Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Tag: 70273 blocks (page 1 of 2)

Inside Envelope 215: A Story from Rosalie Roberts

Block 6230 Made by Rosalie Roberts 9.5″ x 12.5″

Dear Jeanne,

As I watched the World Series this year, I was really enjoying the challenge of the two teams that had not been to the Series for so long and how the teams had struggled and worked so hard against big odds again to get to that stage. As I have loved the World Series since I was young, I watched each game and most of the pre-game broadcasts to learn more bits of info that I would love to have in my not-so-important storage bin in the back of my brain. Sports is a big addiction for me.

One story caught my attention. One thing you might remember: I have sent in a few blocks in memory of my Aunt Ila Rae Yost. She was born with Spina Bifida. She had a growth in the middle of her back about 3 inches across and one inch thick. It was at her waist level. She was able to walk but with a limp and did not progress in school very well. It was at a time when they did not allow “such people” to go to school. So Grandpa hired a school teacher that lived with them. Eventually, when my grandparents got older, she was put in a school in Idaho and then later into a nursing home in Utah.

In this story relating to the Series . . . the second baseman, Javier Baez for the Chicago Cubs’ sister Noely Baez was eleven months younger than he. She was born with Spina Bifida. They were very good friends growing up, and he took good care of her and played with her a lot. In her case, she was paralyzed from there waist down and was in a wheelchair most of her life. A very beautiful young girl. They looked fun together and with their Mom and Dad. Noel was 21 years old when she died in April 2015. I would like to send this block in her memory. This was very touching to me and close to my heart as I grew up with this. My Aunt Ila Rae was 10 years older than I. We were friends and playmates for a long time and then I outgrew her development level but never my love and concern for her.



Thank you for introducing us to Aunt Ila Rae Yost. Sounds like you were lucky to have her in your life, and vice versa.  ~ Jeanne

Here’s the short link, all ready to copy and paste should you want to share this post:

Story Time: Block #3771

Block #3771 Made by Margaret Williams

These X’s are made from the seams of a sweatshirt worn by my best friend’s father. He died a few years ago, and I was making a quilt for her mama from his clothing. Mr. Evans was a huge World War II history buff, and he would’ve loved this project.

Do your blocks have a story? Please share.



A Letter from Christine Fitzgerald: Learning from Children

Coxhoe Quilters’ stall for The 70273 Project at Durham Cathedral. Photo by Chrissy Fitzgerald

Dear Jeanne,

As you know, Coxhoe quilt group worked with schoolchildren on Friday 27th January, Holocaust Memorial day, as part of a series of workshops. Three sessions later in the morning and we had a huge pile of blocks made. I must admit I was a little apprehensive about how it would go, and wondered if it was too big an ask to invite the pupils to sew blocks, rather than simply draw with fabric pens, which would have been quicker and easier.

Photo by Chrissy Fitzgerald

How wrong I was. The pupils listened to the excellent talk given by the museum’s fantastic, helpful education team and then when invited to start sewing, simply picked up the materials without hesitation and got stuck in willingly. Seeing the look of concentration on their faces – it was obvious that most of them were unfamiliar with basic techniques – brought a huge lump to my throat,and as another member of our quilt group mentioned, “goosebumps”. The stitches were huge, knots and the technique of threading needles were struggled with, and those who stitched with the squares in their laps were in imminent danger of stitching their clothing along with the blocks.

The material puckered, and I mentioned afterwards to the group that we could “straighten it out”. No, the answer came – leave it as it is: it is their work and we can work the feature into the quilting and piecing afterwards. How right they were; short of securing anything about to fall off, the quality of the work has a beauty to it beyond the finest workmanship.

It was a lesson to me in a number of ways: setting out to help teach on the day, I ended up learning more than I taught from these children. The way they willingly assisted, even though it was clearly out of their comfort zone: the persistance and diligence as they sended the scale and importance of what they were doing: and the value of standing back – except when asked to assist – and allowing the pupils to explore and create without “jumping in” the whole time and correcting. The unique visual impact that was the result of their creations, and is waiting to come together as quilts, is something the group is very excited and honoured to participate in.

The effort put in by everyone on the day to make this a success was overwhelming, and I feel honoured to be working with so many good, lovely, generous people.

