Area quilters are helping the fight against breast cancer, stitch by stitch.

The Quilted Crow, a quilt shop in Lehighton, held its second annual quilt block challenge in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Area piecers were encouraged to create a quilt block, using a challenge fabric of white with pink polka dots.

Other fabrics were permitted, but the challenge fabric had to be used in the block. The shop provided the challenge fabric free to the participants.

The finished blocks were displayed on a wall at the shop and online during the last two weeks of October, and customers were encouraged to vote for their favorite by donating a minimum of $1 per vote. Around $150 was raised and that money will be donated to breast cancer research.

The winner of the quilt block challenge was Valda Musselman of Palmerton. Relatively new to quilting, Musselman created a paper-pieced star block.

"I always wanted to try quilting," said Musselman. "I just got hooked on it."

Musselman has been quilting for three years now, and has already finished several quilts. She currently completes them by machine quilting the layers together, but says she is ready to learn hand quilting.

For her winning quilt block, Jane Heckman, who co-owns The Quilted Crow with Cindy Mengel-Smith, presented Musselman with a $25 store gift certificate and a breast cancer awareness tote bag.

"This was a nice challenge for breast cancer," said Musselman. "It's a really good thing to do."

The 15 blocks will now be combined into a quilt, which should be completed by March. At that time, and through next October, the quilt will be displayed and chances to win it will be sold. The money raised will also be donated to breast cancer research.

"We're just really grateful to the people who were willing to donate their time and talent, and for those who made their monetary donations through voting, for this cause," said Heckman.

"We are hoping someday to be able to erase this disease."

In addition to sponsoring a quilt block challenge in honor of breast cancer awareness last year, The Quilted Crow has supported other community projects.

Earlier this year the shop supplied fabric at no charge, while area quilters created over 20 baby quilts, that were then donated to Care Net of Carbon County.

"We like doing things for the community," Heckman said when handing the quilts over to Care Net.