February 2004

Warning: this is an OLD newsletter. Time marches on; things change. Information may be outdated, irrelevant, misleading or incorrect. (That means links, which are down at the bottom, may not work either. Unless it sends you to a porno site I won't fix it so don't tell me.) To get on the list to receive the next current newsletter, hit the BACK arrow on your browser and enter your e-mail address in the box on the previous page. You'll get the next issue. If you absolutely can't figure it out then e-mail me. It's free! What are you waiting for?

The Ami Simms Newsletter
February 2004
Copyright by Ami Simms

Have you had enough winter yet? My hand is raised. The last dumping was a full 8 inches of snow. Poor Madison was up to his armpits. I haven't picked up poop-sicles from the backyard in weeks.

I'm going to be on TV again. This time I'm a guest on the new show hosted by Jodie Davis called "Friends In The Bee." Certainly not your typical quilting show. First off, they came to me! (Which meant I actually had to clean the house. OK, maybe not clean, but just pick up the big pieces.) Second, you'll get more than a glimpse of my in-home studio. I don't think they ever turned the cameras off. They shot SIX HOURS of tape for a 20-minute segment. Third, this is as close to a "reality" quilting show as you're going to get. We even visited a local pizzeria and Jodie and I made REAL pizzas. I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

If you live in the Flint area, plan on joining me when the show is broadcast. On PAX no less. We're all going to meet at Ruggeros on Linden Road and eat pizza. Stay tuned. I'll tell you when as soon as I know the air date. Meanwhile, you'll just have to be satisfied with a picture. Go to: (I'm the one who looks like the deer in the headlights.)

So did you win? Have you checked the previous prizes page? I have some unclaimed prizes. Please take a look and see if you're a winner. If you've entered go look, it could be YOU!!!

This month you get a chance to win a BlockButler™. Brainchild of Janet de Carteret, this portable design wall system is made of a special double-sided tacky material so the BlockButler sticks to walls, windows, or smooth surfaces without special fasteners, rods, or pins. It's perfect for workshops if you're tired of your flannel-backed plastic tablecloth falling on your head. The BlockButler is lightweight, repositionable, reusable, portable, and hand washable. Two lucky winners this month will each win a 6'x 6' BlockButler.

Visit the BlockButler web site at Enter to WIN COOL STUFF at

This has been such a popular item that we've had a lot of trouble keeping them in stock. We're re-stocked now with eight different colors. They make wonderful gifts for your friends and for yourself. Because they go fast, please write an alternate color selection in the comment section of your order.

We just got our re-order in and they're going fast too. Don't delay on this one. We've got gray, green, and white in stock now. The orange are on backorder.

Thanks for the extra month's reprieve in getting the last installment of the Dog-Yeared Mystery Block of the Month Calendar Quilt finished. No wonder it took me an extra month: just typing that all out took 5 minutes! Your patience gave me time to add something really special to the back. If you're a regular subscriber, please make sure you've received your email and attachment. If not, CLEAN OUT YOUR MAILBOX, and THEN contact Debbie at MalleryPress@aol.com.

Anyone still interested, you've got until February 15 to order the entire series, and then it goes off the website for a while. So, if you missed the boat, start swimming. See

You can now purchase subscriptions to Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting Magazine on my website. This is a bi-monthly magazine with great patterns and features. Ordering a subscription through me will save you $10 off the individual copy price. Look under the GIFTS tab on the left hand side of every page, or go directly to

Dirt Cheap Template Material. If you need it, I've got it. And the price sure is right. See it at

Pinocchio Tape Measure. If you loved the cow tape measure, you'll love this. Straight from Gepetto's workshop comes a Pinocchio version. Pull his nose and out comes the tape measure. His nose grows and grows… up to 60" long! See them both at

You'll get a free pattern with every order through the end of February. Susan Fuquay, editor of the American Quilt Retailer has allowed us to copy and distribute her adorable (and super-easy) "Slash a Stash" pattern. Choose six different pairs of fabric (light/dark or colorA/colorB) to make Block Centers and Block Borders. Buy 1/4 yd of six different fabrics for Block Centers. Buy 5/8 yd of six different fabrics for Block Borders. (Just in case you want to go shopping for Pizza and Pie fabric to arrive with your pattern.) The finished quilt is approximately 67" x 78".

I've just come back from a wonderful time in Erie, PA. I'll be hitting the road again this month to teach at Elly Sienkiewicz's "Applique Academy" in Williamsburg, VA. In March I'll be at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show, and April will take me to Honolulu, HI for the Pan Pacific Show & Conference. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it! :)

For contact information, see Workshops & Lectures on my web site or go directly to

I had some interesting delays both on my way to Erie and on my way home again. Bad weather had me sitting in airports for very long times in both directions. I had a terrific time on the way home, even though two of my flights were cancelled. That's because I was able to knit both in the airport and on the plane!

