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Jan Copeland gives a presentation on the background behind quilts at the Villa Rose quilt show.
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Jan Copeland started Patchwork Plus in 1998.
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Hugh Gallagher was presented a quilt at the recent Villa Rose quilt show for his service during World War II.
A local businesswoman has been bringing a lifelong passion for quilting to the Metro East since she opened her quilt shop in 1998. Three years ago, she also began using her skills to help a national organization that honors combat veterans across the nation.
Jan Copeland was born and raised in Hartford. She graduated from Wood River High School and lives with her husband in the area. Her roots in the community are deep. She has two daughters and four stepsons in the area whom she sees regularly and who are a big part of her life.
Interested in quilting her entire life, Copeland has quilted since she was young. “Both of my grandmothers quilted,” she says. She completed her first baby quilt at age 21 and has quilted regularly ever since then.
Copeland started Patchwork Plus in 1998 in Alton and says service is the key to running a successful business for as long as she has. The business is a full-service quilt shop offering a wide range of quilting fabrics, patterns, notions, boutiques and other items. Copeland specializes in 1800s reproduction fabrics and is an expert on antique quilts. “The Lewis and Clark anniversary as well as the recent Civil War anniversary has stimulated a lot of interest in quilts and fabric from this era,” she says.
Three years ago, Copeland started participating in the Quilts Of Valor foundation. The mission of the Quilts Of Valor Foundation is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts hand-made by members and participants. Quilters combine in a national effort to provide quilts that are tangible reminders of appreciation and gratitude for veterans’ service to our country. Copeland explains that the foundation will present its 100,000th quilt this coming month.
Copeland presented a quilt to Hugh Gallagher on Saturday, March 8, at the Villa Rose Independent Living Center quilt show in Bethalto. Gallagher served as a Motor Machinist 1st Class in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was the recipient of a World War II Victory Ribbon, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon and an Asiatic/Pacific Ribbon with two stars. He served in the Pacific theater, repairing ship engines as well as working in underwater demolition.
Copeland started quilting for Quilts Of Valor, then started a group at her shop last year to also participate in the foundation. The group consists of piecers and quilters. Piecers make the quilt tops. The quilters add the batting and stitch the quilting designs. The piecers then put on the binding. The finished quilts are then sent or presented to the service members. Copeland explains that the group presented 24 quilts locally in addition to sending out 37 others to veterans outside this area just last year.
Patchwork Plus, 62 East Ferguson in Wood River, is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday. The shop can be reached at 618-251-9788 and additional information is available on the web at www.patchworkplus.net. Copeland says anyone wishing to participate in Quilts Of Valor can call or stop by the store.
The skills of people with lifelong experiences in specialized areas of interest can be a valuable contribution to many others around them. Jan Copeland is using her talents to honor and benefit the many veterans who have served in combat to protect our country and our way of life.