By Daniel Silliman
It seemed like a completely natural connection, between pets and hand-made quilts.
"Quilters love cats," explained Jeanne Lowery, owner of Quilts and Fixins.
"And cats love quilts," said quilter Ginny Galvin.
"We've got 6,000 bolts of fabric in here," Lowery said, "and the ones we sell the most of have cats on them."
"We love cat fabrics," Galvin said.
That connection, though, between cats and quilters, goes one step further at Quilts and Fixins, 7986 N. Main Street in Jonesboro, as area quilters volunteer to make more than 100 quilts, and sell them all in an annual fund-raiser for the Clayton County Humane Society.
The volunteer quilters have been working for a few months now and the lap-sized quilts, all of them incorporating cat- and dog-themed fabric into the patterns, are starting to stack up in the back of the shop. Lowery said it's the most fun project she works on all year, and she often -- in the stretch before this third annual fund-raiser -- has found herself getting out of bed at 3 a.m., to work on another block for another quilt.
Last year, the group of volunteers made about 75 quilts. They raffled off one and sold the others and raised about $4,300 for the Clayton County Humane Society. This year, Lowery said the quilters are going to try to beat their own record.
"You can't do less," Lowery said. "You've always got to do more."
This year, there will again be a raffle for one quilt, and the others will sell for between $20 and $100, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the humane society.
The fund-raising project began "almost on accident" a number of years back, when a woman came in and asked to buy a cat-themed quilt, Lowery said. The woman said she wanted to put it in a raffle for a Humane Society fund-raiser. Lowery, moved by the idea, gave the woman the quilt off of the wall of the shop and started thinking about ways to support her county's Humane Society.
"I thought maybe this is something we can do that's a little bit different," she said.
Last year, quilt buyers lined up outside Lowery's shop before it opened for the fund-raiser-sale at 9 a.m., and at the end of the day, a woman bought all the remaining quilts and donated them to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
Gwen Lyle, head of the Humane Society's fund-raising, described the quilters efforts as a "Godsend."
"It's one of our biggest fund-raisers," Lyle said. "These women at Quilts and Fixins, they provide all the materials, they make the quilt -- which takes a while -- and then they put on the fund-raiser. And they just do amazing work. It's a pretty big deal to us. The reason it's so important is because we're nonprofit, and we exist by adoptions, donations and fund-raisers."
This year, the quilts will be sold on May 10, from 9 a.m., to noon at Quilts and Fixins, 7986 N. Main Street in Jonesboro.