Small stitches make big difference

- Sewing is a skill that runs in the Lester family. Carrie Lester picked up her first spool of thread at just 6 years old. So it's no surprise that she now owns her own stitch and quilt shop.

"I turned my passion into a family-owned business so that my girls can be with me," she explained.

Her daughter Heather helps run Bayside Stitches in Spring Hill, although up until eight months ago, Heather preferred hunting over sewing.  But once she sewed her first stich, Heather says everything else fell into place.

"I just started sewing and quilting and now I'm making my own quilts," said Heather. 

When the Lesters aren't sewing and selling quilts, they're weaving and hemming for a good cause: Making pillowcases for kids with cancer. Their goal for the month of September is to make 600 pillowcases.

It's a big goal, but with an assembly line of 25 volunteers, they're confident they'll succeed.

"I knew I loved to sew and I knew other people had the passion, but I never expected it to be like this," Carrie offered.

Sewing is a passion shared throughout the country. All year long, volunteers donate pillowcases -- each soaked in vinegar to sanitize them -- to the national non-profit group, Ryan's Cases for Smiles. This month, the organization delivered its one millionth pillowcase.

The Lesters are thrilled that they can make a local contribution. As long as they can sew, they say they'll continue donating pillowcases to children in need of comfort and a smile.

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