Saturday, November 24, 2018

The 70273 Project post

A couple of posts ago I shared about my participation with The 70273 Project and promised a future post on the subject. 

Several bloggers have already posted about this inspired project from Jeanne Hewell-Chambers. I will add my voice, and encourage any who feel they are able, to join in. The project badge is on my right sidebar, and you can click that to go to Jeanne's blog for details about the different ways you can participate. But to introduce you to the project, I quote from Jeanne:

Between January 1940 and August 1941, Nazis murdered 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people – men, women, teens, boys, and girls. Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors 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.
I will commemorate these 70,273 voiceless, powerless people who were so callously and casually murdered by gathering 70,273 blocks of white fabric (representing the paper the doctors read), each bearing two red X’s (representing one person), and I will stitch them together into quilts. 

Is there any one of us that does not know and love someone that would have fallen into the same category as those 70273 who lost their lives  in such a heartless manner? Whether it is a mental or physical challenge, or just the declining abilities brought on by aging, we would all have lost people we cared about, if not our own lives.

What an opportunity to take part in this art project with a purpose, to commemorate those whose lives were cut short, and see that this sad episode of history is not forgotten, or repeated!

Jeanne is about 2/3 of the way to her goal, and is displaying the work wherever she can. If you explore her blog you can find several of the displays she has already done. 

I had sent in 5 blocks last month that I had made by piecing.  I always start with fabric a bit larger than the finished block is to be. Then I cut them twice on the diagonal and pieced in the red strips, repeating the process going in the opposite direction, to form the Xs. I tried to make each X just a little bit different from the one beside it.







Once they were made I trimmed them and added a white border all around.
They looked far too neat and precise, not at all the way I imagined those Xs would appear as they were thoughtlessly slashed onto those papers. 

In trying to salvage what I had made, I trimmed them again (good thing I had made them oversized), but this time I made them a bit wonky.
I just have to hope that all of those extra seams won't be so obvious when there is white batting and backing behind them.
This project was on my mind off and on throughout Thanksgiving Day. I wanted to come home from our family feast and make more blocks, but I was up very late the night before making these...
...so I crashed when we returned home and I had somewhat tamed the mountain of dishes I had left behind.




Friday was mostly spent out and about in birthday celebrations, but I had prepped some white blocks and red strips of fabric before leaving home. I stitched my first X block by hand as we drove to and from our destinations.
The other 6 were quickly stitched down by machine in the evening as hubby watched a football game and I kept him company. You can faintly see in the photo above that I cut my blocks larger, and draw pencil lines for the final size, keeping my work well within those lines. That way any fraying that takes place while I work won't shrink the block to an unusable size.

I pressed the edges of the red fabric strips under, pinned them in place, and stitched them down very close to the edge with a straight stitch. No fancy applique involved (thank goodness). It went very quickly, and I am much happier with this second set of blocks.

There are many ways the blocks can be assembled--even as simply as stitching down red ribbon or ric-rac.

And, making blocks is just one way to be involved. You can make small quilts, help piece blocks together into a quilt top, offer your services as a quilter, get your guild involved in making a quilt or having a block making meeting. You can make hanging sleeves, or fabric postcards with Xs. Or if you don't have time to make anything, but want to help, you can donate. Money is always an option, but they also need red and/or white fabrics, batting, and red and white thread.

Finally, you could invite Jeanne to do a guest post on your blog, or speak to your guild. You can contact her here.

I think I have covered the subject. I hope I haven't been overbearing. For many reasons it is close to my heart, and this is just one of them. Ben is my youngest grandson, and he has a severe, intractable seizure disorder. Though he is 9, he appears about half that age, and has very little language, sign or verbal. He is so precious, and "Bapa" is his favorite person. What reason might you have for wanting to be involved?
Until next time, 
Janet O.



27 comments:

cityquilter grace said...

such a worthy effort janet...and it is true, we all know somebody who would have been so casually disposed of...just another horrific episode in one of the greatest tragedies of our era...

Debbie said...

A sweet testimony to tell this story. I have been following her project. I do prefer your second batch of stitched down blocks. And you are right....some of us would have been immediate rejects.

Quilting Babcia said...

Bless you for taking part in this project that reminds others to look beyond the surface 'blemishes' of a person and look to the beautiful soul locked within.

Little Penpen said...

Oh wow.... so sad, so beautiful! Yes, some of my dearest patients would have had the double X, I'm sure. This is a beautiful project.

---"Love" said...

Earlier this year at a quilt show, I saw a large block with two red X's. I remember thinking what a strange entry. There was room on the card for very little of the story, but my eyes filled with tears as I thought about that horrible time in history. It's true; we must never allow that to happen again! Thanks for sharing more of the story. Strange that we would say your (or anyone's) blocks are beautiful, but when we consider their meaning, certainly they are beautiful! ---"Love"

Loris said...

