Update: April 26, 2020

I have decided to leave my previous "About Me" section below this update, rather than attempt to erase or rewrite who I was and where I have come from.

To give you a more recent glimpse into my life, I am a mother to four, one of which will be graduating in about two weeks, while the youngest will be entering kindergarten in the fall. I was a stay at home (work from home) mother for 15 years, until 2016 when life changes required that I return to work.

While home raising my children, I built a quilting business (chronicled here in this blog) that allowed me to long arm machine quilt for clients all over the country, to lecture and teach quilting, to write about quilting for magazines, to have my work included in books, to co-design pantograph patterns (still available at Urban Elementz I should add), and to share my creativity with a large and diverse quilting community.

When venturing back into the professional world, I fell sort of backwards into a position as a legal assistant. The experience exposed me to the legal profession, and in many ways opened my eyes to the world. After some time in that role I decided to return to college, finish my undergraduate degree, and pursue law school. One of these days I will talk more about that, because the decision sounds quick and easy here as I write this, but it was a long agonizing process to finally get to the point of saying out loud, "I'm going to go to law school". I went back and forth many times and had to work to find the confidence within myself to make that decision.

I am on track (two weeks to be exact) to finish my Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Kent State University, and I have accepted an offer of admission from the University of Akron's Law School. This is another long and interesting story I may someday elaborate more on, as the process of preparing for and applying to law schools took me more than a year to complete. I feel as though I was rewarded with choices for my preparation and hard work, but things did not go quite how I anticipated. I am thrilled however at the final outcome, as I feel like Akron is going to be an excellent fit for me.

Currently, I am no longer accepting quilts, and while I still hope to find time to be creative and document some of that creativity here, I am not entirely sure what the future will hold. I have some ideas. People love to ask me what kind of law I would like to go into on the other side of law school - the truth is that question is so big I could not possibly answer it at this point in my journey. There are several areas of great interest to me, and the inevitable curse of mid-life is the desire to create meaning in all that we do. So I am devoted to the idea of doing something I find intellectually rewarding and yet - something beneficial to society and my community. Another blog post? Maybe. As I gain more exposure to areas of law and find more certainty in my path, I will share that with you.

For now, I am still here. Things look quite different, but I can tell you that I am a mother first, an incredibly creative and inquisitive heart second, and now a law student. The rest we will have to figure out as it comes!

Thank you for visiting!

- Valerie


Previous About Me Section Below:


Hello and a very warm welcome!

My name is Valerie, and it is likely you found your way here to this website/blog because you like quilting. Well, I like quilting too!

I have been quilting since around age 23, and sewing since I can remember. I will let you do the math - but you could say that I have been quilting now for 14 years.

I began free motion quilting shortly after purchasing first sewing machine - and things took off from there.  My passion evolved from piecing to dabbling in free motion quilting to full on intense heirloom quilting on my sit down domestic home sewing machine.  In 2013, to further my creative pursuits beyond what I was capable with my sit down machine and I purchased a 1999 APQS Ultimate 1 long arm.

"Eunice" as my machine was affectionately called, was the great start to long arm quilting I needed - a bare bones workhorse and non-stitch regulated machine, this was how I began building my dreams!  In a relatively short amount of time I was able to build a solid quilting foundation and begin quilting for others.  Many of the client tops that were quilted on Eunice have won ribbons and cash awards at guild and regional shows.  Two of my clients quilts were recently juried into MQX East and will be seen hanging on display with some of the best quilters in the machine quilting world this spring.  I was even able to win my very own first national award at MQX Midwest this past fall with a trio of whole cloth stockings that were entirely quilted with my APQS Ultimate 1.

As my ideas have grown so have the immense possibilities.  I was fortunate to have one of my quilting designs published in Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine and it even traveled with Meander Publishing all the way to Houston last fall to hang in the booth on display with some of the most well known quilters around.  In addition, I was given the incredible opportunity to collaborate with Patricia Ritter of Urban Elementz to create a number of pantograph designs to be used with long arm quilting machines.  It has been an incredible journey for which I am incredibly grateful, and with luck, with no end in sight!

