Other links of interest:
Making Blocks
Making Middling Quilts


Quilt #24 is from Cécile Milhau

There are so many ways to be part of The 70,273 Project Tribe and help commemorate these 70,273 disabled people who were murdered by Nazis in 1940-41. Perhaps you want to make blocks, or maybe you want to gather blocks from others who share your genes, geography, or interests and make a group quilt with them. (And hey, there will be other ways to participate coming here in the next several months, so subscribe or check back often.) Maybe you want to help commemorate these 70,273 victims in more than one way. And perhaps you want to raise your hand with an offer to piece tops, quilt quilts, or piece and quilt . . .

A big, hearty Thank you to all the people who’ve graciously donated their time and talent to piece, quilt, or piece and quilt quilts for The 70273 Project. If you, your guild, or your group would like to add your names to this Honor Roll, let me know by mashing the envelope icon in the sidebar to the right of the page to send an email.

While I am excited about how each quilt is going to reflect the personality of its maker(s), and while I do want quilts of all sizes – something to fit in every venue that will have us – I do have a few strict parameters that we all must follow when piecing and quilting these works of art. I’ve listed them below. If you have any concerns, questions, comments, or suggestions, just holler.

Quilt #23 is made by Maïté Findeling


Here’s how it works . . .
§ When you’re ready, I will send you a bundle of blocks. There might be 50 blocks, there might be 80 blocks – it all just depends because I want you to have room to be creative.  Your job is to use as many blocks as you can in the top, assembling them in a way that delights you. Please return to me any blocks you do not use so that I can make amendments to my record keeping system and add the unused blocks to a bundle headed to another Piecer.

§ When I receive blocks, I assign each block a number, and the block is marked with the id number it’s been assigned. Blocks are tagged in one of two ways: the number may be on a bit of paper that’s attached to the front of the block or it may be written by hand on the back of the block. Please do not  remove the numbering tags from any of the blocks during the process. This is critical for tracking the thousands and thousands and thousands of blocks that will be transformed into quilts. I have a very precise cataloging system that will allow me to provide the all-important authorization documentation for exhibit venues, art historians, and viewers. Here’s good information from Trish Lehman, a quilter, about documenting the block numbers that will later be used to create the quilt map, showing the placement of each block and its Maker:

A very important part of the cataloging process is to ensure that the id numbers remain on each block during the piecing and quilting process. Once the blocks are arranged to a Piecer’s delight and before they are stitched together, Piecers create a map or record of their final layout with tag numbers clearly visible before the piecing and quilting begins. This could be done in a couple of ways:

  1.  Sketch the final layout on a piece of plain paper or graph paper (for more precision) and write the number in each square.
  2. Take a photo of your final layout on your design wall or on the floor, print it out, and write the number in each square.
    If the blocks you receive have the numbers handwritten on the back of the blocks, you might create the sketch (making sure that you flip the sketch so that the blocks appears as they will to the viewer, or you may find it easier to stitch the blocks together THEN take a photo of both the front and back of the top, making sure that the block numbers are visible and readable when the photo is enlarged.

Please send any photos and sketches to Jeanne so she can create the final quilt map for inclusion on the quilt label, and if you’re not quilting, send it to the person who is. Of course, if you are making your own quilt from blocks you made, none of this will be necessary as the quilt label will say that all blocks are made, pieced, and quilted by you.

§  If a blocks are too small, please add fabric to enlarge it to the standard size. Conversely, if a block is to large, please trim it to the standard size.

§  Blocks can be turned vertically or horizontally as you see fit.

§  lf another block would make things work more to your liking, it’s fine to make one provided you let Jeanne know right away so she can add it to the catalogue. She’ll need to know the size of the block, too.

§  Add 2-inch border of white fabric must to each side of the finished quilt. (Cut 2.5 inches so that it is 2 inches when finished.)

§  If you are handing off the quilt to another person to be quilted and you have designed the quilt with a definite orientation (the quilt should be displayed with one particular edge at the top), please indicate that on the quilt by pinning a note to the edge that is to be the “TOP”.

§ Kitty Sorgen pieced the first top for The 70273 Project, and she penned these notes for future Piecers:
Thank you for volunteering to do the piecing of one of the quilts for the 70273 Project! Your help is vital to the success of this endeavor. Below are a few guidelines that may be helpful to you. When you first receive your packet of blocks, it may feel overwhelming. You may feel, like I did, that you’re in over your head. Take a deep breath, and let’s break down what you’re going to need to do.

