About the Artist

Hello!  I am Julia Graves and I have been sewing since I was ten. I have always loved fabric and sewing and needle arts in general and the whole creative process!
I did my apprenticeship as a quilter by making a quilt for each of my nieces and nephews (I should have counted them all before I made this promise to them – there were 35!).  They got to choose their colors, so I greatly expanded my repertoire of color schemes!
Since then, I have made many quilts for special people, incorporating various ways to let them know how much they were cared for.  I especially enjoy color and incorporate information on color into as many classes as I can.  A highlight of my career so far has been as Artist in Residence at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar CA in 2019.  I will be an instructor there teaching Amazing Abstracts in 2021 (See pg 13 in their catalog) and again in April 2022.  I am also teaching with Live Online Quilt Classes.

Why Special Occasion Quilts?

From these experiences, I decided to start Special Occasion Quilts, LLC so that I could help others create a one-of-a-kind expression of their caring. Each Special Occasion quilt is designed and created to express the essence of the recipient and the love in the relationships. It is a great joy to see how touched people are when they receive something crafted specially for them.

Why did I Start Quilting for Others?

As soon as people heard I had a longarm and saw my work at guild meetings, they started asking me to quilt for them.  I started taking classes and found that I loved the creative aspect of stitching the quilt together.

While I also do all over quilting and heirloom quilting, my sweet spot is light to moderate custom quilting.  I like to follow the piecing and create designs that bring out the beauty of the quilt at an affordable price.

What Kind of Longarm Training have I Had?

I keep up with the latest trends and techniques in quilting.  My training includes:
  • Private classes with Karen McTavish in Heirloom Quilting, Trapunto and McTavishing
  • Hands on classes with Margaret Soloman Gunn, Myrna Ficken and Linda Taylor
  • Design classes with Lisa Calle and Gina Perkins
  • Demo classes with DeLoa Jones, Sue Patten, Sally Terry, Gina Perkins, Sharon Schamber, Jamie Wallen and Dawn Cavanaugh
  • APQS Factory maintenance training and Certified Technician

Why Did I Become an APQS Dealer?

I had several people rent my APQS longarm machine and decide they too wanted to own the best longarm in the world…  So I decided to become an APQS dealer.  I can help you decide which model is best for you and teach you how to operate and maintain it.  My husband and I are both APQS factory trained Certified Technicians and do service calls throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

Why did I start Teaching?

I love to talk about quilting and share my enthusiasm and knowledge with others.  I strive for a fun, informative and supportive classroom environment that enhances and celebrates the creativity in all of us.

Why did I become a Gem Affiliate?

I saw the work of MJ Kinman, Textile Artist, in a magazine and was blown away by her gem quilts.  See her work at www.mjkinman.com.  I asked about teaching her patterns, and she decided to start a Gem Affiliate program to train people on her technique and how to create the brilliance of her gems.  I went to the first class and am thrilled to add her patterns to my roster of classes focused on using color, value and design to bring your quilt to life!

What is my Quilting Involvement?

I am a member of the following guilds:

My charity quilting includes:

  • Joshua’s Hands and other groups making quilts for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Various hospitals and nursing homes
  • Pregnant teen moms, at risk youth
  • Though no longer a member, I quilted with Circle of Friends at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup MD – an interesting experience!
I am located in Leesburg Virginia.  See Contact Us page for location and directions.

Customer testimonials

Sharon P. (custom quilt) – Julia surpassed all my expectations!  My daughter’s t-shirt quilt is beautiful and beautifully quilted.
Claire C. (custom quilt)  – Julia did an amazing job – the quilt was just perfect for my son!
Carmie S. (custom quilting) – I love the detail – the quilting tied in with the “4 houses” on the quilt
Pat J. (longarm student) – Julia has a very soothing and calming voice and she helped me a lot during the class.
Fern B (custom quilting) – The quilt is gorgeous!  You did a fabulous job.  The designs you selected are perfect for the quilt.