About the Artist

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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 and I’ve been teaching there since 2022. 

Artist Statement

I am intrigued by the interaction of color, line and pattern and enjoy creating movement, drama and depth in my quilts.  I try to incorporate my faith into the quilts I make and donate a lot of quilts to charity.  I am particularly drawn to scrap quilts and color arranged in rainbow order.  

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 Bethanne Nemesh, 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.

What is my Art Quilting Experience?Artist Member

I really enjoy art quilting and have taken classes with many amazing instructors, including Esterita Austin, Sue Benner, Susan Carlson, Lenore Crawford, Meri Enrique-Vahl, Patty Hawkins, Ursula Kern, Gloria Loughman, Ruth McDowell, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Vicki Pignatelli, Jane Sassaman and Joen Wolfrom.  I’m a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).

What is my Quilting Involvement?

I am a member of the following guilds:
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.