In March of 2015 after longing for some of the upgraded features of the newer machines I decided to upgrade Eunice for a slightly newer (2000) APQS Millennium.  The children and I have lovingly named her "Millie Mouse" in honor of our fondness for all things Disney.  I have high hopes for Millie and the leg up in my art form that she will allow me.  In the upcoming years I have big dreams and bigger goals to set out and accomplish, and I am excited at what lies ahead.

I am incredibly grateful to the people who trusted me early on in this process before I had anything to show to prove that I could do it.  I can say with all truth that I love my job and the people I am so fortunate to get to work with!

I would be honored to quilt for you!

- Valerie
Updated December, 2018


RetiredRN said...

You are the bomb! You are one of the most artistic people that I have had the pleasure to. Your quilts are amazing as is your long arm quilting. Ashtabula is very lucky to have one of the best long arm professional quilters right in our own back yards. ADD or ADHD....it doesn't matter. Just keep on keeping on!

Wade MacMorrighan said...

Fab Blog! Could you please post a tutorial on making a Celtic knot with your bias binding/ strips? I'd love to learn how to do that for some future projects of my own.

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

Deanna - (ReiredRN) - Thank you!!! That TRULY means so very much to me!!! I love long arm quilting and am passionate about quilting and art in general...I am so happy to be able to share that love here and to meet wonderful people like you here as well!!!

Wade - you are a "no-reply" blogger my friend so I hope you return to find this comment! Thank you so very much for your kind comment!! Right now I'm bogged down with custom quilts and preparing quilts for shows...but as soon as I get some free time to work on a tutorial that will be the very first one I do! :)

Anonymous said...

I finished a rag quilt I was making for a friend this weekend. It turned out great! I washed it a couple times to get the raging started and then decided to wash it one more time before I gave it to her. I pulled it out of the dryer and it had split in half. I sewed it back together and washed it again. It completely fell apart. A total loss! You can rip the squares off like a piece of perforated paper. I discovered that the thread I was using is 100% rayon 40wt. I guess it’s used for embroidery and stuff like that. NOT QUILTING! I think I was drawn to the Sulky brand because it was shiny. It also said on the top that it is Silky, Shiny, Strong & Washable. I am a novice at sewing and I guess I thought thread was thread. To say that I am sick to my stomach is a total understatement. So off to the fabric store I went again last night to get more fabric and 100% cotton quilting thread. Have you ever heard of this happening? I wish I would have read your blog before I started making my raq quilts.

Diana Farrow said...

I posted the comment above. Didn't mean for it to be anonymous.

Diana Farrow

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

Diana - I am so sorry about your rag quilt! I would be just sick to my stomach! :( I sent you an email, however for anyone else reading...yes I have experience with rayon, but I only use it for embelishing. Unfortunately rayon is a very very weak thread and I wouldn't trust it to hold my quilt together be it through piecework or quilting. I'm so sorry about your experience...save that rayon for a fun artsy project and find a new piecing thread. I have heard great things about Masterpiece by Superior Threads or Aurifil - both are 50 wt. cotton threads...finer so that they don't add bulk to your piecework. Good luck! ;)

Diana Farrow said...

Thanks Valerie! I will look for your email. Haven't seen it yet. I appreciate the information on the rayon thread. A very hard lesson learned. You would not believe how horrible it was to pull my beautiful quilt out of the dryer in pieces. Oh well,on to the next one. :)

Anonymous said...

You are a quilting artist! What type of long arm quilting machine are you using? I would like to have one strictly for my own enjoyment--but can't talk myself into spending so much money.

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

Anonymous poster - thank you!!! I have an older APQS ultimate 1 quilting machine. I stay home with my three daughters so while I wanted one for myself first and foremost, it has been a real blessing allowing me to generate an income while still spending time with my kids. Used they are about the cost of a lower end car...it's an investment, but for me it has been one of the best purchases I ever made! :)