Generosity personified


For those of you who don’t know Dave LaValley, you should. He is one of the most kind, compassionate and generous men I have ever met in my life. Period. Allow me to introduce you to him.

Dave is the owner of Bittersweet Fabrics and has carried on the traditional of excellence in the family business started by his parents many years ago. As one of the top-selling Janome dealers across the country, he is also the Diamond sponsor for the Vermont Quilt Festival held in Burlington, VT, each year in June. I have been teaching and judging the contest at VQF for many years and it is truly one of the highlights of my year! Along with many other wonderful things happening at VQF, I think the best moment is during the Awards Ceremony, held on Thursday evening before the show preview night begins. Many years ago Dave began a fantastic tradition of providing each and every youth contestant their very own sewing machine! The machines are covered with fabric at the front of the stage when the Awards Ceremony begins. After each of the youth contestants are called on stage by name, the fabric is pulled away and all those sewing machines are revealed! Dave then personally hands out the machines — one by one — and it is a moment that brings cheers, thunderous applause, a standing ovation, tears of joy, and photography flashes from the audience that would make the paparazzi envious! It is the BEST MOMENT of VQF. I cry every single year. The look of complete wonder and amazement on the faces of the youngsters is enough to make any heart melt. Their eyes are as wide as saucers! Some of the little ones (this year the youngest was 3 1/2!) are so tiny the machines are almost bigger than they are! And like so many other years, Dave gave away 36 sewing machines! What you also need to know (and what Dave would never tell you) is that he does this out of the kindness and generosity of his heart and his own pocket. This is his contribution to future generations. Because of his efforts hundreds of children and teens have been given not only the gift of their very own sewing machine, but the gift of encouragement. And as we all know, encouragement is priceless. So thank you, Dave. For your generosity. For having a vision for future generations. For being YOU.





I feel so very fortunate Dave personally requests me to teach in his Janome sponsored classrooms every year at VQF. And this year was extra special because we were one of the very first classrooms anywhere in the US to have the brand new 9400 machines to use! The students LOVED the ease of these machines, and they are by far, the most quiet  sewing machine I have ever used! I taught classes for four days to completely sold out classes of 24 students and even when all 24 machines were stitching it was still incredibly quiet in the room. Amazing!

Enjoy the scenes from my classroom and VQF!


The “A” Team! Latifah Saafir, myself, and Nancy Burg


Martha and Suzanne. Two of my long-time students, and all-time funny gals!


Students were busy, busy!






Thank you, thank you, Dave, Latifah, Nancy, all the wonderful folks at Janome and to all my amazing students!!! See you all next year!


  1. This article warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. What a legacy Dave is to the industry!

  2. I truly wish I lived in the area so i could join you all, I have a Janome 15000 and I LOVE it but miss my ladies that I used to sew with when I lived in Fklorida.

  3. wow. very inspirational. Thanks for sharing his story.

  4. Dave LaValley is the best. Very nice piece on this wonderful man!

  5. Thank you for this heartfelt tribute to one of the nicest men I know.

  6. My 12 yea old neighbor is the recipient of one of those machines. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, David LaValley. She is a child who needs encouragement and I work more on that than teaching sewing. With a machine of her own, the world is her oyster and she will go forth and conquer the world.

  7. I met Dave a number of years ago while he was helping out his dad and mom at Bittersweet Fabric Shop make their transitions to try retirement. I was taking lessons from Audrey as I had purchased a Janome. What a wonderful lady, and her son is the best also, carrying on the tradition at the homestead. Thanks for this article, Dave deserves all the accolades. Truly an inspiration to us all. Love you Dave, wish I lived closer as my machine needs a good cleaning. 🙂

  8. A lovely person, great to hear good news stories. I’d love the opportunity to be in a class like the one above, but 3000 miles is a bit too far …smile

  9. How wonderful and great to see boys participating, too.

  10. Oh to live in that wonderful country. I love 10,000 miles away.

  11. Thank you, Kim for the lovely photos! Just reading the article and seeing the excited faces of those youngsters made me tear up! That’s it, I’ve made up my mind – I’m going next year!

  12. How sweet! Thanks for the great post.

  13. What an amazing experience Kimberly. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  14. As Dave’s sister, I must say I wish I had been able to attend the show. Dave has done this for several years now. Mom and Dad are smiling on him now. Someday I will make the trip and get to see the wishes to all the recipients. Quilting is such fun, and therapeutic, too! Way to go, Dave.

  15. Love this article. My great grand aught er 4year old sews on her pink janome while I sew on my janome 9400. I love it

  16. I just want to say a Big Thank you to Kimberly and the Janome Family.
    It is not just me , but my entire staff and the Janome/Elna family.
    Kim you are such a fantastic educator and FRIEND..
    Thank you

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