Tag: 70273 techniques

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.

An Unexpected Benefit


Maybe I should have thought of it, and maybe I would have thought of it had I not launched three weeks after the idea struck. Initially The 70273 Project was a way to commemorate the lives of the 70,273 disabled people who were murdered at the hands of German Nazis in the early 1940s, and in the first two weeks it expanded into raising awareness of the disabled people who walk among us today, focusing not on their less than traits and abilities, but on how much they enrich and enhance our lives. So many people are stitching blocks and telling me stories about loved ones or friends who have disabilities. May it never stop – I can’t tell you how much I cherish those stories.



Susan Graham told me of students she taught once upon a year, the memories of their specialness  – not special needs ’cause, shoot, we all have those – but the way they took over a piece of her heart and still lay claim to it many years later. She wanted to put their names on her blocks, and together we figured out a way to make her former students a part of the project without compromising my vision of the quilts with no names, no words to get in the way of commemorating the 70,273 souls.



How? She made the blocks, then, using a red fabric marker, she wrote their names – one name per block and first name only – behind one of the X’s where it’s there but doesn’t show.

Another idea, should you long to make a loved one a lasting part of this project, is to stitch the names down on the white base, then lay down the two red X’s over it so that it’s completely covered.  If you’ve other ideas, do tell. All I ask is that the name not be visible from the front.



And that you keep making blocks.

And sharing those stories.

And spreading the word and finding ways to get more people involved.


Ways to stay in the know (I don’t post the same things everywhere.):

The 70273 Project Facebook page

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers on Facebook

Pinterest board

Free subscription

Talking Points for Speaking to Groups About The 70273 Project


So many of you – I’m thinking about you, Pam Yates, Ann Grasso, Tanya Weising-Pike –  are talking up The 70273 Project to your quilt guilds, your church groups, your hobby clubs, art and history teachers, special ed classes – spreading the word and even providing the materials for folks to make blocks on the spot. Cass Hale is hosting a block-making party, open house style. Laurie Dunn and Pam Yates are getting their entire families involved. Others (think Lori East and Hilke Kurzke) are having me over for a guest blog post or, like Terri Belford, are interviewing me for a podcast. Then there’s Kimberly Brock who’s invited me to chat at her Tinderbox Writers’ Workshop one day next week.

I know there are many others I don’t know about, so please  let me know cause I want to give you and your block makers some love here on the blog and in other e-spots like Facebook and Twitter if you’re buzzing around out in the community on behalf of The 70273 Project, will ya’?

This is a project with only a few rules, but the few rules are there for a reason and quite really VERY important, so since y’all are stepping out, I thought it might be helpful if I put together a shiny new When You Speak to Groups Handbook When You Speak to Groups Handbook so you don’t have to worry about missing the few key points  when you’re standing up in front of a group. We’ll talk about it here in this post, but there’s even more info in the Handbook, so do be sure to  download, print, and pack it.


~ There are flyers available to download and print.
~ You can download and print info cards on paper that’s perforated for business card printing.
~ The When You Speak to Groups Handbook
~ Maybe you want to print out some photos of blocks or take blocks that you’ve made.
~ If you’re providing materials for the audience members to make blocks, you want to take:
* Provenance Forms – enough for each Maker
* White fabric, precut into the three block sizes
* Red scraps of fabric, ribbon, yarn, etc.
* Red thread and needles
* Glue (see sidebar – if you click and purchase from our site, it doesn’t cost you any more and we get a few pennies in the coffer to cover expenses)
* Wax paper for pouring some glue out because sometimes the bottles are hard to squeeze
* Toothpicks for spreading the glue
* Writing pens
* Wax paper or a vinyl tablecloth to protect working surfaces
* Paper towels (for cleaning up messes)
* Your camera
* Safety pins
* Scissors
* The Handout that’s included in the Handbook  giving the following info about where folks can keep up with what’s happening:

(from the introductory post, rewritten so you can just read if you want)

In anticipation of the new year, Jeanne Hewell-Chambers cleared her space – her physical, mental, emotional, and digital space – making way for something new, for possibility. After much pondering, journaling, and meditation, she knew what you want her 2016 to look like. She knew what she would do: she would lose weight, finish books, make 3 quilts for personal use. She made her plans and was prepared to stick to them. She felt in control of your life for the first time in I don’t know how long, and it felt good. Real good.

