if I wear all white and drink chocolate martinis, right?

So many stories to tuck away in my heart. So much heartspeak (my name for tears). So much goodness and wonder and compassion and kindness is happening here, y’all. I didn’t get a photo of Robin Moore, but remind me to tell you that story one day because she is a treasure. And there’s so many more that I didn’t get photos of – just know that you’re now permanently a part of my heart, and I look forward to hearing from you as you become part of The 70273 Project Tribe. This is an amazing experience, y’all. There are no words, except Thank you.


Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

The Morning After Preview Day of the International Quilt Festival

I told you I’d post every night –  I lied – that was the promise of a woman who’s a virgin who’s at the International Quilt Festival for the first time. So we’ll shift into Plan B where I post the morning after.

“You’re the two red X woman,” she says. “I want to know how you came up with the idea.” This is how the day started, and this is Jeanne with Queen Becky. She hung our exhibit – she made us look GOOD.

I overhear her say, “I’m Sherri Lipman McCauley, and I’m here to work at the SAQA booth.”
“Hey, Sherri of SAQA,” I said from across the way. “I’m Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, and I’m a member of SAQA, too. Thank you for being here to keep he booth open.”

“OH, you’re the two red X woman,” she rather exclaimed as she spies my name tag.  After that there are hugs and tears and stories. When she was 12 years old, she and her sister babysat for a man who had numbers printed on his wrist.  “Don’t you ever ask him about those number,” her mother admonished them before they went on their first babysitting gig.” Now she knows why.


Andy, Peggy Thomas, and I work to set up The 70273 Project Interactive Booth #150. The Engineer prepares the thread caddies we’ll be selling to raise money for the project. Each thread caddie is designed and handmade by the talented wood artist Heather Muse, and a generous 40% of the proceeds benefit The 70273 Project. I’ll be posting an order form as soon as I have a minute. Till then, you can just message me and let me know to hold one for you. And if you have an idea of something we could sell or do as a fundraiser, let me know that, too.

Queen Becky, Rose Williams, and Peggy hang quilts in The 70273 Project Interactive Booth #150. Queen Becky and Rose (who taught special ed) marvel at the different pairs of red X’s in the quilt made by members of Kitty Sorgen’s family.

Positively Peggy Thomas in The 70273 Project Interactive Booth #150.

Booth #150. None of us has ever been to Festival before, and while we may not know what we’re doing and how to best represent The 70273 Project, we know where our hearts are, and we let them guide us.

The equally effervescent Tari Vickery arrives in the afternoon, and soon after, we whisk her away to see the Special Exhibit. Here we see her standing in front of a Middling made by Katell Renon.

Early in the project, Robin Woods sent not just blocks but a handwritten note about potential marketing avenues, and finally we meet in person. What a treat, a delight, a font of helpful information she is!

I meet these two fun, charming women before I had the good and useful idea to snap photos of name tags. If you see yourself here, please let me know your names.

It takes a while before Ricka Neuman and I can talk through the tears.

Meet Beth Conlin and Kendra Carroll, Quilt Angels extraordinare. “We want to get up close to the quilt,” they told me, “and touch it because WE CAN.”
I am so grateful to have them close by.

Oh my goodness the conversation Lynea from Utah, Sharon from Calgary, and I enjoy. Sharon has a long, full career of working with people with all sorts of special needs, and it’s obvious that she loves what she does. I hope that families who get to work with her how lucky they are. When I tell them about Nancy, Lynea (whose mother took the name from a steamy French novel she was reading at the time) walked away, and when she comes back, she has tears streaming down her face. Turns out she, too, has a sister named Nancy who is also 57 years old and who has mental development issues.

Gloria, seen here in the red shirt, looks at the Middling made by Chantal Trouillot, sees the tiny scroll curled up in the upper righthand corner, and says, “That makes me think of the Torah.” So many people see something in these quilts that I’d never considered. I’ll tell you later.

Sandy (white shirt) is married to Bill who, as a result of contracting polio when he was 18 years old, is paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors told him he would never walk again, but he taught himself how. “He walked with a stiff gate, but he walked,” Sandy tells me, “until he fell so many times that he stretched out something.” And not only did Bill walk, he is a true – as in I’m not kidding – rocket scientist. “He’s brilliant,” Lois tells me, “absolutely brilliant.” Sandy made this astonishing quilt that hands in the booth behind and Lois (from Alabama) quilted it.

Sue Harrison, who lives in Durham, Kent, UK, came by and I show her the Middling (top) made by Margaret Jackson, who’s an Ambassador for The 70273 Project in – say it with me – Durham, Kent, UK.