As I contemplated the day’s victory over my control freak tendancies, I had a random memory from childhood: running up to my (Irish) mother and auntie, with two knitting needles stuck into what I now realise was just a huge tangle of wool. “LOOK!” I bellowed, “I’m KNITTING!”. My mother and auntie paused in their gossiping session and calmly regarded my, um, attempts. Auntie Pauline switched on her trademark full-beam twinkly smile and delivered her verdict.

Good girl yerself, she said.

I hope to make blocks with many other people this year, and will be taking a hint from that memory; the blocks will be their own creations, and I will help, but will be embracing the full spectrum of the beauty of creative work from all, and simply enjoying the moment.

With very best wishes from the UK,



Dear Chrissy,

The best teachers learn from their students. Thank you for sharing this day with us and for all you and the other Coxhoe Quilters are doing there. May we all be willing to let our child self come out to play more often.

Thank you,



Children of all ages are cordially invited to help commemorate these 70,273 souls by  making blocks and participating in The 70273 Project.

There’s Gonna’ be a Stitch-In in Harrisonville, Missouri on 1/28/2017!

Hosted by The 70273 Project Ambassador, Denniele Bohannon of Louanna Mary Quilt Design,  there will be a block-making party for The 70273 Project in Harrisonville, Missouri on Saturday, 1/28/2017. Drop by Pearson Hall any time between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and make a few blocks.

Do you have to know you way around a needle and thread to make blocks? “Absolutely not,” says Denniele, “If you are a stitcher, bring your machine, white and red fabric, and join us. You might want to precut your background blocks, though you’re welcome to cut them when you arrive. If you are not a stitcher, we have blocks you can create without any sewing at all.”

Men, women, boys, and girls – people of all ages – are welcome to stop by and commemorate one (or more) of the 70,273 people who were murdered for being imperfect. And 70273 Ambassador, Lori East, from Carthage, Missouri, will be there, ready to stitch the blocks you make into a quilt top – maybe even more than one top – so you’ll enjoy instant gratification as you see your blocks join other blocks in paying tribute to people we’ll never know yet refuse to forget.

“70,273 blocks is a huge undertaking but how can we not participate? There are groups all around the world sewing, painting, drawing, embroidering blocks to commemorate each life lost. Harrisonville, Missouri, it is our turn to help.,” says organizer Denniele.

Thank you, residents of and visitors to Harrisonville, Missouri, for spending your Saturday morning standing seam-to-seam with others to pay tribute to people who might otherwise be forgotten. And thank you, Denniele, for organizing this and holding the space for this goodness to happen.

I want photos. Promise me photos.

Using Inks and Glues and Fusibles

Waiting in the doctor’s office gives a Mom plenty of time to stitch. I set out to make a block a day in 2017, but most days – even non-waiting room days – have been Lay’s Potato Chip Days when I couldn’t make just one block.

I have 28 blocks to show for the first 12 days of January . . . and none of them will up our block count. Why? Because these blocks for The 70273 Project (and more still to come) will be used to replace blocks that have already been counted and now need to be replaced because the ink used to draw the X’s has changed from red to purple and orange.

So I thought we’d talk a bit today about which markers to use when you’re drawing the X’s. The only markers I’ve used are Sharpies, and they have been good. I only used them at a World War II event last spring when there simply wasn’t time or space for people to sew. I had red Sharpies available in all tip widths, and there was no halo effect, and the color hasn’t faded. (Of course it hasn’t been a year yet.) I read on an art group forum that Posco pens perform well, too. Sharpies are easy to find in office supply stores, craft stores, and discount stores. Or, feel free to click on the item(s) of your choice below to shop from The 70273 Project Smile.Amazon Shop. It doesn’t cost you a penny more,  and a tiny portion of your purchase price go in our coffers.
Big Chunky Chisel Top Markers, Red, Package of 12
Fine Point, Red, Package of 12

On the Don’t Use List are IdentiPens which are reported to have faded drastically, despite the quilt being displayed in a dark room.

At Thomaston last Monday, we glued the X’s down because that was more time efficient and because arthritic hands can often glue when they can’t stitch. I’ve auditioned several brands, looking for glues that are easily spread and remain flexible when dry. The glues that make my A List are:
Dritz Liquid Stitch (bottle)
Dritz Liquid Stitch (tube)
Aleene’s Permanent Fabric Glue
Aleene’s OK To Wash It Glue
Aleene’s Fabric Fusion.
You can easily find these in craft and fabric stores, or you can click on the links presented here or in the sidebar, order from Smile.Amazon, and support The 70273 Project.