Then one night in mid-January, she sat stitch Nancy’s drawings (Jeanne stitches the drawings of her mentally disabled sister-in-love, Nancy) while watching a documentary on World War II with her husband and their daughter, and just like that – within a space of 4-7 minutes – out went the best laid plans, the slate was cleared, her life changed . . . 

Between January 1940 and August 1941, some 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people – men, women, teens, boys, and girls – were murdered by the Nazis. The Nazi doctors never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, they only read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed “unfit” or an “economic burden on society”, the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file, and when two of them made a red X on the page, the disabled person’s fate was sealed. Most were murdered within 1-2 hours.

On February 14, 2016, Jeanne launched The 70273 Project – a project dedicated to commemorating those 70,273 disabled, voiceless, powerless people who were so callously and casually murdered. How will they be commemorated?  By gathering 70,273 blocks of white fabric (representing innocence and the paper the doctors read), each bearing two red X’s (representing one person) then stitching them into quilts that will travel the world.

Is she crazy?  Maybe. But Jeanne’s Bones say she can’t not do this. She knows she can’t change history – can’t unring that bell – but she can – with your help – commemorate the lives of these 70,273 disabled people in this small way.

[Then tell a little bit about why and how you got involved.]

(NOTE: The Handbook contains this information in a bullet point format in case you’re one who prefers to work form an outline.)



~ The base must be white fabric (representing the paper medical records), and on the base, two red X’s are placed (representing the death sentence).
~ Blocks must be one of these sizes: 3.5″ x 6.5″ (9 cm x 16.5 cm) or 6.5″ x 9.5″ (16.5 cm x 24.2 cm) or 9.5″ x 12.5″ (24.2 cm x 31.8 cm).
~ Makers are free to unleash their creativity in creating the blocks – all I ask is that the blocks be a white base with two red X’s and be one of the sizes mentioned above.
~ Please don’t sign the blocks or place other names on the blocks – no visible writing or words . ‘Why? Because I want to keep the focus on the 70,273 souls we commemorate. The Makers’ names will appear on a label that is permanently attached to the back of the quilt, and a copy of the label will be printed on paper and exhibited near each quilt. Or the paper copies of the quilt labels might appear in notebooks that accompany the exhibit. There’s a place on the form to dedicate blocks in honor or in memory of someone in particular, and unless the maker wishes to remain anonymous, these names will be given alongside the maker’s name on labels and exhibition materials. Provided the forms are submitted and emails containing photos and bios are sent as requested, makers will also be recognized on the blog, on twitter, on facebook, and in any books that eventually come.
~ Send photos of individuals with their blocks, as well as groups as they make their blocks. (An important note about photos and names: Thank you for keeping me out of hot water by making sure you have permission to send me names and photos of block makers. If a block maker has a guardian, please have the guardian complete and sign the Provenance Form giving permission. If faces cannot be shown, perhaps you can snap and  photos of hands and blocks.


1. Download, print, complete, and use safety pints to attach The Provenance Form to the blocks. Each maker must submit a Provenance Form, and multiple blocks made by the same maker can be attached to the form. PLEASE remember this form ’cause if I get a bunch of blocks with no form, I’ll have no way of identifying who made what, and we’ll both be in the doghouse.
2. Mail blocks and page one of the form to the address given at the top of the page.
3. Email me the photos and bios (see form for details and bio kindling).


Here’s the downloadable version of the When Speaking to Groups Handbook.
Have I forgotten something? Please let me know.
Do you have experiences to share? Do tell, please.

