Kristi Jons

My new Avante and some of my quilted recyle bags.

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I think I am a Handi Quilter Girl! I started sewing at age 9 in 4-H. I am a retired Home Economics teacher of 39 years. My favorite area of that career was always sewing and crafts but the quilting passion has come later in my life. I took my first quilting class in January of 1996 and hand quilted the sampler I made in that class. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had a need to churn out quilts at a faster pace so I took a machine quilting class. I quilted on my domestic machine long enough to know that #1- I liked to machine quilt and #2-big quilts entailed a lot of tugging and pushing. In 2001, I went to a Sioux Falls Quilt Guild quilt show. (I wasn’t a member at the time, now I’m a co-president.) I rounded one corner and saw Mary, the proprietor of my favorite sewing machine shop with a new gadget that I could clamp to a table, place my sewing machine on the surface and move my machine, not the fabric. I’ve never made a purchase so fast; I knew it was made for me. It was affordable--$600, I think-- and best of all I could set it up myself in my rather limited space. I bought an 8’ table and I was in business, so to speak. That was my first association with the Handi Quilter Company! I hadn’t formed a business at the time. I was still working and raising children but I quilted my quilts and for some of my friends. I found smaller quilts worked best with this system and was soon on the prowl for something bigger and better. By this time I was a very enthusiastic quilter. I was close to retirement and the children were pretty much on their own. The HQ Sixteen was now on the market for smaller quilters like me. I was holding my pocketbook pretty close to my chest but in 2004 I splurged and bought the HQ Sixteen machine and the professional table. My husband installed rollers so I could push the table back in the corner when not in use. Remember space is my issue! I happily quilted for myself and started a small retirement business quilting for others. When I didn’t have a quilt on the poles, I felt a little empty and recognized that practice was necessary. I hated to just waste fabric and batting so I combined my dislike for plastic bags with my need to quilt in a resolution, Jan., 2008 by making quilted recycling bags. I am able to practice new stitches and new techniques and when finished, sew them into a self designed generously sized bag. I try not to use new fabric in these bags—I use donations, batting bits and pieces, sheets and curtains from rummage sales, even outdated or ill fitting clothing. I give these bags away—to friends and family, and to some of my recurring customers—I currently give a bag to each new member of our SF quilt guild. I think I’ve given away over 250 at the time of this writing. Include pictures you say—not a problem! I keep a journal photo album of all my quilting and sewing projects—both my quilts and customer quilts. I put in names, dates, and quilt descriptions. I keep it digitally but also print the pages. To date, I’m on page 107 of the second album. It’s a great record of my quilting history. All this practice—my own quilts, customer quilts, charity quilts, and my bag quilting has helped me feel like a better quilter but I recognize there is more to learn! In June of 2010, the Handi Quilter bus came to Fonders Sewing in Sioux Falls where I had bought my first Handi Quilter operation. I sold my HQ Sixteen locally, my husband and I even delivered and set up our old system. It was nice to sell something that I could truly say was dearly loved. I still volunteer teach a bit—I help my customers with dilemmas and sometimes teach adults that want to develop quilting techniques. After so many years of working for a living, it’s kind of fun to be able to just give back. I do like to share my love of sewing and quilting. I think I’m happy now as a 3 X owner of Handi Quilter machines/systems—I’ve got the micro-handles and a little more quilting space. The HQ Pro-Stitcher is still out there—but don’t mention that to my husband. Thanks for the ride Handi Quilter. Kristi Jons

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

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