Re-mapping the Ag District
By Carol ThouinMonday, July 16, 2001
For 36 years, Spring Valley's Jan Czapiewski has taken needle in hand to create some of the most remarkable, artistic creations in the county. She has the awards to prove it. Hung, draped and folded in nearly every room of the cozy home she shares with husband, Bob, are a rainbow of colorful quilts in various sizes and patterns she's created since being bitten by the sewing bug during a 7th grade Home Economics class. Carefully fastened to nearly every one of her creations is a first place blue ribbon from the Fillmore County Fair. Stacks of other ribbons including honorable mention, second place and even some Grand Champion honors are testament to the years Czapiewski has spent perfecting her craft.
"I first started sewing in Home Ec class and really enjoyed it," Czapiewski said.
Early on, her interest gravitated toward sewing her own clothes -- she even made the bridesmaid's dresses for her own wedding.
"It just kind of snowballed from there," she said.
When she and her husband moved to Spring Valley, neighbors soon learned of her talent and began requesting sewing projects of all kinds.
"I always try to make something before I'll buy it," Czapiewski said. "Wedding dresses, draperies -- you name it, I've sewn it," she said.
But it wasn't until joining a group of Spring Valley women in a Community Ed class some 13 years ago that Czapiewski's passion for quilting began.
"We sewed a quilt called 'Trip Around the World',” she recalled.
That was her first one, which she thoughtfully gave to one of her four daughters. But with three other girls and five boys in the family, she had plenty more opportunities to challenge her talents.
To mingle with others who shared her passion for the detailed sewing required for both hand and machine quilting, Czapiewski joined the Sew N Sews, a Spring Valley quilting club. Throughout the years, she has sewn upwards of 25 quilts and made many more wall hangings that she's shared with her nine children, 22 grandchildren, mother and mother-in-law. She was even commissioned by her sister to design a quilted banner for a church in another state. Like the memories she shares with the special people in her life, each of her quilts has its own special story and name.
"A very favorite one to me is the Friendship Quilt," Czapiewski said as she carefully unv .....
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