SPRING HILL — The members of the Hernando Quilters Guild have been busy stitching up not just cuddly and cozy handmade works of art, they've been creating hope for better health as well.
Some 80 members this year have pieced, appliquéd and embroidered two quilts they've donated to fundraising organizations that support breast cancer awareness and research. The two signature pink and white originals are being raffled off in Hernando and Pasco counties during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Ellie Fries, 66, of Spring Hill, project coordinator for guild members from Hernando, Pasco and Citrus counties, said the idea of making quilts and donating them for the cause hatched last year when she read of a Hernando couple who bought a classic Corvette, painted it pink and raffled it off to benefit the national effort.
Willing guild seamstresses pooled their ingenuity to stitch up blocks of 12 inches square, choosing from pink and white print fabric to articulate classic quilt designs such as stars, hearts and a tree of life, or embroider such sayings as "We Can Overcome Anything" and "Celebrate Life," or draw from the Lorelei line of fabrics dedicated to breast cancer awareness: artful caricature designs of women in various stages of the battle with cancer.
The quilts are dedicated to Spring Hill resident Joyce Volpe, 81, a two-time cancer survivor and guild participant. Her patch on the quilt depicts a woman in an upholstered Colonial chair, wearing a turban to apparently conceal baldness as a result of chemotherapy, in pink slippers, a cat lounging atop the chair's back. The woman's face appears serene but firm.
The Hernando fundraiser is being handled by Kim Garcia, owner of Game Fitness of Spring Hill in support of iWalk4U, a local team that will participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile walk Oct. 28-30 in St. Petersburg.
The three-member team led by Teri Lindhorst must raise $2,300 each to take part. Money from the quilt raffle will contribute to their goal.
Raffle tickets, at $1 each, are available at Gime Fitness, 3031 Landover Blvd., across from the Springstead High School theater.
The last chance to buy tickets for the Hernando quilt will be Saturday at 7:45 a.m. at Anderson Snow Sports Complex, Anderson Snow Road, Spring Hill, following the Get Out Get Active Saturday event sponsored by the Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department and GIME Fitness. The drawing will occur at that time.
The Pasco quilt raffle is being managed by the American Cancer Society of Pasco/Hernando/Citrus, headquartered in Lutz. The ACS group is helping to sponsor some 100 teams for the Strides Against Cancer Walk Oct. 23 at the Shoppes at Wiregrass, which is when the drawing will take place, said organizer Stephanie Watts.