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