- Associated Press - Sunday, February 9, 2014

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - In her 13 years with the Texarkana, Ark., Police Department, Detective Shawna Yonts has seen some of the worst of human nature.

She has spent 10 of those years as a crime scene investigator and like many police officers, she has often taken the job home with her. Visions of homicides, assaults and other crime scenes kept her from relaxing like she needed to.

“You can see some really bad things and it’s hard to forget about it at the end of the day,” she said. She knew she needed an outlet and her relatives who quilted thought they had the solution.

“I was visiting my aunt in 2002 and she thought quilting would be a good distraction for me,” she said. “So I gave it a shot. It turns out I spent eight hours in her sewing room working on a wall hanging. I was hooked.”

That first quilt was later given as a gift to Police Chief Robert Harrison’s longtime secretary, Jessie Washington.

And since then, Yonts has made many more quilts as gifts for birthdays, holidays and births.

She said she always liked doing crafty things but quilting was the only thing that became a passion.

“When I’m quilting, there are that hours go by that I don’t think about police work,” she told the Texarkana Gazette (https://bit.ly/1n77c66 ).

She quilted as a hobby for several years until she realized it could become a business as well.

In 2010, she was planning a vacation to the United Kingdom with relatives and decided to use her quilting skills to raise money for the trip. She began making quilted bags for children’s crayons and coloring books. When she made $1,800 selling the bags, she started thinking seriously about starting her own business.

That’s when “Arresting Designs,” was born.

“Everybody told me I had to get something about police work in the name,” she said.

Her logo even features a spool of thread attached to a pair of police handcuffs.

Yonts makes quilts for customers, along with smaller items like purses, baby blankets and Christmas tree skirts. She also can do the quilting on a quilt someone has already made or help someone design their own personalized quilt.

She does all of her quilting on a sewing machine and has invested in a long-arm quilting machine, which she bought at a quilting expo in Houston.

“Long-arm machines are expensive and when I applied for a loan, it was really hard explaining exactly what it was to the banker,” she laughed.

She works on the quilts in her home and uses a 12-foot table in her garage for all of her projects.

“I really enjoy making things people love as well as items they might need, things that will last for many years and be cherished for a long time also,” Yonts said.

She loves making quilts that are very personal to the customer.

One of her customers was a woman who had reunited with her high school boyfriend and married him.

“They got back together years later and realized they had both kept the Crown Royal bags they collected in high school,” she said. Yonts made the couple a quilt out of the Crown Royal bags and the wife gave it to the husband as a Christmas present.

“When you are able to make someone something so personal, it makes you really happy,” Yonts said.

She attends quilting retreats and makes friends who also enjoy quilting. Most of her local quilting friends are in their 70s and 80s.

“They love to share their information,” she said.

But they would all like to see more younger people take up the art of quilting and appreciate the product, Yonts said.

“We have become such a disposable society. You see handmade quilts at yard sales for a quarter and some person put hours and hours of work into it,” she said.

Yonts has some very personal quilts of her own. Her grandmother quilted and Yonts was able to finish a quilt that her grandmother never finished.

“I gave it to my grandmother. But I got it back when she died and I keep it on my bed,” Yonts said.

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Information from: Texarkana Gazette, https://www.texarkanagazette.com


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