May 2009

The Ami Simms Newsletter
May 2009
Copyright by Ami Simms

What do my favorite markers, a tip for your Program Chair, and a couple of funny web pages have in common? They're all in the May newsletter. Read on!

If you're not one of the 2,348 people reading my blog, you've missed Doggie Cam, Mom's Quilt Top, Twisted Sisters Scraps, Restaurant Bonding, The Most Boring Job, Toothpaste Conspiracy, I Am A Beverage, AMI Air, Ah Spring, and probably a few other things I've written about and already forgotten.

The month of May marks the one year anniversary of my blog, "Through The Eyes Of A Quilter." More than 100 little "musings" and still going strong. OK, so the dog wrote a bunch of them, but you like him better anyway!

There are four ways to read my blog. In order of Most Annoying to Downright Easy, they are:

1. Remember that I have a blog and try to find it when you need a lighthearted moment.
2. Bookmark it next time you find it. (Hint:
3. Go to and click the link that says BLOG on the top of the navigation bar.
4. Sign up to read it as an email---with pictures and everything!

************And once you've done that, there's one little step left. Look for an email from FeedBurner. Open it, and do what it tells you to do. Because if you don't verify that you want to receive the blog in an email, you still won't get it.*************

Do you belong to a guild? Do you like to hear speakers and take workshops? Tell your program chair about It can make their life so much easier. More than 100 teachers are listed on the site, each with a bio, contact information, specialty, and more. Guilds, shops, and event planners who subscribe to the service get to download Teacher Fact Sheets. These have even more information about each teacher, all on one page, all in the same format, so you can compare apples to apples. The Teacher Fact Sheets have expanded contact information, favorite presentations, expenses, requirements, and preferences. No more hunting all over the Internet and doing the copy/paste thing. is a great trade for some extra quilt time.

If you're a teacher, seasoned veteran or just starting out, you should be listed on It makes sense to be where people are looking for teachers.

Everyone who subscribes gets the BLOG. Why? Quit re-inventing the wheel. Take advantage of what other teachers know and what other Program Chairs have already learned. Read tips on classroom management, communication, smart travel, technology, and much more. Every Wednesday guilds and shops can advertise for teachers with specific class offerings, fee structure, time frame, or proximity. Teachers can ask if guilds are interested in adding on to existing bookings or inquire about gigs to tack on to family vacations. It's win-win.
Take a look.

If you just want to hire me, I totally understand. I would love to come and teach for your guild.

I added a new page to called History Of A Traveling Quilt Teacher listing all the groups I've taught for. Your group may already be listed from a past trip. (I do repeats.)

I've been teaching for a while! How long? More than 25 years. (And I'm still so young!) In that time I've visited more than 350 groups in 43 states and seven foreign countries. See if you can find the states I haven't been to yet. I'm already booked for Delaware in June and Alaska in 2010, so even though they're not on the list, they will be soon. There are five states I'm missing.

I'll be presenting workshops and a lecture May 7-9 and there might be a few seats left. For more information, email (Tell her I said "hi".)

Four guilds are sharing me from June 8 to June 14. I'll be making quite a circle tour and it might include your town. I'd love to see you along the way. For more information check out my travel schedule.

You're heard of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)? Now there's the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). Almost as clever as the Worst Quilt In the World Contest.

When summer comes, and it's on the way, I think of two of my favorite quilts, "Boobs & Bellybuttons" and "Sinking Sailboat."

Boobs & Bellybuttons is actually called The Bikini Quilt, and it's not for sissies. You should know how to applique (either by hand or machine) and you should have had some practice cutting and sewing intentionally strange shapes before you tackle this one. Reading directions will help too. It's one of my favorite quilts because I think I really grew creating the design. And it makes me smile every time I look at it. It hangs in my office. Order now and save a few bucks:

Even if you don't want to order the pattern, there is an interesting story about how the quilt came to be on the web page---a peek behind the scenes, if you will.

