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The Ami Simms Newsletter
July 2001

Hello everyone and welcome to the July issue of the Ami Newsletter. By this time I was sure we'd be over the 10,000 subscribers mark, but apparently when I mentioned the celebration would include making some charity quilts, we lost about 600 readers!

Actually, I'm just kidding. I'm guessing that Yahoo has been counting all the "bounced" members in the tally. Those are the e-mail addresses that the system sends a newsletter to but for some reason they never reached the recipient. Yahoo keeps trying for several months and then periodically cleans house, and just removes them all. No matter, there are 9,416 of you and I’m grateful that each and every one of you is here. AND, I’m going to put you ALL to work!

I think we may qualify for some kind of record, that is if anyone is keeping track of the largest number of quilters invited to participate in a charity quilt project. I’d love it if you’d like to help and certainly won’t hold it against you if you don’t.

I’ve made it as easy as possible to participate, as there are multiple ways you can contribute your talents ranging from fun to painless. Details are at and all you have to do is scroll down the navigation bar until you reach HELP ME CELEBRATE, or click on the doggie blocks that Daisy designed. You can take it from there.

Daisy was picked up by a trainer and has moved on from Basic One to Basic Two. We are thrilled. I guess Basic Two is the equivalent to Canine First Grade. She's running with the big dogs now.

This month, instead of writing home, she's drafted a pattern for you. What a clever dog. Hopefully she'll write home again next month and send pictures. (See the “Celebrate” thing above.)

Even though Daisy hasn't had time to write, you may enjoy a letter from a reader's dog. Sparky has quite a way with words. His letter begins a new section on the page: LETTERS FROM OTHER DOGS If your pooch would like to add something, just send it to me in an e-mail. Cats are welcome also, of course.

Several more answers to your quilting questions have been posted including how to keep nylon thread from un-spooling uncontrollably, how to baste, how to make smaller quilting stitches, and how to weave straw into gold. (Just kidding on that last one. Wanted to make sure you were still paying attention.)

There are also a number of new quilts from readers on the web page, including quilts made by these talented and kind-hearted folks: Carol Bledsoe, Kathy Senn, Lois Monroe, Kathy Kansier, Margaret M, Linda Cox, Judy Roby, Karen Tice, Sandra K. Plummer, Yvonne Polinsky McCoy, Marlene Miller, Rose Yanai, Paula Moser-Spaulding, Donna Webber, Marylyn J. Lee, JoLynn O’Neil, Joyce Pittsenbargar, and Jerrianne Evans. Thanks for sharing your work with us!

A few more brave souls have sent in pictures of their stashes. Hats off to Pam in MN and Joan from Idaho. Chicken noises to the rest of you!

The new prize is up on the page too. If you're the lucky winner of this month's prize, you'll get of 64 fat quarters from Springs Industries to add to your stash. Your fabric will include cuts from their popular Black & White and Crayon Box Collections. All are 100% cotton and the colors that will go with just about everything. In addition to the 16 yards of fabric, you'll also receive a KING size batt of Warm & Natural. That's a full 124" x 120" of soft, 100% cotton batting for your next masterpiece. Good luck!

Of course any new prize means I’ve drawn for last month’s prize. Check to see if it’s YOU!

To find things easier on my web site and lots of other sites too, look for the SEARCH button on the navigation bar. Click it and a box will open. Type a name, a topic, a word, (whatever you are searching for) and up pops any entry that contains the words you typed. On my page, if more than several entries pop up, they will be ranked according to how close a match they might be to what you're looking for. Click one and see what you get. Instead of scrolling or reading through the whole document, try that CONTROL + F trick we talked about last time, typing in the words you're searching for. Try it; it’s fun.

Search the Conversational Fabric Database for new fabric this month: “Sweet Dreams” by P & B and “Butterfly Fantasy,” “Fashion Avenue,” “Suzie Q At The Farm,” “Suzie Q country Pleasure,” and “Suzie Q At The Zoo” all from Fabri-Quilt. They also have an adorable “Duckie” fabric you’ll just love.

Northcott is also represented with a slew of new fabric lines including “Ribbit,” “A Man For All Seasons,” “Good Night Santa, “Harvest Moon,” “The Wilderness Group,” “Horse Play,” and “Tea Party Bears.”

I’m looking for replacement swap hostesses for the F8 Overall Prints swap and the Adult Fabric Swap. E-mail me AFTER August 1 if you are interested in volunteering.

Terri writes: “While enjoying my very first newsletter, I got a chuckle out of the "bread tag colors". As the wife of a "Bread Man" - I called him in to read your note. Those colors refer only to 1 of the 3 major bread companies in the country. I am not at liberty to give his color combinations, but if you judge ALL bread by it's tag color you will be missing out on some very good bread!! (See the interesting things you can learn reading this newsletter?)

Doris K has already seen the updated top page on my site this month and shares this tidbit: “I was at a sewing shop and they had a similar jar of thread that they fill with bobbin thread, when they want to change color. They just unwind it and put it in the jar. … Then they put the thread between two layers of water soluble stabilizer and use more thread to make fabric out of it!”

Has anybody tried this one? Evidently you no longer have to browse pages to find the latest updates. You can visit www.spyonit.com and set things up so it constantly monitors your favorite web page and alerts you to any changes. Anybody want to try it out and report back? Maybe Doris has already tried it….

When I visited London in 1987 I bought a $27 pencil at Herrod’s Department Store. Hey, it was “automatic” and darn nice. Don’t forget, those were the days when quilters used pencils to draft patterns on graph paper, trace around ratty cardboard templates, mark hand-piecing lines and quilting motifs. A woman needed a good pencil!

What made me part with that much money for ONE pencil? First I have an inordinately strong attraction to office supplies. Second, converting from British pounds (which should be used to weigh things for crying out loud) to dollars requires math. Need I say more? Third, my mother was egging me on. And fourth, we had just come from Herrod’s basement grocery where I was given a plastic ice cube from the caviar display case. (It’s the little things in life, folks….)

Not only was the ice cube super cool (but not in the least bit cold) but the pencil was extraordinary. The lead advanced automatically. You didn’t have to push a button, twist or click anything, the pencil knew. All by itself! As you wrote, it sensed the pressure upon the lead and pushed out more as you needed it. Hey $27 was a flipping bargain.

I used that pencil, marveling at its intelligence each time I squiggled a line, all the way until it ran out of eraser. Wore it right off, I did. Would have to go back to England to buy a replacement. No way I could rationalize airfare for that. It still sits in my desk drawer next to the 14-year-old plastic ice cube.

Ever on the lookout for a replacement I have since found something even better. It’s called the SenseMatic automatic pencil and while I don’t recommend marking fabric with pencil (too hard to get out) this baby is fantastic for drafting patterns, doodles, grocery lists, love letters, and balancing the checkbook. The line always stays the same width, you never have to sharpen it, it comes with a built in eraser, and somehow it KNOWS whenever you need more lead. (There is a little man inside who pushes it out.)

Plus you never had to get your fingers messy loading lead or buying replacement erasers. The SenseMatic automatic pencil is disposable. You throw it away when the lead is gone. What will they think of next?!

Lower minimums maybe. I had to buy a gross. That’s another strange unit of measure, undoubtedly British in origin, that translates into WAY too many for one person to use. You may search your local office supply store for this handy pencil, or you can purchase them from my personal stash at .

Thanks again for tuning in. Have a great quilting day and look skywards on Wednesday July 25, as I will be flying to Los Angeles to tape another segment of Simply Quilts. I’ll be waving at you. Meanwhile, enjoy the web site this month. Cheers,

Ami Simms