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Maria Krzesowski makes quilts, knits and embroiders in her basement work room.

September 26, 2013
An intricately embellished rabbit won Maria Krzesowski of Grosse Pointe Woods first place in the Armada Fair in August.

A veteran of entering and winning ribbons at the defunct Michigan State Fair, Krzesowski submitted both the flop-eared rabbit and a quilt at the Armada Fair. The quilt won third place in the overall hand quilt category. But it was the rabbit for which she captured first place in quilting and the blue ribbon for best of show.

Begun in 2009, she finished the light pink and white rabbit last year after taking some time off. Bedecked with a purple ribbon around its neck, the rabbit has clusters of silk ribbon embroidered roses on the chin, legs and back. Krzesowski added thread embroidery in various stitches on the body, feet and ears to the rabbit, dedicated to her 14-year-old niece, Angelina.

It took Maria Krzesowski 80 hours to create the rabbit. For the effort, she was awarded the blue ribbon best of show at the Armada Fair in August.
Of course, Krzesowski made a bunch of handmade orange carrots for the rabbit to hold.

"He'll be in the living room," she said. "Maybe in the rocking chair with the doll my mother made me. I did it in a couple weeks. I did it in quilting class in Richmond, a lot of silk ribbon and beads. When I finished they (women in her quilting class) said it was exquisite. I started it and never got to finish it. When I went back I had 10 times more work," because of the added extensive handwork embellishments, she said.

Krzesowski's scrappy quilt is a king-size memory quilt incorporating squares of material salvaged from clothing from her grandmother, mother, aunts and herself.

"I don't do the quilting. I take it to a lady who has a free arm machine," she admitted. However, the time consuming job of cutting, organizing light-colored blocks in the middle, darker shades on the outside and stitching the quilt pieces together was done in her basement work space.

"My cousin cried when she remembers (who wore) the aprons and cloths" that went into the quilt, Krzesowski said.

There are left over scraps which she will turn into another quilt for her cousin, Krzesowski said.

"A quilt takes a good year. I have so many hobbies."

Her well-lit corner workroom is filled from floor to ceiling with bins of yarn, material and shelves of patterns and instructional books. In a comfortable chair, Krzesowski flips through the books to get her ideas of what to knit or sew.

"I knit socks for my husband. He likes them because they are warm," Krzesowski said and she pulls out a handful of socks made of cotton, silk and wool.

She pointed to the shelves saying, "I have 20 sock books," meaning patterns and directions of sock knitting.

When she isn't knitting, her first love, she can be found sewing.

Each block on her latest quilt project features a high-heeled shoe. If she gets tired of working on that design, Krzesowski has a wall hanging to work on. It features roosters pecking at a flower, running through the corn field or sitting on a nest. Each block is bordered in deep red. If she gets tired of sewing, there are knitting projects and three other quilts on which she could work.

"My grandma sewed. She made all the kids nightgowns and blankets," Krzesowski said.

When she was 7 years old growing up in Detroit, Krzesowski knitted her first project, a scarf.

"She (her grandmother) used to help me. (Since then) I've gone crazy," Krzesowski said.

With her wealth of information, Krzesowski has taught knitting classes through the Assumption Greek Orthodox educational offerings.

And Krzesowski said she keeps learning and expanding her creativeness. With the purchase of a Janome machine, she has learned how to machine embroider.

"It pushed me to learn computer embroidery. I just keep making things," she said. "I still keep learning, whatever interests me. There is nothing you can't try."

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