When Lita Star was searching for a retirement community, there was a very important factor she considered.

"One of the criteria [I looked for] was that they [needed to] have a large quilting group," Star says.

As an acclaimed quilter with awards and accolades from national quilting organizations, Star's artistic drive has not ceased since moving into Brittany Pointe Estates last June. Through her quilts, Star has had great success and has used her artistic passion to get through tough times. She began quilting 25 years ago after years of making her own clothes.

Lita -Star _w 350px"I loved to sew and I had 3 children, so I was pretty busy," Star said. "With quilting, I could do five minutes or I could do five hours and accomplish something."

At the time, she lived on Long Island, NY, and joined a quilting group with more than 300 women. However, she quickly joined a sub-group that was dedicated to non-traditional quilts, which are Star's specialty.

"I guess I don't like to be regulated; I'm a non-conformist," Star says. "I've done some quilts that are based on traditional patterns, but I was happier doing it my own way."

The group she was in made quilts yearly for Mancuso Show Management's quilt tours, which features quilting exhibits throughout the country.

"[They] had exhibits all over the country, and every year we had an exhibit at the shows," said Star. "We had a challenge each year and we made a quilt for that challenge."

Star's individual quilts have won many awards at prestigious shows: at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX; the AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah, KY; and the Lancaster Quilt Show in Lancaster, PA. Her work has been featured in various quilting publications. Star's quilts can take months to finish, and she estimates she has made approximately 46 since starting 25 years ago.

Quilting has given Star solace when dealing with hardships. When her son passed away, she made a quilt in his honor and donated it to the college where he worked, where it was hung in a research lab named after him.

The community at Brittany Pointe Estates has been very welcoming to her and her talents, and she has joined its quilting group to help prepare for the large bazaar held in November at the ACTS Retirement-Life community.

"They appreciate what I love, and [the respect] is mutual," says Star.