May 2006

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
May 2006
Copyright by Ami Simms

A little bragging if you'll let me. Our daughter Jennie graduated from Alma College on April 22nd with a BA in Psychology and Departmental Honors. Even before graduation, she landed a job that pays real money! We helped move her into her own apartment this past week-end, so I guess we're officially empty nesters. Thankfully she'll be living in Kalamazoo which is only a few hours away. She starts work next month. See the photo of us.

I took an extra day on a recent teaching trip to meet with Machine Quilter Extraordinaire, Diane Gaudynsky. She is so talented and such a great teacher. I learned a ton and had a blast.

Diane gave me a copy of her new book, Quilt Savvy. My copy of her Guide to Machine Quilting was already well broken in, and her new Quilt Savvy book soon will be. I've read it twice now and was very careful both times not to drool on the pictures. The close-ups in the book are to die for. They are extremely close up so you can see every stitch. You'll learn all about thread, batting, and needles. You'll also learn how to make "headbands" and "bananas," and a slew of other cool quilting techniques.

If you're serious about machine quilting don't waste another minute; get her books.

These amazing art pins created by Meg Hannan out of fabric really aren't petrified, but they are sturdy little devils. I've got a selection especially for Mother's Day, so start dropping hints. If experience proves that dropping hints doesn't get you far enough, just buy one for yourself. The price is right. They're absolutely awesome and you have six designs to pick from. Maybe you have a friend? Click here to learn more.

OK, I have a few inventions I'd like taken care of. I'm not after the money, let's just get the product to market. Somebody else can get rich off the fruits of my imagination. Steve and I have already lost millions of dollars when we decided twenty years ago that the wheels on baby strollers should be larger. Now, they look like monster trucks, thank you very much, and we haven't seen a dime. OK, so we didn't tell anybody either, we just figured it out.

Steve was also the one who came up with a safety system for dresser drawers. Afraid that Jennie's bureau drawers would fall on her head after one swift yank, he drilled 2" holes in the back of each drawer and corresponding holes in the back of the dresser. Then he threaded a rope through each pair of holes, and knotted both ends, one inside the drawer, the other on the outside of the dresser. The trick was getting the rope just the right length so Jennie could pull all she wanted and the drawer wouldn't come out, unless the rope was cut. If I remember correctly he also bolted the dresser to the floor, which was not such a good idea. I'm sure he figured that if all the drawers were filled and open, the dresser could topple, but it made it way too hard to re-arrange the furniture.

I invented holiday duct tape. All by myself. Bet you didn't know that! The perfect gift to give a man at whatever holiday is appropriate. Imagine little trees with lights, snowflakes, snowmen on the otherwise plain and boring gray duct tape at Christmastime. I DID try and get this stuff manufactured, but learned early on that people in the duct tape business have no marketing savvy whatsoever.

I'd like a refrigerator that has a label maker IN THE DOOR. Push a button and dated time stamp pops out on a strip of sticky tape. You put it on the lid of your leftovers so you know how old they are so you can throw them away after they "cure" for the required amount of time. What do I have to do to get the folks at Whirlpool to pay attention? This would be huge! Not as huge as having the leftovers walk themselves over to the garbage, but pretty big.

OK, here's another idea: colored toilet paper? Think of the possibilities, I mean as long as the color wouldn't rub off. Matching shower curtain, bath mat, trash can, soap dish, AND toilet paper. Jen and I hit K-Mart and got matching everything for her apartment bathroom with a fish motif. I even got her a toilet seat with fish on it. Awesome. And if they had toilet paper with little sunfish swimming on it, you bet I would have thrown half dozen rolls in the basket along with the other stuff. Cute fish; not sharks with lots of teeth.

Northern has that idiotic "quilted" toilet paper. Let me design some REAL quilted toilet paper for them. Some meandering feather motifs, a little stippling, maybe a narrow cable border. This could be a real career step for me. Who do I contact?

The auction has already started…stop reading and head on over there are start bidding! This month we have some quilts made by folks you might have taken classes with either in person or through their books: Beth Ferrier (#65 and #71), Janet Jones Worley (66), Bonnie Lyn McCaffery (#88), and yours truly (#126). There's also a quilt by our esteemed fabric post card tutor, Deb Richardson (#106). Bid high and bid often!

We have a new system to streamline the bidding process. Rather then cutting and pasting an email, you'll be filling out a form. This will keep errors to a minimum and you'll get confirmation of your bids.

We're nearing the 200 mark. Yup, almost 200 Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts have been donated since January. And I'm looking for more. Thanks to the generosity of Karey Bresenahan we have been invited to sell Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November. I want to make the most of this awesome opportunity, so the more quilts we have, the more money we'll be able to raise for Alzheimer's research.

Remember each quilt successfully auctioned or sold by December 15th, 2006 earns its maker a chance at a brand spanking new Bernina aurora 440QE.

