Ami Simms

My name is Ami. (Ami rhymes with salami.) Yes, it’s short for something. Let’s leave it at that.

Ami Learns To Quilt - Sort OfI saw my first quilt in frame in the summer of 1975. The Amish women, sitting around what I first thought was a large trampoline in their living room, asked if I wanted to quilt with them. They assumed I knew how to sew. I did if you counted the apron I made in “Home-Eck” and the outfits I sewed for the cats. A simple running stitch, they explained, was all that was required. I was 19 years old and optimistic.

Thimble-less, I rammed the eye of the needle into the finger on the hand that was above the quilt as it was pushing the point of the needle into the finger of my other hand that I thought was out of harm’s way underneath the quilt. My first efforts can only be described as Toe Hookers—stitches so long should one ever put the quilt on a bed conceivably one could get one’s toes hooked through them. Actually my stitches were closer to Foot Hookers. Years later I learned that after I left, the women ripped out all my stitches. I don’t know what they did about the blood.

Even though my first quilting stitches were as painful to look at as they were to make, something about quilting was appealing. For reasons I still cannot explain I took up quilting, first as a hobby, and then as a profession. It has always been my passion. I’ve been quilting longer than I’ve been doing practically anything else.

\" width=That cartoon up above was drawn by Jean Pajot Smith and appears on page 8 of my book, How NOT To Make A Prize-Winning Quilt.

I have been married to the same wonderful man for more than 35 years and the fabric of my life is now totally intertwined in his. Literally. We live in a padded house, fabric and quilting clutter is on every surface, and he knows that I can not leave the house for any extended period of time without a “sewing project” or without my obsessing over the possibility of accidentally having left the iron on. (It is an automatic shut-off iron; I just can’t help myself.) We have a talented and beautiful daughter who grew up thinking that quilted car seat covers, quilted shower curtains, and sandwiches cut into Ohio Stars were normal. They both understand and appreciate what I do and encourage me to keep doing it. I am truly blessed. We share our home with a golden retriever named Scooter, who likes to hide behind the toilet, adores chasing balls, and sleeps with all four paws straight up in the air .

I quilt because it makes me happy. I teach others to quilt because everyone should have a passion in their life that feeds their creativity and makes them feel good, and talented, and productive.

Ami Simms
Email me
www.AmiSimms.com

29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jean Pajot Smith Forrester  |  May 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    What a great friend to include me in on her BLOG….. and what a great privilege to know her since our first meeting in 1978 or was the 79? Oy!

    We’ve drawn many stitches together.

    Jean

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  • 2. shirley whalen  |  November 8, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I am so sorry that your mother has what killed my mother. I KNOW JUST WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH and I know that God knows too and is sad. But, remember this – when Our Lord comes in His Kingdom, we will see our loved ones, young, healthy, happy with no sorrow. Keep up what you are doing as it is working to make her remaining days more joyful and yourself full of happiness for these days of lucidity and joyous memories. My mother knew right up to the last breath that it was I who was talking to her and loved her. God gives us this gift. Trust in Him who made us and our mothers. Shirley

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  • 3. Jean  |  November 22, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I just read the article in the American Quilter about you and when I came here my brain clicked on. I love your blog and if you ever teach in eastern Colorado would love to take a class. I’ve just now started quilting and am being self taught. Again you are in my prayers to help you, your family, and your Mom get through this time .

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  • 4. Sue Armitage  |  December 1, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Ami,
    I am so sorry abour the passing of your mother.
    You have such wonderful memories of her.

    There are so many people who have taken classes from you and you gave us great memories as well.
    Take care Ami.
    Sue Armitage

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  • 5. Judy Rapelje  |  December 1, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you, Ami, for sharing your journey during your Mother’s last days. Everything you said touched me as I remember my Dad who succumbed in 2006 after suffering 10 years with Alzheimers but without my Mom who died in 1996 just as his disease was beginning. He greatly missed her in his life and I miss them both.

    Thank you for doing so much with your Initiative. You have had
    a real impact on finding a solution to this dreaded disease.

