April 2009

The Ami Simms Newsletter
April 2009
Copyright by Ami Simms

Ain't it always the way? Just when you dye your panties in celebration of spring, it snows again!

If that statement threw you for a loop, you're obviously not part of the Yo-Yo-Sisterhood! Nor have you seen the movie.

During the month of March I also blogged about long legs not helping at all with those "tall" restaurant tables, and Madison enlisted your help with our new version of QuickBooks. (Thank you for the tips!)

The story that got the most comments this month was one called "Restaurant Bonding." I wrote how annoying it is to eat at restaurants that encourage their wait staff to plop down next to you to take your order. Creepy. A lot of you felt the same way, and then some.

After the first 50 comments I added a poll. Now you can actually answer "yes" or "no" to the question: "Do you like it when the wait staff sits down next to you." (So if you commented but didn't vote, please go back and have your say, officially.You can also visit for the first time and take the poll. The more the merrier. I'll be forwarding the results to a few restaurant chains. Go here:

Want to get my random musings in your very own email in-box without lifting a finger? Click here to subscribe to my blog. It's free. You'll get an email. Painless.

Madison has two blogs he's working on that should be up in a few days. Let me tell you, you've never seen anything like it. He's asked me not to spill the beans, so you'll have to wait and see.

I'm probably the only one on my block with a quilted shower curtain, and I could probably say the same about my quilted…(more)

When another quilter comes up to you and pets your clothing, that's called a "Quilter's Handshake." Of all the garments I've ever made, my "Michigan Mink" (known officially as the Rag Fur Jacket) is the one that brings me the most handshakes.

When I travel I wear my Rag Fur Jackets all the time because they layer so well in the winter and in the summer they're perfect for keeping me just the right temperature in over air-conditioned environments. Besides, don't ever have to iron them. You can't iron them, even if you wanted to!

The jacket is made by sewing bias strips (cut into fringe FIRST) onto a jacket base you make with the pattern. (Sizes go from XXS to XXXL.) It's a tissue pattern, so after you measure yourself (tells you how in the "destructions") just pick "YOUR" line and cut it out.

It takes about 20 hours, from start to finish, which is way less than making a quilt, and sewing the fringe is the most time-consuming part. (It also requires the last amount of thought.) You don't have to sew the fringe straight either! The fringe, which is what looks the hardest only takes about 45 minutes. You fold fabric 8 layers thick and rotary cut. Then you use those Fiskar "squeezy" scissors with the long-ish blade (called "Home & Office Scissors") to slice the fringe. Because you're cutting the fringe on the bias, it won't ravel. In fact, if you make your jacket out of batiks, it will last for a decade or more, even with regular washings. (Regular fabric will work too, but as long as you're investing the time, you might as well have a garment that will last a long, long time.)

The jacket I'm wearing on the cover of the pattern was made of one fabric for the jacket base (batik, but in this case but it could be any coordinating , good quality cotton) and the fringe was a jumble of whatever batik scraps I had in my stash. Talk about a great user-upper project! I also used up odd and end for thread. As long as it matched SOMETHING it didn't matter. Who's going to notice?

That's Jennie, our daughter, next to me on the cover. Her entire jacket is made with one Hoffman batik. Very classy.

Rag Fur Jackets go great with jeans and a T-shirt, or dress them up with a scarf and nice slacks. It's certainly the most versatile garment I own, and yes, if you've seen me in the classroom, you know I wear them all the time. How many do I have? Counting all of them? Maybe a dozen!!!

Dumbest comment I every got while wearing a Rag Fur Jacket? I have a green one. A guy comes up to me and asks, "Does it change colors in the fall?"

If you'd like to make one, we can be twins! I have a special price when you purchase the scissors AND the jacket pattern at the same time. (You're going to need the scissors anyway and they're sometimes hard to find.) When you get them both, you save a few bucks.

You can get the pattern, the scissors, and the discount here:

My networking site for teachers and program chairs is growing by leaps and bounds. Take a look!

Speaking of finding a quilt teacher, you'll find me in Birmingham, Michigan on April 9th for a half-day afternoon workshop on hand quilting followed by a lecture in the evening. If you would like to attend either, email Lynn.

Two weeks later I'll be in Marion, Indiana at the public library for a lecture. Please contact Theresa for more details if you think you'd like to attend:

The Quilters Guild of Dallas has invited me to present two workshops and a lecture in early May. Last time I checked there were only a few spaces left. Call a friend and then email Marie to sign up:

Here's my entire teaching schedule for 2009.

If you're anywhere near South Pittsburg, Tennessee, which is really near where Tennessee meets Alabama and Georgia, make plans to attend the National Cornbread Festival. No kidding. There's music, cornbread, and QUILTS! " Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece " will be on exhibit at the American Legion Hall as part of the National Cornbread Festival on April 25 and 26. The exhibit is hosted by the South Pittsburg Stitchin’ Sisters. For more information, please contact Gail Grier.

The "slow & silent" auction raising money for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative has just begun. Don't miss 25 great quilts and one fantastic, autographed denim shirt. It's fun and easy to bid. Try it!

Krieger, Robbie shares a photo of her string quilt here.

I haven't written about St.Lukes in a long time. For an "almost free" pattern, a place to donate quilting supplies you no longer need, and a chance to feel really good, check out these pages.

Please do. Highlight and paste the ENTIRE thing into an email to everyone in your address book. Everybody enjoys a laugh or two. Please do NOT forward just part of my newsletter. 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.

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. Here’s how.

Be good to each other,

Ami Simms