Reviewed by Louise McCormick Gibney, February 1999 (Quilter & free-lance writer for Traditional Quilter, American Quilter, ArtQuilt, Quilter's Gallery, Quilting International, New Zealand Quilter and Quiltmania. "Ami Simms could probably have chosen a career in comedy clubs. Her rapid-fire wit and side-splitting commentary make her a hugely popular lecturer and teacher on the international quilting circuit. Nonetheless, humor fails to cover up her obvious knowledge of her topics and technical expertise. Each of her more than half dozen books goes a long way toward making her reading public comfortable in attempting new techniques they may have previously found a bit intimidating.
Simms popularized photo-quilting with her first book on the subject, Creating Scrapbook Quilts (Mallery Press, 1993). Now she returns with its sequel, Fun Photo Quilts and Crafts, a chocked-full collection of tips and projects that enlarges her teaching sphere even wider.
Written in a comfortably conversational tone sure to set the most timid reader at ease, Fun Photo-Quilts takes the mystery out of this seemingly complicated technique. The book contains excellent construction directions accompanying each of the book's 28 quilts and projects. Many of the quilt patterns stand on a foundation of traditional quilted blocks, made more contemporary by including photographs transferred to fabric in eye-catching arrangements. I particularly applaud Simms' use of tiny cartoons to represent the photographs, first in the actual quilted block pattern and, then, in the arrangement of those blocks into a finished quilt designs. Also excellent were Simms' Cutting Charts directing each reader exactly how to cut each fabric.
Yet, let's be realistic. Quilters and crafters buy a book for its pictures. Only after they are thoroughly entranced with its visual images do they read the text, no matter now well done. Fun Photo-Quilts & Crafts will definitely capture their attention. The pictures are colorful, presented on quality paper, and inspiring to the most bashful of needlework artists. Simms' large "Gallery" section includes not only beautiful examples of the patterns found in the book but a running commentary on various innovative techniques for making each finished piece a one-of-a-kind art treasure. I found her work truly charming. And, as she enjoyed doing in some of her earlier books, Simms introduces lesser-known quilters by supplementing her own quilts with photographs of their work. Such generosity surely reveals a teacher not only confident of her own attempts but clearly delighted in revealing the efforts of her students.
Fun Photo-Quilts & Crafts is a truly remarkable booka "must-have" for every one's library. Use Simms' quick construction methods and fun-inspiring patterns to make your own memory quilt. Under Simms' direction you make something wonderful and have fun in the process. How can you resist?
Turn your photographs into treasured heirlooms with Ami's newest book. Learn transferring tips and quilting shortcuts from the expert. Over 25 projects---quilts, tote bags, neckties, ornaments, vests, and much more! You'll love Ami's easy-to-follow instructions and her humorous writing style."