The 70273 Project

with a side of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

Tag: 70273 Durham Cathedral

Quilt 241

A large quilt with a white background covered with pairs of red X's is shown on the floor in a living room of someone who lives in the U.K.

Photo by Margaret Jackson

Meet The 70273 Project Quilt 241 that will soon hang in Durham Cathedral in observance of Holocaust Memorial Day. Though I can’t tell you the exact dimensions, I think you can tell that she’s a girl of sizable proportions.

395 people are commemorated in Quilt 241, and these are the people who made the blocks:
Julie Lovatt (Coxhoe, Durham, U.K.) (She commemorated 168 people in this amazing quilt!)
Painting for Pleasure Art Group (Trimdon, Durham, U.K.)
Ann Hewitt (Ferryhill, Durham, U.K.)
Emmajayne Saunders (County Durham, U.K.)
Marjorie Collins (County Durham, U.K.)
Mary Robinson (County Durham,U.K.)
Pauline Marr (County Durham, U.K.)
Lesley Snell (Kelloe, Durham, U.K.)
Alex Storey (County Durham, U.K.)
Matthew Storey (County Durham, U.K.)
Marcus Storey (County Durham, U.K.)
Margaret Jackson (Coxhoe, Durham, U.K.)
Valerie Collins (County Durham, U.K.)
C McLean (County Durham,U.K.)
Jenna Wilson (County Durham, U.K.)
Beryl (County Durham, U.K.)

Quilt 241 was Pieced, Quilted, and Finished by Margaret Jackson.

The Engineer and I will be headed across The Pond soon, and I am beyond excited at the prospect of seeing these quilts and meeting the people who made them. I’ll be able to spot the Makers in even the most crowded room because they’ll be the ones wearing bandages on their sore-from-stitching fingertips!

Thank you, Coxhoe Quilters and Neighbors, for your dedication in making sure the 70,273 people are not forgotten and that they did not die in vain as they help us celebrate the perfectly imperfect who live today.

You can read more about The Coxhoe Quilters here and here,

And if you’d like to make a quilt by yourself or with your group (think family, guild, club, school, colleagues, etc.), you can find more about that here. Or if you’re more inclined to make a Middling (fat-quarter sized art quilt), head this way. If a fabric postcard is more to your liking, go right over here and find out more about that. And of course we still accept blocks, if that’s what interests you. However you decide to participate and help us commemorate the 70,273 people who deserved to live, thank you.

Preparing Quilts for Durham Cathedral

quilts made of white bases covered with pairs of red X's are draped over chairs and tables at Coxhoe Village Hall in the U.K.

Quilts are being made to  hang in Rochester Cathedral from January 19 to March 12, 2018, and in another part of the U.K., quilts are being made to hang in Durham Cathedral from January 25 to 29, 2018.

white quilts of all sizes adorned with pairs of red X's are draped over chairs and tables at Coxhoe Village Hall in the U.K.

The ladies of Coxhoe quilters have been stitching and educating local students for a year, and last week they decided to take stock to see what still needs to be done, so all the quilts made locally were taken into Coxhoe Village Hall and draped from the stage and over chairs and tables. “What an amazing sight it was to see all those quilts together in one space,” writes Margaret Jackson, a U.K. Ambassador for The 70273 Project. “The expression on Chrissie Fitzgerald’s face said it all – if only I’d had a camera ready to record it!”

Margaret reports that they have most of the piecing, quilting, and finishing done now, but still have about four bundles of blocks to put together. Various members of the Coxhoe Quilters took a bundle so the quilts could be ready when it’s time to deliver the quilts to the cathedral. “Coxhoe quilters is a small group,” says Margaret, “and many of the members are relatively new to quilting, but they have pulled out all the stop to ensure Durham’s contribution to The 70273 Project is a beautiful success.”

quilts of all sizes, each with a white base adorned with pairs of red X's are draped over chairs and tables at Coxhoe Village Hall in the U.K.

The biggest challenge is the largest of the quilts comprised of 395 blocks and measuring 16 feet by 8 feet. It was made in nine smaller sections which have been joined into three rows of three sections each – something that will be done when the Coxhoe Quilters gather at the Village Hall on January 8. “We’re taking sandwiches,” Margaret says with a chuckle, “because it will be a BIG job.” There will no doubt be cakes, too, as Eva is very good at keeping her fellow quilters sustained.

“We are still flabbergasted by the response we have had,” says Margaret. “Everybody has been so generous. It is amazing how The 70273 Project draws in people who are committed to compassion and kindness.”

Two members of the Coxhoe Quilters deserve a special mention here: Marjorie Collins has contributed almost 200 blocks, and Julie Lovatt (Margaret’s hairdresser) has contributed over 150 blocks.

whit3e quilts embellished with pairs of red X's are draped over chairs and tables in the Coxhoe Village Hall in the U.K.

“Everything is going to plan,” Margaret says with confidence. “What an amazing sight it will be in the magnificent Durham Cathedral which has stood in Durham since AD 996. A fitting place to commemorate some of the 70,273 lives cut short.”

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Marjorie, Julie, Chrissie, Mary, Margaret, and many other Coxhoe Quilters have commemorated many of those we honor. Please share these posts because you never know who’ll see it and want to become a part of The 70273 Project and go see the quilts at either Rochester Cathedral or Durham Cathedral – such is the magic of social media. I have over 7000 blocks waiting to be pieced and quilted. Interested? Let me know.

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,

 Chrissy

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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,

Jeanne

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

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