“I sent blocks in, and she wrote me a thank you note,” Bunnie Jordan of Virginia tells her friends. “Yeah, well, I’m a wee little bit behind on my thank you note writing,” I tell them.

When Patricia A. Montgomery and Kathee Colman come by, they tell me they read about The 70273 Project and were determined to see it tonight. “Thank you,” they each said as they hugged me. When I find out that Patricia (left) made the spectacular Civil Rights coats that are on display, I spontaneously hug her and say, “Thank you.”

Michelle was our last visitor on this glorious night. She says that when her friend, Frances Alford, told her about The 70273 Project, she made sure she got over to see it on the first night. Less than a moment after this picture was snapped, tears flowed from our four eyes. I didn’t get your last name, Michelle, so perhaps you and/or Frances will let me know?

Thank you to all who stop by to share your stories and your reactions. It is an emotional night, with many good tears being shed. Tears of joy and gratitude and compassion. I met so many kind, creative people tonight – my heart swells even more.
It is a night I’ll never, ever forget.

Peggy, The Engineer, and I enjoy a pizza and a drink afterwards as we swap stories and bask in the afterglow of a night well spent and much enjoyed.

As we walk back to the hotel, we find ourselves totally caught up in the celebration of the Houston Astros winning the World Series. There was much whooping and hollering and horns honking – even from me (well, not the horn part) – and I wrote baseball off umpteen years ago when the Atlanta Braves players decided multi-million dollar salaries weren’t enough for them and went on strike without giving a nanosecond thought about the people who depend on the considerably smaller amounts of money they make selling hot dogs and beer and cleaning up after games. That wasn’t forgotten, but the celebratory joy was, indeed, infectious.


Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

International Quilt Festival 2017, Get Ready Days 1 and 2

The annual International Quilt Festival held in Houston, TX is mecca for quilters and cloth enthusiasts. It has long been my dream to attend, and this year I am here with The Engineer and many others I’ll tell you about as the week goes on, to give voice to The 70273 Project Special Exhibit of quilts. Such an honor to be selected.


When it was time to pack up the quilts after the First Major European Exhibit in Lacaze, France last June, Katell Renon gave us this purple suitcase that is now part of The 70273 Project Fleet. Were I to decorate it with bumper stickers from all the places it’s been since arriving on US soil, you wouldn’t be able to see the purple, so thank you again, Katell!

We flew into Houston yesterday, dropped our bags, and trekked right on over to the convention center where we had the delightful pleasure of meeting Terri Winsauer, and Deann Shamuyarira live and in person.  These two and Becky Navarro are My Dream Team. I know they must be frazzled and exhausted, and yet I have never seen them in anything other than a smile, and oh the patience!




The Festival Special Exhibits Dream Team did an amazing, astonishing, outstanding job designing and hanging our exhibit. And it’s so big! There are 4 long walls, one short wall, and two end walls where two long walls come together.

Frances Alford happened by, and what fun it was to meet her live and in person. She’s every bit as effervescent in person as she is on Facebook. Frances has a beautiful quilt on display at Festival, a self portrait. Click on the link to see it as her profile photo. For some reason, the hotel’s internet won’t let me transfer the photo from my phone to the computer, and my blogging software won’t accept the saved image from her fb profile, so yeah. Just click over and have a look.

I got to meet the amazingly productive and fun Desiree Habicht, her husband Randy, their daughter Jen, and Jen’s service dog, Chloe. What fun! If you’re reading this and will be at Festival, be sure to find Desiree in her vendor’s booth and maybe treat yourself to a few things.

And tonight Peggy Thomas, The 70273 Project Chief of Nectar, arrived!

I’ll leave you with some bird’s eye view photos The Engineer took of The 70273 Project Special Exhibit and a promise to post every night about the day’s happenings and profile quilts in the exhibit, so y’all come back now, ya’ hear?


Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

Making Minis


A Mini Made by Cindy Cavallo

A Mini made by Kim Monins, Jersey, Channel Islands U.K.

Just in time for #GlobalBlockDay and Blockapalooza, a new way to make quilts: fabric postcards which will be called Mini Quilts or Minis for short. The spark for this idea goes to Jennifer Lario Moya who tucked the cutest mug rug into a batch of blocks, and one thing led to another, and here we are talking about how to make Minis.