There are all sorts of ways to stay in touch, and like I said, I don’t post the same things in all the places ’cause that would be boring, so be sure that:
~ we’re friends on Facebook
~ that you’ve liked the Facebook page
~ that you’re following the pinterest board
~ and subscribed to the blog

However you’re getting the word out, thank y’all. This is truly a grassroots effort – my favorite kind.



So You Want to Make a 70273 Block Without Sewing, Do You?


Let’s say you want to make blocks for The 70273 Project but your arthritic fingers don’t want to cooperate. What to do?

You glue.


Six days after launching,  my mother (Mother), my other mother (Mama Helen), my brother (Jerry or, as I call him, J3) and my sister-in-love (Robin) had ourselves a block party. Now here’s the thing, though they were enthusiastically eager to make a block, arthritis made it awfully hard and quite painful for Mother and Mama Helen. So what to do? Again I say, glue.

I got to work  and auditioned several glues, and found this glue and this glue and this glue work swell. (I’m not done auditioning glues, so keep an eye on the sidebar for additions) – the fabric remains flexible and it holds like nobody’s business. Which it will need to do seeing as how these quilts will be rolled, unrolled, shipped, hung, taken down, and, well, you get the picture. The two red X’s have to stay put.


The first important note: Mother and Mama Helen found the glue bottle hard to mash, so if that’s a problem for you and yours, you might want to pour some out on a piece of waxed paper and use a toothpick or popsicle stick to smear the glue to the back of the red fabric.

The second important note: If you click from the sidebar and purchase the item, The 70273 Project gets a few pennies in the coffer to help cover our costs. Thank you.

The third important note: I will be adding other items to our little Amazon shop, so check back. And hey, if you know of something we should add to our little storefront, please do let me know.

Back to making blocks . . .


Mother has decided that she’s gonna’ make 31 blocks in March, and she wants them all to be the small blocks to represent children who didn’t have a chance to grow up.


When she went to lay down the two red X’s, Robin, my sister-in-love, went quiet and said how good it felt to be a part of something bigger than herself.

This block party, by the way, is how we celebrated my birthday – a week late and there was a meal (cubed steak and mashed potatoes and a birthday cake with pink boiled icing just like my grandmother used to make me) that followed the block making activity.



Mother’s kitties, Lewis and Clark (warning: be real careful what you name baby kitties) joined in, too. And a good time was had by all.


I am absolutely thrilled to be a guest blogger over at my friend Lori East’s e-nest today. Please do go by and wave at her, and take a few minutes while you’re there to enjoy her beautiful work and words. She’s a treasure, that one.


The blocks are rolling in, and I’m cataloging them in my shiny new (well, 2 days old, but that’s new, right?) system. I’ll be posting them here, so subscribe (see below) cause you don’t want to miss a thing.


Now remember to:
like our facebook page
follow our pinterest board
and subscribe for free home delivery
and please, please, please keep making those blocks.

Blocks Stitched, Painted, and Stenciled


For her first block for The 70273 Project, Margaret Williams cut a rectangle from an old damask tablecloth then embellished it with the two red X’s.


For her next block, she attached the red fabric down with a little blanket stitch to make the two red X’s.


Then it was time to play with a little paint. Margaret used freezer paper (you can buy it in rolls at the grocery store or in 8.5×11 sheets at the craft store.) to make stencils for a couple of x’s. She’s not going to trim the blocks until she finishes the embellishing because that might draw them up.


Margaret used regular brush and foam brush edge for the other two blocks. Must be sure to put waxed paper or oil cloth tablecloth or poster board – something underneath to protect the surface you’re working on.


And just like that, in the snap of a couple of nights, Margaret has created four blocks. She’s joining me in making a block a day for the 31-day challenge for March. The daily repetition is sure to stretch our creativity and pleasantly delight us with what falls out of our hands as we generate blocks that are as different and unique as the people we commemorate. Won’t you join us and invite others to join us, too? Details coming soon, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the boat.

