Last week Elizabeth and I got the opportunity to have a booth at the Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace…which was a lot of fun….and where I met a new friend, Jeanne.
And I wouldn’t have met this new friend…without the help of an old friend Jeanette.
I met Jeanette one night at a Skirting the Issue sewing night that we held at the Cotton Shop in Provo where we were sewing skirts for girls in foster care. There were quite a few people there cutting and sewing and in walks this perfect stranger with an entire garbage sack of the most beautiful skirts that she had made and brought to donate. I knew then Jeanette was good people and someone I wanted to be friends with. And even though our communication is mostly through social media there are the few chances that we actually see each other in person. And last week was one of them.
Jeanette stopped by to visit and we gabbed about pretty much everything and then somewhere during the course of our conversation she asked if we had been over to see the 70273 Project Quilt yet and I said that I had no idea what she was talking me about.
“Come with me right now,” she said and then she walked me across the show and introduced me to Jeanne…and then we spent the next 20 minutes crying.
Jeanne, you see, is the the driving force behind something called the 70273 Project.
The 70273 Project is a worldwide quilting project in progress to remember the 70,273 lives of mentally and physically disabled people killed by the Nazi’s between January 1940 and August 1941.
The names of these people are unknown as they were only kept track of by 2 red X’s on the bottom of a medical form…the 2 red X’s signifying that they had been seen by 2 physicians who both found them to be imperfect.
And it was these 2 red X’s that sealed their fate.
Jeanne, a woman coming from a long line of stitchers and the mother of a history buff and champion to a sister with disabilities, heard the story of these 70723 souls who needlessly lost their lives while watching a documentary one night. And the idea was born.
Since that time women from all over the world have been sending her quilt blocks…each one white and each one scarred with 2 red X’s. These blocks are then made up into quilts that are part of a display traveling around the globe. The goal is to have enough quilts that all 70,723 victims will be represented by a pair of red X’s.
The display is as somber as it is beautiful.
The sadness however is tempered by the love shown in each block…each block is different…different shades of red…different textures…different materials…the kindness and purposefulness is tangible and filled me with hope that the light will always come and that the world is filled with good women quietly doing their part to better their sphere of influence where ever they may be.
Next week Elizabeth and I will be in Portland showing our new line of fabric called “Let Them Be Little”…a line designed for that magic time when children are young, innocent, and unaware of the dangers of the world…it is the first time we have ever incorporated the color red in a fabric line.
And as a former history teacher, a special education teacher, and a quilter, you can better believe that Jeanne will be receiving a quilt from me, made with our new fabric, to add to her project.
As for Jeanette, my friend who introduced me to Jeanne, she turned in quilt blocks last week…because she is awesome like that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: quilters are some of the best people on the planet. How lucky I am to have such people in my life.
To find out more about the 70723 Project you can check out Jeanne’s site HERE.