    Judy Rapelje
    Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild
    Seneca SC

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  • 6. Jenny Hibberd  |  December 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    You have fought the good fight and stayed the course and used what God had given you in your Mom’s illness to bless and shed light to others in the struggle. May God bless you now with Peace, knowing your Mom is in a place of joy and abundant remembrance of memories.

    Memory eternal,
    JLH

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  • 7. Sharon Morton  |  December 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Dear Ami,

    So sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. Thank you for sharing her journey with everyone. You’ve helped so many of us who are dealing with aging parents, with or without Alzheimer’s. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sharon Morton
    North Coast Needlers
    westlake Ohio
    (maker of “Mariner’s Mountain”)

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  • 8. Ann Bridgeland  |  December 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    You need not reply, but I wanted you to know I lost my mother to Alzheimers in 1988. It was a long (10+ years) process and she died curled up in a fetal position at 62 lbs. She had not spoken for years and she was a TALKER. I miss her, even though we often did not get along. She was in a wonderful Church nursing home in TN, and I went to visit 3-4 times a year, just to sit with her. It is such a sad disease, without any dignity. I always returned to MI with a heavy heart. However, I returned to TN a year later to “tidy up” some loose ends and came home with a joy I had not known. I knew she was at peace somewhere and so was I.

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  • 9. Cathy Litwa  |  December 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Ami, I am sorry for th loss of your mother. Any loss is hard, but that of a mother is expecially bad. The cycle of grief takes you
    from denial to disbelief to anger to acceptance. You went through a partial loss of her with alzheimers, but the total loss of her from your life is another form of grief. Old pictures help and still after 19 years I have my mom and Dads last christmas picture together on my desk. I see her smile everyday. A mothers love never dies.

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  • 10. JM Gosbee, Pennsylvania  |  December 1, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Dear Ami

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you travel this journey in your llife.

    Even though I haven’t experienced this journey personally, I work in long term care and appreciate what families face when their loved one suffers from this disease.

    Thank you for sharing the memories about your mother’s lexicon. It brought a smile to my face, as it probably did to you when thinking about it.

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  • 11. Barbara Gash  |  December 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Ami, I just learned about your Mom, and my heart is very sad. I did not see her during the years of the illness, but I sure do have happy memories of times spent with her at the house in Southfield – the dyeing, the eating, the orchids, the humor, the art work, the shared creativity, and much more! My sincere condolences to you and your family – she was surrounded by love all her years!
    Barb

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  • 12. Donna Bareford  |  December 4, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Ami, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your precious memories of her. I lost my mom to Alzheimers in October 2007. She was 87. She lost her identy in 2002, but she never lost her sense of humor. The thing she missed the most was driving her car. But she kept getting lost. So, my sister kidnapped Mom one day and lefet her car in her driveway. We took turns taking care of Mom. By the time Mom went back home, her car was sold, and she didn’t remember ever living there. I miss her so much. I have learned that tears are the only way to wash away the toxins that grief produces. Never hold your tears of grief. God collects em’.

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  • 13. Gail Bouvy  |  January 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Ami, I am sorry for the passing of your mother. Thank you for sharing your life with everyone. My mother in law passed away 20 + years ago from Alzheimer’s. Back then it was only just beginning to be a diagnosis, at first we were told she had a nervous break down, or was in a depression. There was no test or medication for treatment. We think her mother also had the disease. Now my mother’s sister has been diagnosed and it is so sad because she is only 65. She has three daughters and a couple think she is in depression even though the doctor said she has Alzheimer from a test that they did. They are arguing about what treatment to do and which kind of care is better for her. I am going to forward you blog and website to them. I am positive that it will help. Thank you again for all you have done.

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  • 14. Michael Tim  |  February 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I love your site!

    _____________________
    Experiencing a slow PC recently? Fix it now!

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  • 15. knowledgetoday  |  March 28, 2009 at 5:59 am

    I love your site. Keep it up !

