Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Tag: 70273 behind the scenes

About Those Two Red X’s

Block #1, made by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

They’re such a little thing,
a simple design, folks say,
and yet they’re incredibly hard to make.

When I sat to stitch the first block,
I had no trouble cutting out the base
or threading the needle.
I had no trouble cleaning toilets
or cleaning out the dishwasher
or going to the grocery store.
But I had much trouble
stitching two red X’s.
The fact that they represented
a life
did not escape my heart,
my brain,
or my hands.
Continue reading

WXII Came A-Calling

Q: How do people find out about The 70273 Project?
A: Through high tech social media and good old-fashioned grass roots spreading and every way in between.

Jeanne and Bethany with her first quilt. She had to borrow a sewing machine and rotary cutter. We’re talking total novice, y’all.

So once upon a time, there was a lovely lass named Bethany, a newspaper reporter on assignment. When Bethany commented on the lovely quilts, the tables were turned and she was asked if she was a quilter. Her answer that day was no, but soon enough, our Bethany took the advise of the woman she was interviewing and signed up for one of Denniele Bohannen’s classes, and the rest, as they say,  is her story.

Then the day came when Bethany landed a job just over yonder from me  in North Carolina, and today she and Chris brought the camera and microphone and spent the morning in The Dissenter’s Chapel & Snug (my studio) looking at The 70273 Project quilts, asking good questions, and listening to my answers and stories. I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun, y’all.

In her star quilt, there were bicycles for her mother, an avid cyclist . . .

and a nod to science (atoms) for her dad . . .

and newspaper for journalist self. I see a theme in Bethany’s quilts: black and what and read all over. Or for those of you who don’t remember that childhood riddle, journalistic communication. It’s part of Bethany’s life, and it’s part of her quilty signature.

Bethany and her Churn Dash quilt she made in another one of Denniele’s classes. Note the backing fabric. Just sayin’.

And you know what else? Bethany brought a suitcase filled with her beautiful quilts and treated me to a private showing-for-one exhibit of her quilts. Pinch me.

Chris wanted to get a shot of me making blocks on my sewing machine – a 44 year old beauty The Engineer bought for me with proceeds from winning two radio contests the first year we were married. Now for all you eagle-eyed stitchers and non-stitchers who like finding bloops in films, if you  see this story  on the WXII  web site, you’ll chortle when you note that I ran out of thread before I’d stitched a single leg of a single red X. “Keep stitching,” Chris said, so I stitched and stitched and stitched some more . . . without any thread in the bobbin!

You’ll be hearing more about Bethany and Chris in another blog post coming later this week, so stay tuned.  Thank you, Bethany and Chris, for this wonderful opportunity to let people know about The 70273 Project. It was so much fun, and I’m serious about y’all coming back with your families for a weekend. I’ll leave the light on.

My Performance Evaluation

the performance evaluation I longed for. maybe next time.

My boss (me) calls me in today for my timely performance review and evaluation. It started out on a somewhat positive note, our meeting did . . .

The Boss Me: Well, Sugar, did you have a big time last week with your family at the beach?
The Me Me: I sure did! It was nonstop chaos, and I loved every minute of it. Every single minute. It sure did fly by, though. Would you like to see some photos?
The Boss Me:
 Well, you are so sweet to offer, but I think we have some other things we need to talk about right now.
The Me Me: Okay, shoot.
The Boss Me: First of all, I just want to tell you how excited I still am about The 70273 Project. It has attracted more big-heated, compassionate, caring people than I ever dared dream exist.
The Me Me: Oh my goodness, isn’t that the truth?
The Boss Me: Please don’t interrupt. I get enough of that at home.
The Me Me: Tell me about it. I mean, Yes ma’am.

then things turned rather quickly . . .

The Boss Me: I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that you’ve been absent far too many days.
The Me Me: I know. Things have been pretty busy since last November, what with company, holidays, illnesses, family needs and issues, Nancy, my computer meltdown, moving our daughter, our family business, travel – hey, I have done some traveling for The 70273 Project – but yeah, you’re right: I’ve been out waaayyy too much. The work is portable, but when I travel, there are people who need or want to see me, and then I get tired and have to go to bed at a reasonable hour like other people because I just can’t pull all-nighters any more and have the brain to put words together to tell about it the next day.
The Boss Me: I’m glad you see it, too. I appreciate that, and I know your life is full – everybody’s is, but we’re talking about you right now.

