Women on pins and needles for church's annual fund-raiser


October 29, 2001|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AT LEAST since 1930, Helen Shriver has created hand-sewn items with Church of the Ascension's Pins and Needles group.

Tissue box covers, embroidered notepads, doll clothes, scarves, baby blankets - the women create "anything that is pretty," she said. "And anything that will sell."

For 28 years, the women have crafted items for the church's largest fund-raiser, the Mistletoe Mart. When the doors open at 10 a.m. Nov. 8, they'll have plenty of their trademark items and creative additions.

Mistletoe Mart will end Nov. 10. On Nov. 14, the Pins and Needles women will start projects for next year's sales, as they have in years past.

"There are about eight to 12 of us who meet Wednesday morning," said Nancy McAllister, who considers herself a newcomer even though she has been with Pins and Needles more than 15 years. "We sit and stitch and yak and yak and yak. We have a good time. We discuss a little bit of everything."

Most of their ideas are from craft books or from items they take apart and make a pattern for. With donations of fabric, thread, buttons and other supplies, the group doesn't pay for anything.

"If we dig through enough boxes, we find what we need," said Pat Shirley, a Pins and Needles member for about 20 years. "We also get a lot of unfinished projects that people start and don't have the time or interest to finish."

The latest unfinished project the group inherited is a collection of doll furniture. Refurbishing the set (which includes a chair, a footstool, an entertainment center, a coffee table, a rug and a lamp) has taken so long that votes are still out about whether the donation was a blessing or a curse. Members aren't sure if they'll sell the set at Mistletoe Mart.

"To cover the time we've invested in the set, we'd have to price it at least $200," McAllister said.

Most of the group's handiwork costs much less, which is why it has such a following. Priced "by committee," the hand-sewn items start at $1 with a few items priced as high as $30.

Trademark items include embroidered notepads (church member Fran Zink made 200); clothes for 18-inch dolls (created by church members and mother-daughter team Cynthia Frock and Cheryl Vecera); knitted scarves and other items (by Doris Whittford); canvas tissue box covers that have photo pouches, Christmas tree ornaments, and a soft sculpture crM-hche (created by all members).

Mistletoe Mart will include 50 other specialty shops, artists and craftspeople with a broad range of items. Woodworks, stained glass, jewelry, baskets, pottery, dolls, herbal gifts, floral arrangements and accessories for the home will be sold.

Shoppers can eat at Savory Fare CafM-i, which will offer home-cooked lunches and dinners. Complimentary spiced tea will be available throughout the event.

Proceeds from Mistletoe Mart will help fund church projects and community charities, including Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, YMCA camp scholarships, Mission of Mercy, and Family and Children's Services.

Church of the Ascension is at 23 N. Court St., Westminster. Information: 410-848-3251.

Money collections climb

Shortly after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, pupils at William Winchester Elementary School told their principal, Mark Vigliotti, that they wanted to help the victims. For two weeks they collected change in two jugs - one on each floor of the school.

When the last pile of coins had been sorted, counted and verified by fifth-grade math pupils, the total for William Winchester's fund-raising efforts reached $1,876.62. Two fund-raising ventures by the school's PTA netted more than $500 toward that total.

William Winchester is not alone in fund-raising efforts.

Cranberry Station Elementary School is working with BJ Wholesalers to raise money to buy books for a school near the World Trade Center site.

Carroll Springs students were encouraged to answer President Bush's call for children to send in $1 each.

A roundup of funds collected at other schools in Central Carroll: Robert Moton Elementary School, $450; Friendship Valley, $2,000; West Middle School, $2,702.73; and East Middle School, $1,900.

"It is really amazing what the children have done," said Lynn Uram, a guidance counselor at Robert Moton. "We have some super kids."

Living treasure

Westminster resident Laurie Walters honors Robin Garheart as her living treasure this week. Garheart has been active with Westminster High School Boosters for many years and is treasurer of the group.

"Robin represents all the parents who give so much of their time to causes related to their children," Walters said. "She's the one who hauls 1,000 pounds of food to the concession stand and makes sure it is stocked. She is patient, efficient and so dedicated."

Brighten the day of someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Submit a name and specific reasons why that person has been your living treasure to Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157, or 410-848-4703.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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