Monday, April 2, 2018

April's OMG and UFO challenge quilts

(This week's BOMs Away link-up is here~~>)

My OMG for April is a very, very special quilt, and while I have a wonderful customer quilt on the frame for a couple of weeks, I can't wait for this one's turn to come up.

Do you know about The 70,273 Project? Conceived by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, it is now a global movement to make quilts representing the number of people murdered by the NAZIs because their physical or mental disabilities rendered them "unfit to eat," even "unfit to live," in their minds. 

Each block with a pair of Xs represents a person who was taken from their family and killed. These were any families - German or otherwise. So you can see how insipid the evil of campaigning against "others" becomes: Soon, even your own segment of society is targeted.

I have been frustrated for a couple of years at the rapid increase in animosity against "others" in our own society. I often feel helpless to do anything about this - being nice in my own sphere and doing what little I can to spread positive living and respect for every being is good, but can only reach so far. This made a movement that has become larger than life very appealing to me.

Years ago, I took our youngest daughter to New York City for spring break, and we just happened to get to see the Red & White Exhibit at The Armory. You cannot imagine how emotionally powerful that exhibit was in person. And those were "just" normal quilts from antique to modern!!

So I can well imagine the intensity of the emotional impact these quilts would have on exhibit in cathedrals and other sites. The ones that have been finished so far have already been displayed. I hope to be able to attend a special exhibit in person.

People all around the world contribute to the construction of the blocks for these quilts, even if they are not quilters. I volunteered to quilt some tops up, and number 392 was mailed to me. It was assembled by a woman in North Carolina. All of the blocks and tops are meticulously labeled and catalogued so that each finished quilt has a chart of which blocks and work were made by whom.

I admit that I completely burst into tears when I opened the package and held that material representation of several wronged individuals in my hands. 

I also immediately appreciated the eclectic assembly of blocks, as different as the people represented undoubtedly were. These fabrics are quite varied, as are the material and techniques used to make the Xs. 

We have cottons, blends, damasks for backgrounds. . .and ribbons, markers, paints, applique, prefab patches, hand embroidery, even a bead for Xs. 

The most powerful one for me has velvet Xs that you know should be beautiful and lovely to touch, but they are hidden away under a white semi-opaque organdy, taked away from us as the person was taken away from their family. But memory remains. And souls whisper.

Have you experienced Quilter's Serendipity? If you have, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's difficult to explain what I mean by it. It amazes me sometimes, like when this 70,273 quilt top arrived, and later THE VERY SAME DAY I met for the first time with a customer who has a bonanza of WW2 vintage tops she wants rescued, she gave me a top she doesn't care for. 

It was foundation pieced on newspaper. Dolly opened it up, and the very first visible newsprint had headlines about Hitler and other war happenings. It was a powerful moment of affirmation that I was doing what I needed to be doing.

Spiritual projects are good for the soul. I am glad I found this movement, and I will do more for it over time until the project is fulfilled.


The Patchwork Times UFO Challenge number for April is 5 (which is also on my 18 in 2018 list), so I will be working on this project immediately following the OMG:


  1. I so very much enjoyed your post today. I'm inspired. I'm touched.

  2. Well said! This is a great post and I am so happy to hear you have a part in this meaningful and important project.

  3. Wow, no words can add to your sentiments.

  4. That is an amazing quilt. I had not heard of this prior to your post. Very inspiring!

  5. So powerful! This is very important social justice work, Lynette. I'm so glad you are using your quilting talents to help keep this project moving forward. Thank you for sharing your heart and mind in this post.

  6. You are wonderful to do this and to spread the word. Ditto what Louise and the others have said. Thank you.

  7. Thank you so much, Lynette for writing this pot. I started reading and I had goosebumps, which turned into tears even before I reached the end of the post. I just sent an email to Jeanne. Hope I can join in the effort.

  8. Wow... speechless. What a wonderful project. Thank you for sharing. <3

  9. What a wonderful post explaining the project and sharing your heart. The "coincidence" with the newspaper gave me goosebumps. :-(

  10. I made a mini quilt for this project. It was a very moving experience, and sobering too. But also uplifting to be a part of something that says "this kind of treatment of others is not ok". I look forward to seeing how you finish this precious quilt.

  11. This is a wonderful post. I knew nothing of this project before reading this.

  12. Very interesting. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck with your project.

  13. This was a touching read. I am a fan of world war II stories anyway. I hadn't heard of the quilt made for holocaust tragedies.

    I think you got a treasure with those newspapers. It would make that
    Era very real to me.


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