A Mini made by Pam Patterson

To keep things creative to make and visually interesting to look at, there are some familiar guidelines/rules and some new guidelines/rules:

  • Minis must be made of fabric.
  • Minis are 6″ x 4″ / 15cm x 19cm – that is 6″/15cm wide x 4″/10cm tall. Think landscape or horizontal orientation.
  • Minis must have 3 layers: a top, stiff middle; backing. Top and backing must be fabric.
  • The top must be of white or slightly off white background.
  • Backing fabric can be whatever you choose, though many of the samples made by veteran postcard makers feature a light colored backing fabric so it can be made to look like a postcard.
  • Include as many pairs of red X’s as you like on the front of the Mini, but they must be presented in pairs, just like in Middlings, and each pair of red X’s will be considered a commemoration.
  • You must tell me on the Provenance Form how many pairs are in each Mini. You may send one Provenance Form with a batch of as many Mini Quilts as you want to create, and each Mini Quilt must have a note attached telling me the number of commemorations (pairs of red X’s) on that particular Mini.
  • Please no words, numbers, names, drawings, or symbols, etc. on the front – only pairs of red X’s.
  • Feel free to write a note or a favorite quote or make a drawing on the back, but say it with me: not on the front.
  • Embellishments (beads, lace, ribbons, textured fabrics etc.) are welcomed.
  • Edges must be finished in red or white.
  • If mailing them as postcards, check with your local post office for mailing regulations. (See notes below for more info.)
  • Even if you mail them in envelopes, please get the Minis hand canceled so that when they’re displayed, viewers can see how far they traveled.
  • Remember that the backs will often be displayed, so don’t write anything (like your address) you don’t want the world to see.

Another Mini made by Pam Patterson

Minis Made by Jennifer Lario Moya

Thank you and thank you big to these people for teaching me about fabric postcards, making samples, and helping me figure out how to turn them in to Minis for The 70273 Project:
Betty Hedrick
Carolyn Katzoff
Chantal Baquin
Janet Hartje
Jennifer Lario Moya
Kim Monins
LindaMarie Davinroy Smith
Margaret Andrews
Marjorie Holme
Pam Patterson
Suzanne McCarthy

From Pam Patterson

From Pam Patterson

From Kim Monins

From Cindy Cavallo


  • Just mailed my postcards. Because they are fabric, the postal service was going to treat them as a parcel and put one of those ugly stickers all across it, even after I specified “hand cancellation”. After I said WAIT! the post lady did not apply the sticker. I explained to her I needed it to really be handcancelled (stamped with a stamper.) Since the post office rules did not allow that, we came up with a plan for her to handcancel the fabric and then mail all three postcards in a mailer. It cost $3 and something cents to mail all three that way. Mission accomplished. ~ Pam Patterson
  • The US post office will mail postcards without envelopes only if they’re thinner than 1/4″. ~ Marjorie Holme
  • I don’t know a lot about the French Post Office, I probably wouldn’t send it  except inside an envelope. ~ Chantal Baquin
  • Fabric postcards are an art form in themselves. postal art. That has gone thru the post in a normal way, with a PO cancelled stamp. ~ Kim Monins
  • If I put my fabric postcards in a clear envelope, my local post office made me put the stamp on the envelop and wouldn’t take time for hand cancelling. ~ Janet Hartje
  • Clear envelopes protect any embellishments like beads etc. I have occasionally mailed in a clear envelope but get thE PO to hand cancel the stamp before sealing it. So it’s ‘legal’ AND looks like it’s made its journey! ~ Kim Monins

A Mini Made by Kitty Sorgen


  • I’ve made a bunch of fabric postcards. As long as it’s less than 1/4″ thick, it mails with regular first class letter postage. I usually use the thick double fusible pellon, like is used for fabric bowls. I fuse plain muslin to the back and draw a traditional postcard back design with half for message and half for address. On the other side I fused my collaged/embroidered/stamped fabric piece. I prefer hand stitching so I usually buttonhole stitched the edges…most people use a machine stitch zigzag over the edge. It’s best to secure any embellishments, like buttons, well. Smaller things can be trapped under a layer of netting or tulle. ~ Marjorie Holme
  • Minis need a tiff middle which can be interfacing, buckram, Pellon or the like. ~ Kim Monins
  • Just as on blocks, red X’s can be painted, embroidered, hand stitched, appliquéd – apply them any way you choose.

I think these Minis will add much visual interest to exhibits, and they will fit into spaces where big quilts won’t. We welcome experienced fabric postcard makers, those who’ve been meaning to make fabric postcards, and those who never thought about it before, but adopt a why-not attitude and dive right in. We welcome Minis and look forward to seeing many of them on social media as you post on 14 October 2017, Global Block Day! If you have anything to add, please leave a comment or email me. And hey, thanks for telling all your friends ’cause I know you’re popular.





Gentle People, Thread Your Needles

Q: What October 14 is?
A: The 20 month birthday of The 70273 Project

Q: How will we celebrate?
A: We’re throwing a Blockapalooza!