You might also want to fuse your red X’s to the base. If so, I recommend Steam-A-Seam 2. It can be purchased as follows, according to what size you want your X’s to be:
1/4″ x 40 yard roll
1/2″ x 20 yard roll
9″ x 12″ sheets / 5 sheets to a package

When making blocks, keep in mind that these quilts will be traveling the world for decades to come – repeatedly being folded and unfolded – and attach the red X’s in ways that have staying power. And hey, thanks for continuing to make blocks and commemorate The 70273.

Blocks Were Made in Thomaston, Georgia Today

Months ago, my cousin Mary invited me
to tell her women’s group about The 70273 Project
and help them make blocks,
and today, that’s just what I did.

A huge number to be sure.
A huge number that causes eyes to glaze over
as people struggle to find something . . .
anything . . .
relatable and understandable.

70,273 perfectly imperfect people
murdered, sight unseen.
It’s sobering, unfathomable, incomprehensible. . . .
especially when someone mentions a friend, then a grandson
who would’ve definitely received two red X’s
were we living in another time.

There is the teensiest bit of nervousness
as is inevitable for people who don’t make things every day.
But quick as a snap,
stories are flying,
memories are bubbling up,
plans are being made to gather and make more blocks
. . . maybe even an entire quilt.

Twenty-four more people are commemorated.

It is a good day.

An Adventure for September 2016: Let’s Collaborate

Block1332NancyChambersJHC6.5x9.5 copyA collaboration block
made by Nancy Chambers and Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

Beginning September 2016, I’ll be releasing themes (most will be revealed 10-14 days prior to the starting line) for The 70273 Project – challenges,  as quilters call them (at least here in the States) – Adventures, we’re gonna’ call them. Because we’re spread all over the world, most adventures will spread out over 2 months. Some will be 3. Some might run the course of a single month. You just never know.

To kick things off, I thought we’d do some collaborating.

You – anybody who wants to participate (and you need never have made a block for The 70273 Project before now. This can be how you become part of The 70273 Project.) – and me.

We’ll create a block together. The quilt label will reflect both names, and these blocks will go into their own quilt(s).

September 1 – September 30, 2016. As in you can start making the starter blocks on 9/1/2016, and all blocks being sent to me must be postmarked by 9/30/2016 10/31/2016.

Me, I have until the first anniversary (2/14/2017) to finish the collaborations because I’m optimistic and  hoping for an enthusiastically overwhelming response from y’all.

You are the Originator.
I am the Collaborator.
As the Originator, you cut out a base in the size of your choice, lay down one red X in the technique of your choice, complete and sign a Provenance Form, then mail the form and the block base(s) to me. I lay down the second red X in the technique of my choice, and we have ourselves a block for The 70273 Project and a collaboration. A partnership. A duet. And most importantly: another person commemorated.

Each Originator can send me up to 50 blocks.
For those of you who commit to make a certain number of blocks by our next incremental milestone of 12/31/2016 set by Kitty Sorgen, you get 1/2 credit for each block you send as an Originator. Soon enough I’ll be calling for commitments in the Facebook group.

And there you have it – our first Adventure in The 70273 Project. Questions? Ask me here in the comments, send me an email (see envelope icon in upper right-hand sidebar), send me a message on Facebook, post in the Facebook group, post on the Facebook page.

Keep me busy, y’all.



I told you about the Facebook group and page, here are other places of interest for happenings in The 70273 Project:
to the blog so you don’t miss anything. (There’s a lot going on and a lot coming up, let me tell you.)
Follow the Pinterest board.

What’s Behind the Design of the Quilt Blocks

LucyIlesHorner(blocks created by Lucy Iles Horner)

The Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Diseases oversaw the preparation of a registration form designed to elicit the information it regarded useful in determining which persons were “worthy of help” and which were “useless lives” and thus candidates for “final medical assistance.”

Thousands of copies were printed and distributed to long-term hospitals, sanitariums, and asylums. A cover letter from Dr. Leonardo Conti, chancellor of sanitariums and nursing homes, directed attending physicians to complete the forms immediately and return by January 1, 1940. The purpose of the form was explained as “the necessity for a systematized economic plan for hospitals and nursing institutions.”


To the Head of the Hospital for Mental Cases,
Or his deputy in Kaufbeuren.