The Boss Me: You are more weeks behind on your recaps than I can count.
The Me Me: Yes ma’am [because you can never go wrong with good manners]. I would like to point out, though, if I may, that I can’t update the block count when I’m not home to receive the mail, and several weeks ago, my computer had a meltdown, and I lost a lot of project information. I first had to figure out what information was missing (and let me tell you how much fun that was), then I had to set about recreating what was missing.
The Boss Me: And what’s the status of that?
The Me Me: I’m still working on the recreating part. Like most everything I do (or want and need to do), it takes rather large blocks of uninterrupted time . . . something that is nigh near impossible to come by.

The Boss Me: Yes, well, I see that you’re also woefully behind on sending out thank you notes, penning blog posts, creating quilt labels, getting bundles together, completing the web site makeover, and a host of other things. What have you to say about that?
The Me Me: Guilty as charged, and embarrassed more than I can tell you.

The Boss Me: Before I go any further, I’d like to slip on my Enlightened Leader Hat and ask if you’d like to say anything.
The Me Me: Thank you for this opportunity. I, too, am incredibly embarrassed by and weighted down by the unspoken apology of my performance of late. You should see what kind of leader I am on the inside. I’m on time, I’m fun, I’m cheerful and supportive and encouraging. I create automatic responders to emails when I’m going to be out of town; I pen a queue of blog posts that  go out even when I’m not here to mash the publish button; and I never miss a weekly update. I have so many ideas, and I reveal them regularly with complete, easy-to-follow guidelines and instructions. I marvel people with my enthusiasm and attentiveness. My deep gratitude to all who help commemorate to shine through in the way I conduct myself and communicate and lead. On the inside, I am the poster girl for servant leadership. I like that Me the best of all – I want to be her, and I hereby vow to do that.

The Boss Me: I don’t think of anything I can add to that, except to ask when you think you might get started becoming That Kickass Jeanne?
The Me Me: I start tomorrow. Now I have to tell you that it’s unreasonable to think I could promise to be caught up by the end of this week, especially since I fly out on Thursday to celebrate Calder Ray’s first birthday, and I still have all the other responsibilities in the circle called Jeanne’s Life, but I can at least get started tomorrow.

The Boss Me: Okay then. I think our work here is done. I look forward to tomorrow – the first day of becoming That Kickass Jeanne.
The Me Me: Me, too, Sugar. Me, too. Now may I please be excused ’cause That Kickass Jeanne likes to get started on things early, and she has an awful full to do list. (And her bedtime is right around the corner.)


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.

Why I Catalogue Every Single Block

Block 1600 made by a student who attends the day program with Nancy

Block 1600
made by a student who attends the day program
with Nancy

You mean to tell me that you’re cataloguing every? single? block? you ask.

Yep, that’s right. I catalogue every single block that is created for The 70273 Project. Everything you put on the Provenance Form and lots, lots more goes into the catalogue entry for each and every block. Even though it would be easier if I didn’t. Even though I would have more time if I didn’t. Even though my dropbox wouldn’t be bulging and costing me extra money if I didn’t. To do all the things I’m about to tell you about (and more that I’ll tell you about as we go along), I need the information on the Provenance Form along with the dimensions and a photo or scanned image of each and every block.  With other countries stepping forward with blocks (Bonjour, France! Hello, New Zealand! Welcome, Morocco and Belgium! Greetings, Canada! Glad you’re here, Columbia! G’day, Australia. How do, United Kingdom! Welcome, y’all. We’re all glad you’re here.) it gets more and more costly to mail blocks to me then to Piecers then to Quilters and back to me. So we’re  busy setting up Gatherers in these continents and countries and asking that Makers and/or Gatherers (whichever they decide or whoever might happen along and volunteer) help me out by emailing scanned images of photos of each block along with the dimensions, so I can add them to our block count and assign them block numbers, which the Gatherers will attach to each block just like I do here. From there, blocks will go to Piecers and Quilters per usual and the Provenance Forms will come back to me with the finished quilts.