Yes friends, it is indeed permissible to bring size 13 wooden knitting needles on board an airplane! No fooling. Who needs an air marshal? Not only could I have skewered any attackers with my 13" long bamboos, I could have tied him up afterwards with any portion of the 300 yards of yarn I brought along to keep the needles company. The only thing I could not have done was use my toenail clippers to cut the yarn. Those are still illegal. Go figure.

So what was I knitting, you ask? Well every fourth woman in Erie, PA was sporting a scarf made with "hairy" yarn called Fun Fur or Eyelash. My new best friend, Char, gave me a scarf after I went ga-ga over the ones my students were wearing in my workshops. Surprisingly soft, in spite of the yarn "spikes" that stick out in all directions, these narrow scarves are the newest craze in Erie, fashion scarf capitol of the world. I was taken to a craft store in Erie and instantly made friends with every woman in the yarn aisles as we all suggested yarn combinations to each other, debated the merits of bamboo needles over metal, and complimented one other on our current neckwear. (I was, after all wearing a Char Original.) It was a hoot! Fun Fur and Eyelash skeins were practically flying off the shelves. Think feeding frenzy.

I'm not sure which way the trend will spread, but I intend to help push it along. I finished two scarves on the way home and went out last night to buy MORE YARN. My daughter wanted a new hat, but since I don't know how to make those and I was offering a free scarf (I get so bored on planes) she's going to settle. I told her worse comes to worse, she can take the scarf and wrap it around her head several times. I'd make it real long. She declined.

The Erie Scarf is easy to make. First ask someone in Erie to "cast on" for you. I'm sure knitters in other parts of the country can do this for you also, but I say go to Erie and ask the experts. (I had no clue. The last time I knitted was in 10th grade and I got a C in Chemistry, the class during which I elected to knit.) For scarf #2 (begun in the airport) I was in Erie already, so naturally I asked the first woman I saw and she "cast on" for me.

If you're just going to use the "hairy" yarn and make a narrow scarf, go for 12 stitches. Use size 11 bamboo needles. If you want to add a second yarn (knobby/fuzzy) increase the needle size to #13 needles. I made mine wide and gargantuan (long flights) so I had two yarns, size 13 needles, and 20 stitches. I forgot that knitted stuff stretches, especially if the clown next to you is sitting on the tail of your scarf when you try and exit your seat to get off the plane. I used 3 skeins of "hairy" yarn, and probably could have gotten by with less, but I don't mind a scarf down to my knees. The actual knitting part is simple. Knit, knit, knit. No pearl. No fancy stuff. Count stitches from time to time to make sure you haven't lost any, and try not to poke the person in the next seat. There might be printed "destructions" on the inside of the yarn wrappers, but I got my directions from Callie. She's from Erie, so she knows!

To see the scarves I made go to

And if you know where I can find size 11 or size 13 bamboo needles that are shorter than 13" long, let me know. I'll make you such a deal…

I've finally gotten to the pile of quilts that have come in for the Charity Auctions. Wait until you see them. Simply Amazing! Thank you so much for the talent you're willing to share on behalf of Leader Dogs For the Blind and Paws With A Cause. Hugs all around.

See the new additions at:

Tail wags and sloppy dog kisses to Toni Vesper, Holly Anderson, and the Hands All Around Guild in Erie for their generous contributions of block and bucks. Want to help? Visit:

There are some wonderful quilts up for auction this time around. I think you'll really enjoy them. Remember, all the proceeds go to a very good cause. Actually, two! Leader Dogs for the Blind, and Paws With A Cause. Please visit the auction page and bid generously. Start here:

Margo Ellis' shares her Dog-Yeared Quilt at Nancy Ingram wonders What Were They Thinking?! Take a look at this shoe tree:

Well, that's it for the February installment. Have a terrific Valentine's Day. As always, if you enjoyed this newsletter, please pass it along to all your friends. All I ask is that you pass ALL of it, especially that part about them being able to sign up for their very own free copy at

I'll see you next time,
Ami Simms

Taping Friend in the Bee
Order Dog-Yeared BOM
Love of Quilting Magazine
Dirt Cheap Template Material
Pinocchio Tape Measure
Ami's Teaching Schedule
The Erie Scarf
Charity Quilts
Puppus Doggus "free" pattern
Margo's Dog-Yeared quilt
Shoe Tree?
Sign up for Ami's Newsletter
Ami's Web Page

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