Let’s see how many blocks we can make on that one day – October 14, 2017.

Participation is easy:

  1. Cut a piece of white or nearly white fabric in one of these sizes: 3.5×6.5″ or 6.5×9.5″ or 9.5×12.5″ 2)
  2. Put two red Xs on it. Don’t sew? Don’t let that stop you cause there are many ways to lay those two red X’s down on the base of white or near-white fabric. You can use paint, permanent marker (red Sharpies work swell), ribbon, fabric, lace, embroidery, stencil, – whatever method you choose. If you enjoy sewing, you stitch those two red X’s down any way you want to. These quilts will not be washed, so don’t worry too much about the red being colorfast. No words, no numbers, no drawings or symbols – just two red Xs. That’s all that goes on the blocks. That’s it. Period.
  3. Grab yourself a badge like the one above and share on social media on October 14 (or even before to build enthusiasm and give folks time to gather supplies) to help us get the word out and encourage your friends become involved. Use the hashtags #globalblockday and #the70273project to show us your blocks or quilts and to let us know how many people you’ve commemorated.
  4. Repeat as many times as desired.
  5. Get involved and get others involved. Let folks know you’re participating by mashing the “going” button on the Facebook event then invite your friends and make a pledge in the comments. Pen a blog post about Global Block Day or invite me to write one for you. Or maybe you’re a shop or a library or an organization or an individual who’d  like to host a physical or virtual Global Block Day Event and write a post for me?  Let me know.
  6. Fill out a Provenance Form and mail with your blocks or quilts.

A few notes . . .

  • If you have blocks, a quilt made from your blocks, or a Middling you’re working on and just haven’t gotten around to finishing, get that needle in motion so it can be included in our numbers for Global Block Day or Blockapalooza.
  • Can’t stitch on October 14? I’m gonna’ make it easy for you: Global Block Day is October 14, and Blockapalooza starts today, October 7, and runs till November 14 to allow time for stitching and shipping. Blocks, Middlings, or quilts made from your own blocks received by me or an Ambassador by the end of 11/14/17 will be counted as Global Block Day/Blockapalooza contributions and added to the official block count.
  • If you have a stack of blocks or a Middling or a quilt made from your blocks that you’ve been meaning to get in the mail but just haven’t gotten around to it, get around to it in time for me to receive it by November 14. If you’re in Europe, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with a 70273 Project Ambassador near you.
  • Though they won’t be added to the official block quilt until received by Ambassadors or me, 70273 Project Ambassador Tari Vickery will be donning her green visor to keep a tally on 10/14/17 Global Block Day and keep us updated, so check in often to watch the numbers grow as this big beautiful rock we call Earth makes its way around the sun. After Global Block Day, look for Blockapalooza updates on the blog.
  • Join The 70273 Facebook Digital Campfire, like The 70273 Project Facebook, or subscribe to the blog to stay in the loop.
  • A big Thank you to 70273 Project Ambassador Sarah Jespersen Lauzon for creating the badge and easy-to-follow instructions. Please use the badge and share this post as often as possible to let others know about The 70273 Project and to encourage them to participate.
  • Another big Thank you to 70273 Project Ambassador Lucy Horner for researching and creating the hashtag #GlobalBlockDay.
  • And last but not least, a big Thank you to y’all for helping us remind and/or convince the world that Every life has value. Every. Single. Life.

Now let’s get busy commemorating.


The 70273 Project in Germany

In Germany, Uta Lenk, German Ambassador for The 70273 Project is quite busy. . .

She just finished quilting The 70273 Project Quilt #265 containing 117 commemorations made by Conny Fleck and members of The Quilter vom Junfernkopf.

Uta and Chantal

Last month while waiting on the shuttle when attending the Ste. Marie-aux-Mines in France and, Uta spied two red X’s on a name tag and met Chantal Baquin, a 70273 Project Ambassador from France.

The Engineer and I had so much fun with Uta and her son
when they came for a visit in late August of this year.
There was stitching,



sliding down web, slippery boulders

eating fast food

and did I mention stitching?

When she’s not quilting or teaching or dying fabric or traveling or attending quilt gatherings, Uta writes blog posts and makes blocks to commemorate those we honor. If you’re in Germany or the vicinity of Germany and want to make blocks or quilts, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Uta or go direct and leave her a comment on her blog. Thank you, Uta, for bringing Germany to The 70273 Project.

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How are you shaping your involvement in The 70273 Project? I’d love to talk to you, so please let me know what’s happening in your studio and in your part of the world.

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Make blocks.
Make Middlings.
Make quilts.
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