Sinking Sailboat is the only quilt I've ever made that rated an irate phone call. No kidding. The caller wanted my quilt removed from an exhibit of quilts at our local mall because, well, "People DROWNED!" I tried to explain that they were only fabric people and they're all right now… She's lucky I didn't sew a shark in the last block. I never would have heard the end of it.

Sinking Sailboat is a quickie pattern you can make in a day. Maybe two days, if you stop to go swimming. And the price sure is right, on sale now for just $3.50. When was the last time you bought a fully illustrated, step-by-step pattern for a quilt that will make you giggle the whole time you're making it for just $3.50? I thought so. Get yours before I change my mind.

Actually, I've got several. And they could be yours.

I'm putting four essential tools together and offering a free gift on my web page for a limited time only. I've been using washout cloth chalk markers for years and the ones by EX are the best. But, you need a "fatty" pencil sharpener to get a great point on them. General's 3-in-1 Art & Craft Sharpener to the rescue. I also love "spit" pens, those water soluble markers, and I have two in this "package" just for you. Order them all and get a free Sensmatic pencil, my all-time favorite gadget. So cool.

Go see what I'm talking about and click on all the links.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is preparing for a new traveling exhibit that will open in January 2011 and tour for five years. The backdrop to the exhibit will be 10,000 names of people who have/had Alzheimer's each printed in permanent marker on the wrong side of purple fabric patches and stitched into 182 quilts that measure 6" wide by about 7 feet long.

We already have 7,000 patches. If you can cut about 3,000 patches we can get this show on the road. By "you" I mean "ALL of you." Not one individual YOU.

So what do I need?
1. Any purple (light, dark, print, solid).
2. 100% cotton. Pre-washed preferred, then pressed.
3. As many as you can send cut exactly 2" x 6". Please be precise.
4. Please sign patches to be included in the quilts if you like:
Leave room for seam allowance
First name and first initial of last name.
Include city and state
One person per patch.
Use wide PERMANENT marker on the WRONG side of the fabric.
No duplicate patches.
PLEASE CUT ACCURATELY! (Did I mention that already?)

Mail it to:
Alexis Durham
9900 Wilbur May Pkwy, #3404
Reno, NV 89521

Please email Alexis ( when you cut them so she'll know when to expect them. She will, in turn, email me every few days so I can keep a running tally on the Purple Patch Page so I can let you know how many we still need.

Two of our AAQI board members and their bees will be sorting the patches and then stitching them together into the long, narrow quilts. Before they are quilted we will have them available on the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative web page for you to take to your guild, a local nursing home, or Alzheimer's facility to gather signatures. If you want to know exactly when that will occur, please sign up for the AAQI Update. The sign up box is on the home page, down at the bottom. We need you:

These long, skinny "Name Quilts" will be the backdrop for the exhibit. Selected Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts with a strong Alzheimer's theme will be hung in front of the names. Information on that part of the exhibit should be available in a few months. (Sign up for the AAQI Update!)

We've got another 26 beauties for you this month. The auction runs, as always, during the first 10 days of the month. All profits go to fund Alzheimer's research.

See the quilts and make a bid! Last month we had bids on all the quilts within 24 hours. Let's break that record today!

June will be a special month as we will be having TWO auctions: our normal Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt auction AND 37 special vintage quilts donated by a supporter. This larger quilt auction will be held online from June 15 through June 25, 2009. The quilts have all been photographed and I will put up a few more quilts, pictures, and descriptions each day.

And you know what I could really use? I need someone to help identify these vintage quilts. I'm terrible with quilt patterns. If I've got the wrong name up there or none and all and you know the name, can you help me out? Just email the correct name.

If you're on FaceBook and would like to proclaim your support of the AAQI please click here.

Christie Hardt's Zig Zag Zoom quilt has a special border.

Susan McDonnel did a great job with her Twisted Sisters quilt.

(Or, sooner on the blog.)

Be good to each other and have a great quilting day! (Or several!)
Ami Simms

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. Here’s DESCRIPTION.