Congratulations to Marta Amundson, winner of last month's Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts submission. This month, everyone who registers will have a chance at these prizes:

1. A copy of "Around the Quilt Frame" just released by Voyageur Press. This 222-page book is full of heart-warming (and sometimes funny) stories about quilting edited by Kari Cornell. (I've got two chapters in the book!)

2. I also get to give away an autographed copy of Creative Fabric Weaving by Julie Higgins, published by House of White Birches.

3. A one-year gift subscription (or renewal) from Interweave Press redeemable for any of these fine magazines: Fiberarts, PieceWork, Beadwork, Handwoven, Interweave Knits, and Spin-Off.

So, how many quilts can YOU whip up before May 15?

Here's the fine print:
1.) Your registration must appear in my e-mailbox by midnight EST May 15, 2006.
2.) I'm not eligible to win, nor are any persons affiliated with Mallery Press. Julie Higgins can't win either, nor can anyone at Voyageur Press or Interweave Press, even though they're all really nice people.
3.) Each quilt earns its maker a chance to win these great prizes (and you still get a shot at the Bernina if your quilt sells. See the Bernina rules).
4.) If you're the lucky winner your prize will ship after I get your quilt in my hot little hands.
6.) Not responsible for emails lost in cyberspace or quilts shipped to Outer Slobovia by mistake.

Please remember that you must have your quilt completed and ready to mail BEFORE you register. (Registration just gives you the special number and details where/how to ship it to me.) There will be a day or so delay until we can email back the number for your quilt, but the idea is for you to MAIL the quilt immediately after you receive your registration number. The longer you wait, the larger my headache.

Look for an article about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative in the May issue of Bernina's magazine, Through the Needle. Quilts made by Peggy Mages, Adva Price, Lisa Fiorini-Ahmad, Barbara Bunchuk, Kathy Kennedy-Dennis, and Lynn Flynn are all featured. Congratulations!

Join me for workshops at the Denver National Quilt Extravaganza May 4-6. There are still some openings. In June I'll be in Aurora, NY for the Southtowns Piecemakers, the Morning Star Quilt Guild, and the Aurora Sewing Center. And, in July, I'll be visiting the Flying geese Quilt Guild in Harford County, MD and the Berks Quilters Guild in Reading, PA. For a complete listing of where I'll be and what I'll be doing through 2008, see my teaching schedule. (Then tell me what it says!)

Quiz Question: what's the oldest surviving quilt in the world? Answer the Guicciardini Quilt AND the Tristan and Isolde Quilt, dating to 1394 or thereabouts. Yes, that's correct…a 612- year-old-quilt. Possibly two parts of the same quilt, one part is housed at the Bargello Museum in Florence and the other lives at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The local needlework guild in Florence is having an exhibition October 14-29 in Florence. All needlework entries inspired by this glorious quilt will be considered for exhibition. To see photos of the quilt, learn about its history, and get more information about the exhibition, click here.

Please don't forget the deadline for Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece is fast approaching. You've got until June 5, 2006 to create your masterpiece and submit it. Here's the Prospectus

For those of you who couldn't go on living without learning more about my husband's recreational ice hockey exploits, Manager Todd called just before the season started asking if Steve could move up to the Bronze league. Seems there weren't enough guys for the Tin league. Not to worry he said, "One guy has never skated before and there's another guy who can't stand up." Sounds like slim pickins to me, but I think Steve is up to the challenge.

There are two more entries on the Watch Your Step page, both from overseas: Armenia and India.

Holly Short and Julie Sefton made each made Twisted Sisters quilts.

Jack and Amy Simms have shared another letter.

Yes, we keep finding more. You deserve a chuckle.

Get the 12 buttons free when you order the Quilter's Portable Workstation pattern.

We now have cording to go with the Piping Hot Binding Tool and Booklet. Two sizes: 1mm and 2mm. Cheap. Nothing will stop you now! Stock up.

I have two great web sites this month. Forgive me for losing my note as to who sent me to this Pipe Cleaner site, but it's a cutie. There is the original version, and the new improved version. Check them both out. Click on the pipe cleaner and then mouse around over the pictures or letters (depending on the version) and enjoy Pipe Cleaner Man.

Ruth Bailey sent me to this site which I've dubbed Horn of Plenty. It's wonderful. Starts off a little slow, but stay with it. You won't be disappointed. Oh yes, it's totally in French, but you'll understand all of it, trust me. Too funny.

Please do. Forward the ENTIRE thing to all your friends and even some of your enemies. Everybody enjoys a laugh or two. Please do NOT forward just part of it. Somehow my name gets dropped off when these things float through cyberspace and since I’m writing them for free, I should at least get credit for writing them. If you write a guild newsletter (real paper or online) and would like to “reprint” a particular part of the newsletter you must ask first.

Make some Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts for me!
Ami Simms