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The Ami Simms Newsletter
May 2000

Here we are again with another installment of the infamous newsletter. Thanks for clicking in. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you wish, or print out multiple copies and pass them out to your quilting guild or slip them under the windshield wipers of all the cars in the K-Mart parking lot.....

Don't forget our monthly chat on America Online on Thursday, May 25 from 9 to 10 p.m. EST in the AOL chat room. Come in and join the party! For those of you who would like to try out the eGroups.com chat room, I'll pop in after the chat on AOL, say about 10:00 or 10:15. EVERYONE can join that chat. Just go to www.egroups.com and find our Ami-Simms-Newsletter page, then scroll down the navigation bar to CHAT and click there.

Book #8, Picture Play Quilts is in the last stages of production. As far as I can see, the light in the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, so I'm very happy. We shot (as in photographed) the quilts a few weeks ago and they all appeared to be having good hair days. The photos turned out fantastic! Still hoping for a fall release. You'll hear more as information becomes available, but meanwhile.....

....to get a sneak preview of what all this PPQ stuff is about, take a peek at the new website: www.PicturePlayQuilts.com! It's up and running as of today. Right now it's still very small, but you can take a look at two of the quilts from the book. Future additions will include fabric swaps, quilt shop links, fabric searches, drawings for prizes, and a bunch of other neat stuff.

I'm looking for a few kind-hearted souls to test the patterns for the book. Having another set of quilting eyes proof the instructions and check the math always helps. You don't have to be an expert quilter, in fact, I'm looking for some beginners, some intermediate quilters, and some advanced quilters to give the patterns the "once over." There are no appliqued patterns, just pieced ones, and most are suitable for beginning quilters.

If you're interested, please email me by Monday, May 8. I will send you several patterns to test, plus instructions, via snail mail on May 13th. I will need to have the patterns returned to me via snail mail to arrive on or before May 30th. You'll get a free copy of the book, when it is published and my un- ending gratitude.

You will need to make a sample block, to check the pattern pieces and make sure they fit correctly, or really scrutinize the pattern of the overall or one-patch quilts. There will be several pages of text to read prior to working on the patterns, to make sure you understand what's up. I also need you to check the yardage, and all the other pesky numbers. Simple math stuff. The whole thing shouldn't take more than a few hours.

If you are interested you will need to respond before Monday, May 8 2000 via email. (Please don't send any requests after that time.) When you write to me:

1. Put GUINEA PIG in the subject line.
2. Include your name and mailing address (snail mail) written like you would address an envelope so all I have to do is cut it out and paste it on the envelope. (Lazy is lazy is lazy!)
3. Tell me about your quilting experience and anything else I should know.
4. Tell me how many patterns you'd like to test, if you'd like to do more than one.

If pattern testing isn't your cup of tea, but you still feel in a helping mood, send me the name and address of your local quilt shop. Email address too, if you know it. I'm updating my list. Thank you! (If you know of any quilts shops going OUT of business or changing names, that would be helpful also.....) Thank you!

...and, I'm toying with the idea of listing individuals or businesses who will quilt for others on my web page and possibly in the book. Any of you out there? Tell me who you are: name, address, email, website, years in business, experience (in # of quilts), references.

The sidewalk grates mentioned in last month's newsletter are near DELACEY Street in Pasadena! Duh! (That's why I was thinking of the old Cagney & Lacey TV show. Just didn't know why. Several of you have promised to make a pilgrimage there. One reader sent this concerning my memory:

Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"

"Outstanding," Fred replied. "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques: visualization, association, etc. It was great."

"That's great! And what was the name of the clinic?"

Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn't remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?"

"You mean a rose?"

"Yes, that's it!"

He turned to his wife, "Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?"

I'm off to Minneapolis on the 17th to participate in Spring Quilt Market. My mom's new line of fabric from Marcus Brothers will be shown for the first time. I'm so excited. Stop by School House and meet her on the 18th. Or come see us in the booth (until about 3pm) on the 19th. If you do stop by, please wish Mom a happy birthday! Imagine, starting a new career as a fabric designer at age 76!

After Minneapolis, I'll be winging my way to visit with the Belle Point Quilters Guild in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I'll be doing a hand applique workshop and one on photo-quilting, and another on making string quilts. I also get to do two lectures. For more information, contact Bonnie at turnerjb@gte.net

If you haven't already seen it, you'll be interested in what just might be the world's largest virtual quilt show coming to you from Australia on: www.quilts2000.org.au

Quilts 2000 is a project of Australian quilters to raise funds for the Paralympics which follow the Olympic Games in Sydney. Australia's best quilters and some who would just like to help have donated hundreds of quilts to be sold for the Paralympics.
(Thanks, Pat!)

Donna W. wrote several months ago and asked for some advice on making quilt labels, thinking that maybe she wasn't alone experiencing difficulties when trying to write on fabric. She suggested I compile a few hints and share them in the newsletter. Here you go, Donna:

1. Photo-transferring is always a painless option for signing quilts. Include the picture of the maker of the quilt on the back along with name, date, and origin. If you're really type "A" include laundering instructions!

2. . Stick with Pigma pens if you do any writing. The thicker ones are my personal favorites, and tend to glide over the fabric a little easier. Avoid other permanent markers which may, over time, leave a yellow halo around the writing.

3. Starch the fabric you're going to write on and iron it to freezer paper. That will stabilize it so the nib of the pen doesn't get stuck in the weave of the cloth.

4. If the quilt is already finished and you'd like to sign directly on the back, practice first, you'll be flying without a net! Stretch the quilt in a hoop before attempting to write on it, and a few chalk lines that will come out later might help keep your writing in straight lines.

5. Just don't feel like WRITING with a pen? How about embroidering the particulars. It doesn't have to be counted cross stitch. A simple chain stitch over your own handwriting is much more personal.

If you loved the PandaCam, you'll love this virtual safari. Cameras are set up at watering holes in various wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa. It refreshes about every 30 seconds, and even if the animals aren't thirsty, the scenery is awesome. You can even win prizes with photos you "take" on the site. Log onto www.africam.com for a fun time. Thanks to Kathy for sharing this one.

Looks like we're still on track for receiving our Leader Dog puppy this summer. Looks like we'll have to begin "puppy-proofing" the house soon. We will be getting either a golden retriever, or more likely, a Labrador retriever. We're up for either one. Still haven't decided on a name. Jen's leaning toward Hamlet, and I'm still partial to Lucy. It's kind of hard to name a dog we haven't met yet.

Jennie and I attended a local puppy raiser meeting last month at the mall and watched in awe as a score of little fur balls were put through their paces. They marched around the center court amid distractions of opening umbrellas, rustling garbage bags, tempting foods, loud noises, and running volunteers. All passed with flying colors.

Jen and I were given the opportunity to walk little "Millie" and that pup sure knew who was in control! SHE was! We have much to learn!

Enjoy this wonderful spring weather and have a great quilting day!

Ami Simms