With regard to the necessity for a systemized economic plan for hospitals and nursing institutions, I request that you complete the attached registration forms immediately in accordance with the attached instruction leaflet and return them to me. If you yourself are not a doctor, the registration forms for the individual patients are to be completed by the supervising doctor. The completion of the questionnaire is, if possible, to be done on a typewriter. In the column “Diagnosis” I request a statement, as exact as possible, as well as a short description of the condition, if feasible.

In order to expedite the work, the registration forms for the individual patients can be dispatched here in several parts. The last consignment, however, must arrive in any case at this ministry at the latest by 1 January 1940. I reserve for myself the right, should occasion arise, to institute further official inquires on the spot, through my representative.

Per proxy: Dr. Conti


To be noted in completing questionnaire:

All patients are to be reported who –

1. Suffer from the following maladies and can only be employed on work of a mechanical character, such as sweeping, etc., at the institution:
Epilepsy (if not organic, state war service injury or other cause),
Senile maladies,
Paralysis and other syphilitic disabilities refractory to therapy, Imbecility, however caused,
Huntington’s chorea and other chronic diseases of the nervous system; or

2. Have been continuously confined in institutions for at least five years, or

3. Are in custody as criminally insane, or

4. Are not Germany citizens or not of German or unrelated stock according to their records of race and nationally.

The separate questionnaires to be completed for each patient must be given consecutive numbers.
Answers should be typewritten if possible.
Latest date for return:


Diagnosis should be as precise as possible. In the case of traumatically induced conditions, the nature of the trauma in question, e.g., war wounds or accidents at work, must be indicated.

Under the heading “exact description of employment” the work actually done by the patients in the institution is to be stated. If a patient’s work is described as “good” or “very good” reasons must be given why his release has not been considered. If patients on the higher categories of diet, etc., do no work, though they are physically capable of employment, the fact must be specially noted.

The names of patients brought to the institution from evacuation areas are to be followed by the letter (V).

If the number of Forms I sent herewith does not suffice, the additional number required should be demanded.

Forms are also to be completed for patients arriving at the institution after the latest date for return, in which case all such forms are to be sent in together exactly one month after the date in question, in every year.

[DOC 825.]

Registration Form 1
To be Typewritten
Current No.

Name of the institutions:


Surname and Christian name of the patient:

At Birth:

Date of Birth:



Later place of residence:


Unmarried, married, widow, widower, divorced:



Previous profession:


Army service when? 1914-18 or from 1/9/39

War injury (even if no connection with mental disorder): Yes/No

How does war injury show itself and of what does it consist?

Address of next of kin:

Regular visits and by whom (address):

Guardian or nurse (name, address):

Responsible for payment:

Since when in institution:

Whence and when handed over:

Since when ill:

If has been in other institutions, where and how long:

Twin? Yes/No

Blood relations of unsound mind:


Clinical description (previous history, course, condition: in any case ample data regarding mental conditions):

Very restless? Yes/No

Bedridden? Yes/No

Incurable physical illness? Yes/No

Schizophrenia: Fresh attack:

Final condition:

Good recovery:

Mental debility:

Epilepsy: Psychological alteration:
Average frequency of the attacks:

Therapeutics (insulin, cardiazol, malaria, permanent result Salvarsan, etc., when?) Yes/No

Admitted by reason of par. 51, par. 42b German Penal Code, etc., through:


Former punishable offenses:

Manner of employment (detailed description of work):

Permanent/temporary employment, independent worker? Yes/No

Value of work (if possible compared with average performance of healthy person)

This space to be left blank





The Aktion T4 was conjured, administered, and maintained by a small number of physicians. To prevent resistance, secrecy was of utmost importance, and the penalty for leaking information about Aktion T4 was death.

Military information was requested because leaders of Aktion T4 felt strongly that veterans should be exempt from the program . . .  not in appreciation for their military service, but because of their belief that military morale would plummet were word to ever get out that veterans who were disabled as a result of their military service were  murdered because of the loss of limbs or sanity. Turns out they were right to fear retaliation. When news that amputees and shell-shocked veterans of World War I were being murdered, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel complained to Hitler, and in the way of the major furor that ensued, murders of veterans ceased.