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  • 16. silvia  |  November 9, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I look forward to your newsletters, blogs, etc, your humor gives me a reason to enjoy quilting. I have recently completed my 300th quilt and yes I have a picture of each one. Most of them have been donated to charity and I am so grateful that I am able to return to others, what others have done for me.

    I also love Madison’s comments, please let him write more. Love Silvia

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  • 17. Patricia Hemminghaus  |  December 1, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Love the enthusiasm you spread to the world for our wonderful world of quilts. Our daughters and grand-daughters need the exposure of a wonderful hobby and/or profession. Keep up the good work and thank you for all you do. Love, Pat

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  • 18. Norma Storm  |  January 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Thank goodness you didn’t have to use the hair dryer they provided with the room! It might have electrocuted you!
    And a hole in the wall!! Unheard of in the USA…..must have been in a foriegn country.
    Thanks for the message, it’s always fun to read or hear what you are doing!

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  • 19. Sharity Mohr  |  June 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Ami, I am sorry for the passing of your mother. Thank you for sharing your life with everyone. My mother in law passed away 20 + years ago from Alzheimer’s. Back then it was only just beginning to be a diagnosis, at first we were told she had a nervous break down, or was in a depression. There was no test or medication for treatment. We think her mother also had the disease. Now my mother’s sister has been diagnosed and it is so sad because she is only 65. She has three daughters and a couple think she is in depression even though the doctor said she has Alzheimer from a test that they did. They are arguing about what treatment to do and which kind of care is better for her. I am going to forward you blog and website to them. I am positive that it will help. Thank you again for all you have done.
    +1

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  • 20. Constance Ross  |  October 25, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I wonder if there’s a group for sewing machine addicts?
    I think I’m OK, I only have one Featherweight and one Bernina.
    BTW Do you ever teach in Ohio? Maybe at NQA which meets in Columbus each year.

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    • 21. Ami Simms  |  October 25, 2010 at 8:05 am

      Yes, I’ve taught for the NQA many time, I think even in Columbus. No Ohio trips at this time, however. ~Ami

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  • 22. Becky Ezra  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:34 am

    hi ami,
    sorry to hear that you lost your dog, my deepest condolences.
    huge hugs
    becky
    from the netherlands

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  • 23. Mary  |  June 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    It is a joy for me to see you ready to adopt another dog. Until my daughter gets a place of her own and or I retire I need to wait to have a forever home for a fluffy friend.
    Name suggestions:
    Flash (as in him getting away)
    Patches (as in his lovely fringey fur and the quilt theme)
    Wilson (one of my favorite 2 syllabled presidential names)
    Gander (as in Michigander or a happy wanderer)
    Both of my daughter’s dogs are rescue dogs–a standard sized labradoodle and a pomeranian. They are great, but I miss having my own personal buddy.

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  • 24. Carol FIndling  |  September 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Just saw Scooter and the refrigerator! What a hoot! Showed it to my husband and I laughed myself to tears. Ami, you make my day, as you did several years ago when I had the unbelieved gift of a lifetime – a day looking for buttons for you new book – you, all alone, lunch, car ride, and NO ONE ELSE. Will remember it always. Now have to take more time for quilting – amazing how we can be side-tracked – and get quilts to you for ALZ. Your halo is polished and wings ironed but in the meantime, we all have a WONDERFUL role model. By the way, I plan to use your videos to show my kids’ families how well trained a dog can truly be! Thx again. carol

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    • 25. Ami Simms  |  September 3, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Thanks for your very kind words!

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  • 26. barbara  |  July 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    i m not sure if i accidentally got myself off your list or not —- how do i sign up again
    barbara hanley– cape cod massachusetts
    bhan3029@aol.com

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  • 28. Back to the Beginning | Through The Eyes Of A Quilter  |  June 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    […] Ami Simms […]

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  • 29. FREE PATTERN: Lightning Zig-Zag |   |  March 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    […] by Jenn, well-known quilter Ami Simms made one just a bit larger (using 6″ squares and borders) for a new grandbaby, and wrote […]

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