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The Ami Simms Newsletter
Copyright March 2004
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
I saw sunshine today, it's a balmy 44 degrees, and the snow is starting to melt! It's going to be a great day, even if they're predicting snow for tomorrow! I'm so happy you're here to join me. Close that window, will ya?!
If you're not happy to be here, scroll all the way to the bottom for removal instructions. If you are and think a friend might enjoy this issue, please forward the whole thing and tell them they can subscribe or read past and current issues at:
SPRING IS AROUND THE CORNER
I don't know anything about the rodent in Puxatawney nor how much longer we have to wait, but in the spirit of primitive cultures everywhere, I'm not taking any chances. It's time to dye my underwear. Yes, as everyone knows, that's what brings spring back every year. I've long confessed to wearing hand-dyed underwear and now it's time to let you in on the fun. See:
OTHER WAYS TO CELEBRATE
The third Saturday in March is National Quilting Day! What will YOU do to celebrate? To help plan for March 20th, here are some ideas:
The National Quilting Association, thinker-uppers of National Quilting Day, has issued a "Four-Patch for '04" challenge. Quilters are invited to make a service quilt that includes 35 4-patch blocks (in honor of NQA's 35th anniversary). Give the finished quilt to the charity of your choice, but send a photo of what you did. Photos, and other information you send will wind up on an album to be displayed at the NQA booth at the NQA Show in Peoria, IL on June 24-26, 2004. See and scroll down for more details.
To honor National Quilting Day (again, March 20) join in a chocolate-themed Scavenger Hunt. The questions will be announced on March 16 and the answers will be found on the pages of the all sorts of fun websites, mine included. The deadline for submitting the answers is March 23 and you don't even have to get them all right! Two first prize-winners will be selected from all the correct answers. Everyone who didn't win a first prize will be eligible for a second prize, whether or not they answered all the questions correctly. Is this cool or what? And you should see all the second prizes! Go ahead, see them:
Who knew there were so many closet knitters reading this QUILTING newsletter? Thank you all (and I almost mean all 12,000 of you) for telling me about circular needles. I did buy a pair, but got the kind with a yard and a half of plastic wire between the two needles. Every time I flipped it around for the next row it smacked me in the nose. The tension on them never did relax, so I returned them.
Never fear. My husband, bless his heart, came to the rescue. He offered to chop my 13" needles down to size. He was going to then attempt to re-attach just the ends with glue, electrical tape, and a long screw down the center, probably with a bolt at the end. I tried to explain that the yarn would probably catch on the electrical tape, but he started getting teary-eyed when I suggested (very gently) that the 3" screw and matching lug nuts might make the ends a tad too heavy. I stopped, marked the place where I hoped he would cut, and grabbed them before he could "finish the job." Then, I took two nerf-type golf balls (one yellow, one red) and jammed them on the cut ends. Works like a charm. Plus, I can find them at night.
I also got numerous other suggestions for getting the right knitting needles. These suggestions ran the gamut from making my own out of wooden dowels from Home Depot and whittling the points with a sharp knife (get a life, people) to buying the Cadillac of needles: Casein Coloureds. These Australian babies are made from EDIBLE milk protein. Yet another way to get my calcium, perhaps. Read more about these needles at
Pat Knight in Des Moines, Iowa and her buddies invented a recipe for the fun fur scarves for those who prefer to crochet instead of knot. Grab your size P hook and try it out:
Crocheted Fun Fur Scarf
2 balls Fun Fur
1 skein sport yarn (3 ply) in a matching or coordinating color
1 Size P crochet hook
Using one strand of Fun Fur and one of sport yarn, chain 14.
Turn and DC into third chain from hook.
DC across (should have 12 stitches).
Chain 3 and turn.
DC into 2nd stitch from end.
Keep crocheting this way until you have used both balls of Fun Fur. You probably will have just
a little of the sport yarn left. Pull yarn through the last stitch and weave ends back through to hide. Note: If you want a wider scarf, chain more than 14. The scarf will not be as long.
ARE YOU IN A HELPING MOOD?