Such a heartbreaking memory that truly needs to be remembered and those souls to be honored. There are reasons we all could have been rendered defective. Thankfully God holds us each as cherished.

Mary said...

Baba is a great nominee for your hubby. Thanks for sharing. The pies look great. Glad you had a great Birthday!

Kris said...

What a great post, Janet!! You are such a dear!! Your blocks are great!! I like the appliqué idea much better!! Less seams and it seems like less work in the long run!! If you would like, send me your blocks, I'll make some too and then make them into a quilt and quilt them on Martha and get the quilt registered!! Hope you had a wonderful birthday yesterday!! xoxoxKris

Lori said...

WOW! She is 2/3's the way!! When I posted about is July of 2016 the project was gaining momentum. I saw a special exhibit in Houston and it took my breath away to think that 2 XX represented a person! So many xx and precious people snuffed out. Love the photo of your hubby and grandson- all our precious in His sight.

Pat said...

Well done Janet! Isn’t it something that this particular project attaches itself to your heart...our little group that visited the exhibit in Minnesota earlier this summer were deeply affected by it and listening to Jeanne was riveting. As you stated, so many of us have someone in our own lives that could have been on that horrendous list. Don’t you think that Jeanne’s goal will be totally reached in the next few months - so close, so very close! Blessings to you and yours.

Randy D. said...

Very inspiring, as always! Very motivating. Love all that you did, Janet.
And the picture of your husband and Ben is just priceless. Can't believe he's 9 already...
Your family is truly amazing! God's gift to this world!

AnnieO said...

Wonderful blocks, Janet. A fellow guild member introduced us to this project and I have been meaning ever since to make some blocks. I have an 11 year old niece and a now teenaged second cousin with Down Syndrome, and they surely would have been on this list. Your grandson is adorable with his Bapa!

Julie said...

Gosh Janet - what an inspiring project. I will go to your friends blog & read more about it all. I had not heard of anything like this over here so I will talk to my friend who is President of her local quilt guild & see if she might be interested in donating in some way. I love all your blocks Janet. Thanks for sharing this wonderful project ... yes I can think of several family & friends who would've received the two red crosses. How scary is that.

Karen said...

I have seen others making the X blocks also and have read some about the project.
Regardless of communication, health or size issues your grandson might have, he is a nice looking young child who deserves the best. Does he live close to you?

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Bless you Janet! And God bless Ben and Bapa! We are so close to honoring each and every one of those 70,273 people. Awareness is crucial. Thanks for posting.

Barb said...

What a touching photo of Ben! I don't think you can be overbearing about this project! Your blocks are wonderful and like how you have pieced them. I may give your method a try!
I'm so glad that you are getting the word again about this amazing project.

Lesley said...

Thank you for sharing your quilt blocks and their story. Very emotional read and such a wonderful way of raising awareness. Such a beautiful picture of your hubby and grandson. Seems like they are quite the duo!

Denise :) said...

I'd never been exposed to this project before you -- thank you for sharing. What a great initiative to be a part of! My niece, Liesl, is five and was born with down syndrome. She's such a treasure and a joy! I don't know that you have it in you to be overbearing! Passionate, yes, and with wonderful, sweet cause; who needs to say more than grandchild??! :) Your pecan pie looks SO good ... imagine that?!!! LOL! Love ya', lady! :)

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

I like how you say "we" are so close to honoring those we commemorate. Because it really is "us" . . . and you've been such a big part of it. Thank you.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

"another horrific episode in one of the greatest tragedies of our era". I sometimes wonder if we'll ever learn . . .

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

Thanks for keeping up with the project, Debbie, and you're so right: this is a sweet, sweet testimony.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

"look beyond the surface 'blemishes' of a person and look to the beautiful soul locked within." I love the way you see the world and the way you write about it. Thank you.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

It's a sobering thought that people you know and cherish would've received the dreaded two red X's, isn't it? I just left your blog - thank you for commemorating and writing about it so others will know.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

"when we consider their meaning, certainly they are beautiful" - I couldn't agree more. You'd think that after almost 3 years, seeing blocks and receiving stories would be "old mill" for me, but it isn't. I read Janet's post and saw her blocks and tears rolled down my face. I read your comment, and tears roll down my face. When my Grandparenting gig comes to an end on Saturday and I am home in my own studio on Sunday (first time since mid-October), I will open envelopes and packages, and tears will roll down my face. I am so moved and so honored and so grateful to be sharing this beautiful rock called Earth with so many kind, compassionate people.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

"There are reasons we all could have been rendered defective." I couldn't agree more, Lorie. We're all wonderfully, delightfully, uniquely "imperfect" and what a boring world it would be if we weren't.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

I love your idea and generous heart, Kris. Thank you. I look forward to seeing this quilt! Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers said...

Lori! You were on board with The 70273 Project early, and so many people came to the project because of you. Just last week I received another email that a quilt is on the way . . . and she learned about the project from you. Thank you so much.