It was unclear – especially at the time these forms were sent out – how the information requested on this form was to be used. A commonly heard rumor held that the state was looking for additional laborers and planned to take people from the institutions and put them to work. Based on this rumor, some physicians exaggerated the condition of their patients in hopes of avoiding work recruitment and instead keeping them in the institution that could provide the care they needed. What they actually did, as we now know, was seal the fate of their patients.

With information gleaned from these forms, the 10-15 assessing physicians ran what was little more than a kangaroo court. Without benefit of law or precedent, the assessing doctors decided who would live and who would die. Two red X’s at the bottom of a patient’s form was a sure and swift death sentence.

Notice anything missing from the process? Besides the elements of compassion and humanity, I mean. The assessing physicians did not solicit further information from the attending physicians, from loved ones, or from the patient. They were only required to read the forms and make an evaluation on what they read. Words on paper. That’s all that was required to determine who lives and who dies. It’s unthinkable, unfathomable, isn’t it?

The base of our quilt blocks is white (to represent the paper, the forms) bearing  two red X’s (representing the death sentence).


i’ve begun digging into research about the Aktion T4 – the euthanasia program through which the 70,273 physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled people we commemorate in The 70273 Program were murdered – and I’ve decided that I’m not willing to wait the eons it might very well take me to complete my research and pull it together in term paper form, so I’ll be sharing bits and pieces here on the blog as we go along, even as I continue to dig around for information in the background. (Who wants to read a term paper anyway, right?) I’ll categorize the information, and I’m sure some organizational structure will appear eventually. For now, though, bitesize bits and pieces.

Stay in the know:
Subscribe to the blog
Join the Facebook group
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Become a part of The 70273 Project:
Make blocks


Information about the assessment form gleaned from transcripts from the Nuremberg trials

What I Found Inside Envelope 20


Little Luna, I call her, and I adore her. She’s the teenage daughter of a woman I love – a woman I call Moonglow – and these are her blocks. Little Luna’s, I mean. She shopped for her fabric at thrift stores, and she texted me messages and photos throughout the morning, taking me shopping with her.  Here, in her own good words, is what she told me about making them . . .


Sometimes we forget that terrible things are done. When my mom told me about this project, I immediately wanted to conribute. I believe in this, I believe that no one should die by 2 “x”s on a piece of paper. We all have a right to life, even the imperfect and the youngest among us can teach and give to the world. No one should be able to take that from us!


What happened to these people was a monstrocity! The very fact that they just looked at a piece of paper and never looked in the eyes of the person they were sentencing to death shows their lack of humanity. I am infuriated by this. Someone thought “This child can not have a future. XX.”!!!


I chose to cut up soft worn fabric from donated clothes. The fabric was part of someone’s story. The “X’s” could have been an unseen hand ending that tale. Thank you, Miss Jeanne, for letting me help, and for reminding the world that everyone has a story and needs to be seen and honored.

Little Luna



Mail Call for The 70273 Project


Getting heavily-decorated mail tickles me,
The Engineer, and our local post mistresses.
Tickles a lot of other folks along the way, too,  I’m guessing.


A flock of beautiful blue birds
brought this package from Australia,
a box filled with – count them –  160 blocks.
Thank you, Glenda Williams!



Beautiful flowers adorn another envelope from Susan Getchell in Florida.


Lee Durbin sent another envelope of blocks,
this one decorated in patriotism, and it sparked
the idea to make five blocks a day over Memorial Day weekend
(which I did and well tell you about soon)
as a way of remembering and appreciating
those who died to prevent atrocities
like the one that murdered the 70273 people
we commemorate with The 70273 Project.


Just seeing Kitty Sorgen’s name on the return address label
makes me smile, so when I turn it over to see this,
it’s like getting a bonus.EnvelopeJewelryJohansen1cropped

Orderly, well-dressed felines
brought this envelope from Marie Johansen.


And this one from Tina Davis was just plain fun.
Included in her envelope was a piece of fabric
and a request for me to sign it
and become part of her signature quilt.


Sometimes I open envelopes to find jewelry on the inside –
like this uplifting note from Susan Guild


and this one from Samantha Kendig


and this exciting news from MJ Kinman.


Then there’s this creative postcard
from the talented one known as Della Monk.
It really doesn’t have any relation to The 70273 Project,
but it’s so much fun, there’s no way I could leave it out.

No matter how your blocks get to me,
I thank y’all for being part of
The 70273 Project
and making it such an enjoyable
and worthwhile endeavor.

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