Mary Jane Krysiak suggested that anyone who would like to donate a scarf or who would like to purchase a scarf and help a good cause head over to the Stitches For Zachary site, benefiting a youngster in New York. Go to:
Take a look at the directions for making knitted chemo caps out of this wild fuzzy yarn. Go to
And if you want to stick with quilting, Quilt For The Cure could always use your help. See them at:
Quilting Angels has begun their 2004 Spring Raffle for Quilting Angels. This is a stunning quilt and a great cause. See
And, of course, I certainly wouldn't mind if you headed over to eBay.com and bid on six quilts I just put up for auction to benefit Leader Dogs For the Blind and Paws With A Cause. These were all made by readers of this newsletter. Please support their efforts. Quilts #43, #62, #114, #116, #117, and #118 are on the auction block now. Please bid generously at:
If you're going to dye-paint your underwear, you'll need some Setacolor. Here's a starter kit with 6 colors. Use them as is, or mix them like watercolor paints. They're easy to work with and the results are spectacular. No experience necessary. If you can pour liquid, wring out wet fabric, and clean up after yourself, then you can do this. See Setacolor at:
Here's the ultimate pin catcher. This thing is huge! It holds more pins than any other magnetic pin catcher I've ever seen. Smart, sleek, and extremely practical, this is one sewing notion you won't want to be without. Heavy duty. See the Mega Magnetic Pin Catcher at
Omnigrid just recently came out with one of the nicest pairs of scissors I've seen for tight, close cutting. Stray threads and little fabric feathers won't ever be a problem with these lethally sharp, pointed scissors. See
Quilt Designs From Decorative Floor Tiles is Chris Porter's new book, and if you've ever pointed your camera at the floor on purpose, you're in for a treat. Great quilt patterns, a little history, super photographs, and more ideas than you can shake a stick at. Here's a woman after my own heart. See Chris' new book at:
All orders through the end of the month will get a complimentary quilt pattern, courtesy of American Quilt Retailer. You don't even have to ask for it! Not sure about ordering online? Check out what other people say about us at
WIN COOL STUFF
Are you ready to win? I've got four copies of The Electric Quilt Company's STASH-FALL 2003 to give away to four lucky PC-users with a CD-ROM drive and Windows 95 or later. Could that be you? Design your next quilt using over 5,800 fabrics from 33 manufacturers, including my very own "Pizza Party" from Troy Corporation. Enter now:
Blocks or buck? Thanks go out this month to "Sugar" who paid for her "almost free" Puppus Doggus pattern. It's free to download, but if you use it you owe me a block or a buck for Leader Dogs For The Blind. See
See Debbie Newman's String Quilt at:
See Tom Russell's Puppus Doggus quilt at:
See Vallery Gorenflo's Twisted Sisters at:
See Jan Palin's Picture Play Quilt at:
Lori Vickery wonders WHAT were they thinking?
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
As you read this I'll be packing for the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in Bloomington, Indiana. I'll be there from March 4-6. I'll be teaching some classes, participating in a Q & A session on being a roving quilt teacher, and showing my early quilts (with all the mistakes) in lecture form. If you need some toilet reading, that last presentation also comes in book form. See "How NOT To Make A Prize-Winning Quilt at
After that, I'll be finishing one of my Pie a la Mode quilts to exhibit at the Pan Pacific Quilt Show & Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. I even get to hand deliver it since I'll be teaching String Quilting, Invisible Applique, and Twisted Sisters there too. (It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.) I don't want to stick out like some tourist, so I'm shopping around for some coconuts to wear. If you'll be in the islands April 2-4, come say Aloha.
I'll be home during the month of May, unless Madison convinces me to take him on a road trip. Somewhere south. He's fixated on I-75. He wants to visit quilt shops and demonstrate his ability to sleep near fabric. Silly doggus.
The my teaching schedule with contact information at
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Thanks for reading all the way to the very end. You may award yourself two bonus points and take a Fat Quarter out of petty cash.
I'll be hiding in your e-mailbox on April 1st. (No fooling!) Until then, celebrate your gifts and talents and make it a great quilting day!
Ami's Free Newsletter
Dye Your Underpants!
National Quilt Day Challenge
Casein Knitting Needles
Donate or Buy a Scarf
Knitted Chemo Cap Instructions
Quilt For The Cure
Quilting Angels Raffle
Our Charity Quilts on ebay.com
Dye-paint with Setacolor
Mega Magnetic Pin Catcher
Omnigrid 4" Scissors
What Others Say
Win Cool Stuff
Almost Free Quilt Pattern
Debbie Newman's String Quilt
Tom Russell's Puppus Doggus Quilt
Vallery Gorenflo's Twisted Sisters Quilt
Jan Palin's PPQ
What Were They THINKING?!
How NOT To Make A Prize-Winning Qulit
Ami's Teaching Schedule
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
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