Archive for September, 2010

What Traveling Quilt Teachers Do

These pictures are from my lecture “Living With Quilts: A Survival Guide.” It’s a presentation that examines how quilters are sometimes “different” from other folks, and shares coping strategies for your family. It’s all in good fun, because no matter what you’re learning about, humor always makes it more enjoyable, and more memorable.

The mission of most quilt guilds is learning new skills and turning other people on to the wonderful world of quilting. This can be done informally, just sitting down and sharing what you know. Or, it could be in the form of a workshop or lecture presented by a guild member or a professional teacher.

If you are in charge of programs, here are my top five tips for providing a great learning experience for your group:

  1. Make sure the classes/lectures you offer are of interest to your members. If you’re the only one who likes applique, better bring in someone who pieces.
  2. Nail down all the details in writing well in advance so you can promote it properly, both to your guild and your community. Decide on specific workshops or lectures at least 4 months in advance.
  3. Bring more quilters to the fold by encouraging local media (newspapers, radio stations) to write about your upcoming event.  Best way to encourage that is a face-to-face encounter with a quilt (any quilt) under your arm.
  4. Piggy-back with nearby guilds and shops to cut travel and lodging costs. Groups just outside your regular stomping ground are best, so you don’t dilute the pool of workshop-takers for either group.
  5. “Sell”  the program AND the speaker. Your enthusiasm about a speaker is probably the best motivation for your membership to take advantage of the programs you bring in.  Remember the basics: who, what, when, where, and why!   (Repeat, repeat, repeat!)

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September 20, 2010 at 4:12 am 5 comments

Socks Appeal

I was so excited that I nearly tripped over my own feet when I happened to see this book at Quilt Market several months ago. A handful of little critters were scattered around it and as soon as I picked one up I fell in love.  They were soft, squishy, and totally adorable.

I begged a copy from the kind folks at C & T  Publishing so I could tell you all about my great find.

Socks Appeal (GREAT NAME!) is written by Brenna Maloney. Where has she been all my life? I love the way she writes.  Her “voice”  makes this pattern book read like a letter from your best friend—who is really smart and can explain everything you need to know about making cool animals from socks.

In describing the types of socks to look for, Brenna doesn’t hold back. With regards to anklets she writes, ” I hold these in contempt; I really do. More on this later.” (Don’t you love it?)

About 2-toed socks she shares, “Okay, I really have no earthly idea what to  do with this one. But don’t you think it’s cool?”

Make some new friends!There are 16 odd little creatures to make from wild socks, and I must admit I have a large personal collection. I’m deciding which pair to sacrifice first, maybe the lone socks who survived the dryer but lost their sole mates.

Socks Appeal has lots of wonderful examples and Brenna invites you to inject your own creativity into each. Bring along your whimsy, a scoop of playfulness, and some smiles too.  Enjoy!

Available someplace near you where books are sold, or at

September 7, 2010 at 3:28 am 8 comments

Ami Simms

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