More Blocks in the Making & Mentions





Kitty Sorgen is stitching up a blue streak, and I love it! Yesterday you saw the blocks she stitched on her ferry commute, and today she sends snaps of her latest stitchings and writes:

“I’ve purposely pieced the white fabric on this one to represent the perceived ‘flaws’ of the murdered innocents. This one is also machine pieced….hope that’s ok. Lots of prayers being stitched into these blocks…….”

As for her question if it’s okay that she’s piecing the white fabric together, yes, it’s absolutely okay. I like that each block will be different . . . just like each of the 70273 people were individuals. That’s just the way it should be. And I love the mindfulness and love Kitty infuses into each of the blocks she makes.


Margaret Williams‘ first block is made from an old damask tablecloth. You don’t have to buy new materials to make a block (unless you just want to. Far be it from me to keep anybody out of a fabric store.). Just poke around and see what you already have on hand.

And when I posed this morning’s facebook question: “What’s gonna’ make this (or has made this, depending on where you are in the world) a day to circle on the calendar and draw stars around?”, Susan Howell Graham (we grew up together, though she – like a whole lotta other people – is younger than me) answered thusly:


I can’t wait to see Susan’s blocks. She’s been wanting to learn to quilt, you know.

Do you have blocks in the making? I’d love to see them – you can send them via email, post on my facebook timeline, or post on your facebook timeline. (Be sure to tag me so I don’t miss anything.)


“One square or 1,000, we can help make the invisible visible. We are all less able when there is hatred instead of love.” ~ Sarah Meredith

“I may even try to sew, which is an idea I never imagined I’d entertain. I don’t know much about fabric drawing either, but this is a good cause to learn on.” ~ J. Clement Wall

“Yes, yes yes! I would love to be involved and I will see who else I can get involved in this over the pond … I am also thinking about Fine Cell Work too and maybe they would get involved … Now all this is something I didn’t expect to wake up to and start buzzing about!!” ~ Lucy Iles Horner on Facebook or luxyloo11 on Instagram


Linda-Marie Davinroy Smith asked another good question on Facebook: You’ve listed 3 different sizes of blocks, do you need equal amounts of each size? Will all 3 sizes be incorporated into one quilt, or is each size being used for different sized quilts?

The answer: While we may make some quilts using blocks that are all the same size, we’ll mostly mix it up and make quilt tops using blocks of all the 3 different sizes.  “So feel free to throw us a challenge,” I told Linda-Marie, “and make some vertical blocks.”

Keep those blocks going and questions coming, y’all – keep spreading the word – and subscribe so you’ll stay in the loop. We’re not even a week out, and already there are things in the works that you don’t want to miss.

On behalf of my fingers, the 70273 souls, and the disabled folks we hold dear, thank y’all.

Presenting Block 2 of The 70273 Project

Today –  block 2 of The 70273 Project.


This is a 9.5″ x 12.5″ block.


As you can see in this closeup,
I stitched down some transparent white ribbon
stitching it down all around to prevent the edges from curling up
These quilts will be handled and transported a lot,
so a girl has to think about this kind of thing.
On top of the white ribbon, I stitched down some narrow
sparkly, festive red ribbon using a technique called couching.
Here’s a video if you prefer live recorded action.
It’s a very simple stitch. And I do mean very.


Ribbon turns a studio into a gym


if you’re a grandcat.

I’m hatching an idea about a 31-day challenge.
You know, create a block a day for 31 days.
What do you think?
It’s a surefire way to turn your creativity loose.
I just need to work out a few details in my head.
Stay tuned for more info.

On behalf of myself and the 70273 people we commemorate,
thank you for telling at least 3 people every day,
for making blocks,
and being a part of this project in whatever way(s) you choose.
Keep those good ideas and questions coming.

And before you go, don’t forget to subscribe.
We deliver to your front doorstep every morning
and we never break a window.

The 70273 Project: Fabric Info & Sizes of Blocks


Today we’re gonna’ talk about making blocks for The 70273 Project, but first . . .