So why bother?, you ask. Why can’t you just count them then send them on to be pieced into tops and made into quilts? I’m glad you asked. I’ll tell you . . .

In terms of “right now”, cataloguing each block individually gives me a current block count, which I share with you, dear readers, every Sunday in the Week in Review post. We always know where we stand and are assured that we’re moving forward. (There hasn’t been a single week in the past 6 months that I haven’t received new blocks for The 70273 Project. Thank y’all for that.)




If I didn’t catalogue the blocks, how could I tell you, for example, that Debra Baker Steinmann made these evocative blocks from her mother’s old linens. Writes Debra, “She fought depression for much of her life and would be pleased where these are headed.”

Yes, I keep more than just contact information and block numbers, I keep stories, too. I promise to  tell you about my collecting and filing system one day cause I know there are other systems lovers out there, and besides that, you might very well know something I don’t know that could make my cataloguing life easier.


I also refer back to the information – especially the scanned image and sizing information – when checking, double checking, triple checking information before bundles of blocks head out to our Piecers. (Hold that thought. I’ll tell you more about the bundling process soon.) (Maybe tomorrow, depending on what Calder Ray wants to do.) (He’s my 3 month old grandson. Wait. I forgot to say “adorable.” He’s my adorable 3-month old grandson.  I’m babysitting him this week and next, and as you might imagine, he’s clearly the director of this show, and he may not want to write another blog post tomorrow. We’ll see.)

Soon enough, I’m gonna’ get around to penning some technique posts showing you how different people are making those two red X’s. Photos of and information about the blocks will come in mighty handy for that (and mean that I don’t have to re-create them all by myself.)

It’s also handy to keep track of how many different people have participated in The 70273 Project, how many countries and continents are represented, how many families, schools, organizations are taking part. Information like that is not only interesting and inspiring for us, but sponsors find it interesting, too, and MJ Kinman and I are working on applying for some grants and sponsorships to defray the costs of The 70273 Project. Stay tuned (not tomorrow or next week, even, but soon) for a list of expenses. Postage, you know about, but there are many other expenses you may not have thought of. So if you can think of anybody who might like to be a sponsor or where we might apply for a grant, please let me know.

And the label for each quilt is a sketch of the quilt top showing the block placement and each block’s number, along with a legend giving the name of the Piecer, the Quilter, and each Maker with the identifying block number.

But that’s not all . . .

Down the road,  this information is gonna’ come in mighty handy to do the things that are on My List, things I think you’re gonna’ really enjoy and be proud of – things I can’t tell you about right now because I need to lay a little bit more foundation for them and besides, I don’t want to tell you everything at once. I like to surprise you every now and then. I can, however, tell you this:  part of my vision is to have an online database where y’all, as  members of The 70273 Project Tribe (and even folks who aren’t part of The 70273 Project Tribe, but we’re talking about y’all right now) can come to find your name, your block numbers, which quilts your blocks are in, and from there, where in the world those quilts are  on any given day.

Why on earth do such a tedious, time-consuming thing, you ask? (My goodness, you’re just full of questions today!)

Because it is my deepest, most fervent hope that The 70273 Project is important enough to you, Dear Makers, Piecers, Quilters, Donors, and Sponsors, that years – maybe even decades – from now, you’ll want to take your children or grandchildren or great grandchildren or nieces and nephews to see these quilts. With my whole body, I imagine you standing there, looking, looking, looking to find the block you made with your own two hands and how proud you feel and how proud your family feels knowing that you had a part in commemorating these 70,273 people, in making sure they aren’t forgotten, of doing your part to make sure such an atrocity as the T4 program never, ever happens again. To the deepest part of my bones, I imagine your quiet satisfaction knowing that you, with a piece of cloth and your own two hands, stand shoulder to shoulder with people from all around the world to take a stand against discrimination against disabilities and those who are different.


And those, my friends, are just a few of the reasons I ask for all sorts of information, photos, sizes and catalogue each and every block.  Have more questions? Just holler . . .
Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).
Join the Facebook group, our e-campfire, where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.
Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.
Follow the pinterest board for visual information.
Post using #the70273project on Instagram.
And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.


Part 1, Take Readers to Work
Part 2, Take Readers to Work
Part 3, Take Readers to Work
Part 4, Take Readers to Work

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