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