Less than 24 hours after launch, response to The 70273 Project has been quite exciting. I am plum (does it have a final “b” or not, I always get confused) tickled with the positive emails, Facebook posts, tweets, and Facebook messages I’ve received from all corners of the world. Yes, we are already a worldwide project! And get this: if everybody actually makes the blocks they’ve said they would, we only need 70,000 more blocks!

People have offered to host block parties in their homes and in local senior centers, help stitch the blocks together to make quilt tops, send money, quilt, asked me to pen guest blog posts,  requested interviews, and plotted ways to host digital block parties just to give you an idea of the emails and messages I’ve received today. I declare, had today’s response been any more heartwarming, my heart would be a pile of smoldering ashes right now.

And boy oh boy have people helped get the word out, and let me tell you: that’s a tremendous help. Thank y’all so much, and please don’t stop. These 70,273 people deserve this. And now, about those blocks . . .


Pretty much any kind of fabric is okay – 100% cotton, cotton/poly blend, wool, felt – those are all okay to use for the base of the block as long as it’s white or slightly off white. I’d prefer you steer clear of upholstery fabric because it’s thicker than other fabric, making it harder to stitch. And double knit is bad to stretch, so unless it’s absolutely all you have on hand, I’d ask that you steer clear of it, too.

As you can see in this first block I made, my white fabric is actually a white-on-white, which is fine because in fabric math white + white = white.


9.5″ x 12.5″ (24.x cm x 31.8 cm)


6.5″ x 9.5″ (16.5 cm x 24.2 cm)


3.5″ x 6.5″ (9 cm x 16.5cm)


The blocks you send me (the white fabric) can be any of the following sizes: 3.5″ x 6.5″ (9 cm x 16.5 cm) or 6.5″ x 9.5″ (16.5 cm x 24.2 cm) or 9.5″ x 12.5″ (24.2 cm x 31.8 cm). And when making the X’s, please allow a 1/4″ border all around to give me room to stitch the blocks together.


In future blog posts we’ll talk about other ways to make the two X marks on the white base, but for now here’s the first block I made.  Using a simple up-and-down stitch, I used scraps of red ribbon (off a Christmas gift) to make the X’s. (And no, I’m not a child of the depression or a hoarder.)


Oh, and as you see in the photo, it’s okay to let your knots show. Make the two red X’s any way you want, just be sure that:
~ there are two red X’s on each block
~ there are no letters of the alphabet, words, names, or numbers on the block – only two red X’s.

Why white?
Because white represents medical records, the only information assessing physicians used to make their life and death determinations.

Why two red X’s?
Because once two of three assessing physicians paced a red X on the bottom of the medical records, the person was murdered. Two red X’s equal one person.

Why no letters, words, names, or numbers?
Because two red X’s equals one person – the death sentence of one person, to be more exact, and words, letters, names, and numbers distract the brain from the emotional message we’re making here. When you see a room filled with quilts made of blocks with two red X’s, I imagine it’s going to be quite moving. Were you to see a name or initials or a word or even the number “70,273” thrown in, you would be immediately distracted. Words, names, numbers, and such engage the brain, and we are a project designed to engage the heart.

One more very important step: Once you’ve finished your blocks, please download, print, complete, and use a safety pin to attach the Provenance Form to your blocks and mail to the address on the form.


Y’all get your pencils out and write down your homework assignment.

  1. Make a block. (Or at least gather the materials to make blocks.)
  2. Using social media, the phone,  or smoke signals, tell at least 3 people about the project.
  3. Subscribe to the blog so you can tune in tomorrow when we’ll talk about . . . well, I don’t know just yet exactly what we’ll talk about, but it’ll be something related to The 70273 Project, for sure.



Where in the world is The 70273 Project? Please add a pin to show us where you are in the world. (1) Click the + sign in upper righthand corner of map. (2) Enter your first name only. (3) Enter your city/state. (4) Using the pins at the bottom of the map, select a marker based on how you are involved. (5) Select preview to see before posting. (6) Select submit to post. Please add a marker for each role you serve in The 70273 Project.

Support The 70273 Project

Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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