The rainbow hues of the fabrics were the signature aesthetic for quilts, pillows, shirts and even cornhole bags on display at Summit School on Friday.
During the last day of the Sew Fun summer camp hosted by Karen Gray of Karen Gray Design, a group of energetic girls welcomed Cindy Caines from Brenner Children's Hospital and proudly displayed the results of their weeklong session.
"These ladies are my A-team," said Gray, referencing her group of advanced seamstresses. "They came in ready to hit the ground running."
Angelina Paparoupas and Poppy Veneziano took a few minutes away from their sewing machines for a quick photo, pointing out the differences in their shirts, one of the group's first projects for the week. Carson Mihalko, Annabella Veneziano and Caroline Ward did the same, joining the rest of the group after the picture sitting for an impromptu dance session. Ann Cooper Cannon and Joanna Holden said they had enjoyed the diversity of projects they completed during the camp.
"I've been sewing for three or four years; I started in the second grade," Holden said. "The quilts were a lot of fun!"
Cannon also has three or four years experience and said she enjoys "making my own things how I want them." She added that the group's big project for the week was her favorite part of the camp.
"I really enjoyed making the pillowcases," Cannon said, referencing the 60+ pillowcases the group of eight girls (including Lilly Zaks, who missed the last day due to an important swim meet) completed for patients at Brenner Children's Hospital. "The shirts were also fun."
Gray said that Charlotte-based Free Spirit Fabrics provided the colorful textiles for the projects. She added that along with sewing skills, the camp reinforced friendships.
"These ladies support each other," Gray said. "They were determined to rise to the occasion and do their best work for Brenner."
Caines said that the pillowcases will be a bright spot for many patients at the hospital.
"When kids have cancer, they sometimes stay in the hospital for two or three weeks and that can be kind of sad," she explained to the group of girls. "When you're in the hospital, you also sometimes don't get a lot of choices, but having something like these pillowcases lets them choose. They'll have it with them while they're in the hospital and then they get to take them home."
Caines also shared her own love of sewing with the girls.
"My mother made all of our clothes when we were growing up," Caines said. "She would buy one pattern and each of the kids had a color, and she would make the same dress in different colors for each sister. We all still sew, and one of my favorite things to do is to go in a fabric store and look at all the fabrics."