  1. Start with your largest blocks . . . 12.5″ x 9.5″ size. You will want to measure each of these to be sure they are the correct measurement. If not, you may need to trim or add an extra strip of white fabric. A “slight” shortage of the block you can “fudge” in the seam allowance, but anything more than 1/8″ you will need to add to the block. When adding strips to the block, cut them larger than you need, add to the block, then trim the block to the correct size.
  2. Once you get the large blocks to the correct size, place them on your design wall, randomly. You will be filling in around and between these blocks with your other smaller blocks. Remember that all the blocks do not need to be placed horizontally. There will be some blocks that will “read” equally well placed vertically. Use your sense of design to determine placement of the blocks.
  3. Take your next group of blocks . . . 6.5″ x 9.5″, and after checking their measurements and fixing any that need trimming or adding, begin to add these to your design wall. Remember, nothing you’re doing at this stage is cast in stone. Once you get all your blocks on the design wall, you will be able to move things around. The 9.5″ side of these blocks will fit nicely against the 9.5″ side of the larger blocks. Be sure you have these medium sized blocks spaced throughout the quilt.
  4. Now, after measuring, and fixing if necessary, add your 3.5″ x 6.5″ blocks. Three of these vertically, or two of these horizontally, will fit along the 12.5″ side of the large block, and they will fit horizontally against the 6.5″ side of the medium size block. Shift and change things around until everything fits and you have a pleasing arrangement. I found that I needed lots of the small and medium size blocks and not so many of the largest size. But all of our quilts will be different, and you need to do what works best for your quilt and the blocks you’ve been sent.
  5. Study your layout. If you have any blocks made out of stretchy material, you might want to be sure they are in the middle of the quilt and not along the outside edges. The same goes for any blocks made of material that frays easily. By placing them in the interior of the quilt, they will be stabilized by the blocks surrounding them.
  6. Now you have the challenge of sewing your top together. Your blocks may not make straight rows across the quilt. I found that sometimes my blocks needed to be sewn together horizontally, and sometimes vertically. I found that it worked best to piece my quilt in sections. You may find this to be true for you, too. Take your time to study your layout. How does it make sense for you to do the piecing?

Quilt #1, pieced by Kitty Sorgen and quilted by MJ Kinman


§  That numbering tag you see on each block? Please don’t remove it during the process. See the second bullet point in the Piecers section. If tags do fall off, immediately replace them by stitching or pinning it back onto the block. If you wait until multiple tags fall off, you won’t have a clue where they go.

§  The quilting (both topstitch and bobbin thread) must be completed in white thread (or a light neutral that matches the color of the majority of the blocks in the quilt).

§  Be creative with your quilting designs, and  enhance the red X’s and make them pop by quilting around and even up to BUT NOT OVER the red X’s. 

§  The backing fabric must be a white, preferably quilter’s cotton or bleached muslin. Seams are okay, so it’s not necessary to purchase 108″ wide fabric. it’s not necessary to wash the fabric first – you can, but you don’t have to as these quilts will never be washed.

§  Use a thin-loft, white batting – not puffy crafting batting, nor the off-white/ivory color. (This will help provide some consistency among the quilts AND conserve storage space.) Use whatever material or manufacturer you feel most comfortable using (100% cotton; 80/20 Cotton/Poly; All Poly; Wool; Warm & Natural; Quilters Dream Cotton, etc.)

§  Quilters differ on how “clean” the backs of their quilts need to be. Since these are going to be hung on walls the majority of their lives, follow your personal preference about burying the threads.

§  The quilts can be finished using a standard binding technique or a facing technique in white fabric.

§  The quilts must have a 4-inch rod sleeve attached to the back of the TOP edge of the quilt and must have a 1-inch gap between the side edge of the sleeve and the side edge of the quilt. Rod sleeves should be made from the same or similar color to the back of the quilt and facing.  

Quilt #25 made by The Bees from La Ruche des Quilteuses: Andrée, Evelyne, Brigitte, Maïté, Kristine and Katell


I love to document and share your progress as you piece or quilt the top, so please send photos along the way as you can and will. I want to be able to use these images (with your permission, of course) for future publications, books, etc., so please send them directly to me instead of through Facebook because Facebook automagically reduces the size to a point that renders images not suitable for print. So, if you’d like your images to be part of the pool that I can choose from when publishing, here’s how to do that:

§  Save each image as a JPEG (.jpg) file. Most cameras/phones already do that.

§  Name the image as follows: QUILT#_YOUR LAST NAME_IMAGE#.JPG    (So, for example, when working on Quilt #5, MJ Kinman sent images using the following filenames: Quilt5_Kinman_1.jpg,  Quilt5_Kinman_2.jpg).


Again, thank you for being such an important part of The 70273 Project and for making others aware of it in can they want to offer to piece or quilt. I can’t wait to stand in the presence of these quilts.