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2016 Quilt Cruises!

In many of my classes or lectures, people are always interested in exactly what happens on a quilting cruise.  I’ve listed some of the questions I’ve been asked with answers below.

If you have additional questions about any of these cruises, please feel free to email me at karen@karencombs.com  or you can contact Amy with Quilt Seminars at Seas. Her contact information is listed below.

Q:  When are quilting classes held?  

Classes are held during sea days.  This is when we are traveling at sea.  These days are usually “lazy” days with people enjoying different activities around the ship, reading or simply taking it easy.   We use these days to do our favorite thing, quilting!  Classes are scheduled when we are “at sea”, with a nice break during lunch time.

Get-togethers, parties with other quilters, lectures are also scheduled when we are “at sea” or after we’ve left a port.

Q:  Will you have free time?  

Absolutely!  We have lots of free time when we are at a port, in the evenings or even on sea days.  Some people sign up for just one class and relax the other days.  Other people take all the classes they can.  This will be totally up to you.

Q:  What happens when we are at a port?

Classes are not held when we are at a port.  You can spend this time as you wish, wandering the port on your own, take in the sights, or schedule a shore excursions through the ship.  Again, how you spend your time when we are at port is totally up to you.

Sometimes we will schedule a special  excursion for the quilters (and their friends and family) can attend.  Sometimes it is a “shop-hop”, or a visit to a quilt show.

Several years ago, when we traveled to the Mediterranean, we all visited a quilt shop in Istanbul, visited The Grand Bazaar and had a special meal at the spice market.  A very special treat was meeting with members of the Istanbul quilt guild as we visited the quilt shop.  That was a very special treat!

Q:  What if I want to bring a friend or family member?

We often have people bring friends, spouses or family members.  When you are in class, there are plenty of things for them to do on the ship.  You can meet them for lunch, if you wish.  One of my husband’s favorite activity was a ship tour he attended when I was in class.

Q: What classes will be offered?  Do I need to bring my sewing machine?  What about supplies for my class?

You can pick your class from the list of classes offered each day.  Most of the cruises have 3 or 4 teachers, so you will have a variety of classes to pick from.

If the class needs a sewing machine, it will be supplied.

Many of the classes will have a kit, so you don’t need to bring a suitcase full of supplies.  You will be given a small supply list, once you sign up for the class, so you will know just what to bring.

Q:  Why do you love cruising so much?

I fell in love with cruising from my very first cruise.  I love unpacking just once, yet, I get to travel to many different ports.

I love that I don’t have to cook and I will always have a choice for my meals.  I can go to dinner in the main dining room, I can order room service (anytime I wish), I can go to many of the smaller restaurants or even have a casual meal on the Lido deck.

I love the quilting classes, our get-togethers with other quilters in the evenings.  I enjoy spending time in the library in a comfy chair watching the ocean go by. Of course, with some handwork or a good book!  I really love the coffee bar in the library, so I can get my favorite latte whenever I wish.

I love that I have an option for the cabin I want to purchase.  I can save money for more fabric purchases by booking an inside cabin or a cabin with a ocean view.  Or I can splurge and book a cabin with a balcony.  I’ve done both and I’ve enjoyed all the cabins I’ve had.

One of my favorite ocean view room was on an Alaska cruise.  I could lay in bed and watch the water go by.  We sailed on the Inside Passage and the water was as smooth as glass.  One afternoon, I looked out the window and saw a Killer Whale pod swim right by us.  What a treat!

I love all the different places we’ve traveled to and I look forward to many more!

Below I’ve listed my 2016 Quilting Cruises.   I look forward to seeing you soon! (Don’t hesitate to email, if you have questions!)

January 5-19, 2016

Batiks of Bali (Indonesia) 

We have put together a very special, once-in-a-lifetime trip!  We have a few spaces left and would love for you to join us!   Details of our very special activities are below!

10805_QSS_BatikCruise_LargeImage (3)

Bali. A dream come true.  Join me on board Holland America’s ms Volendam for a trip like no other. 

The trip of a lifetime begins and ends in Singapore on a 14-day cruise.  We will visit several different ports in Java, overnight in magical Bali and visit the famed Komodo Island. Specially planned tours will show you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Indonesian fabric industry and visits to fabric markets will give you an opportunity to purchase amazing batiks!

Some of our special activities

  • We will visit the biggest textile market on Jakarta!  (I know I will need an extra suitcase just for this stop!)
  •  Visit traditional Markets
  • See exactly how batiks are made
  • Create your own hand-made batik to take home.
  • While on Bali, we will visit center of Balinese hand-woven fabric
  • We will round out the cruise with a tour to Komodo Island where you can visit the amazing Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat.
  • In addition, I will be presenting two very special lectures about fabric creation.
  • We have shopping time planned and some very special surprises!

Click here for all the exciting  details in this trip of a lifetime!       Or you can click here to see the activities each day.

With a few openings left, don’t miss this amazing trip!

Questions? Call Amy at 866-573-6351 or email for a brochure at Amy@quiltcruises.com




August 14 – 28, 2016

14 Day  Voyage of the Vikings Quilt Cruise!

iceland cruise

Cruise in the wake of early Viking explorers, visiting the culturally rich Northern Isles. Discover historic architecture and picturesque fjords with fellow quilt enthusiasts and award-winning quilt instructors.

For this cruise, we will be aboard Holland America’s brand new ship, the ms Koningsdam!   This brand new ship features features an elegant, two-tiered dining room, the intimate reservations-only Pinnacle Grill, two outdoor swimming pools, The Greenhouse Spa, library, shopping arcade and more! Holland America Line offers over fifty scheduled shipboard activities and many choices of shore excursions in each port. Prepare to be inspired and pampered!

Along the way, we will visit:

  • England – The 2,000 year-old historic city of Newcastle is a story all its own.
  • Scotland – Experience the history of Edinburgh and the beautiful highlands.
  • Iceland – Marvel at volcanic activity, visit the busy fishing port of Isafjordur and take in the vibrant music scene of Reykjavik.
  • Norway – Sail the Fjords and explore the quaint fishing villages.

There’s something wonderful awaiting you in every port of call. To know the exact schedule and route of the cruise, view the detailed itinerary.

This trip is already filling up quickly!  Feel free to have a friend, your spouse or your family join you! Non-quilters are always welcome to join us and will have many activities to pursue while you are in class.

For complete details, click here.  Questions? Call Amy at 866-573-6351 or email for a brochure at Amy@quiltcruises.com

For years, well, ever since EQ came out, I’ve used it and loved it!

What is EQ?  It is a software called Electric Quilt, EQ for short.  It is from The Electric Quilt Company and is an amazing software that allows you to design virtual quilts. I’ve used it to create many of my patterns and when writing my books, such as Celtic Pieced Illusions.

The software allowed me to quickly create different layouts, try different blocks, rotate blocks, add different colors and fabrics.  All at the click of a mouse button!

I’m so honored to be featured in a series of upcoming ads by The Electric Quilt Company.


Adobe Photoshop PDF

Soon, these ads will be in the following magazines:

  • American Patchwork & Quilting October issue (available 8/4/15) 
  • McCalls Quilting Sept/Oct issue (available 7/15/15)
  • Modern Quilts Summer issue (available 8/1/15)
  • Quiltmaker Sept/Oct issue (available 7/22/15) 

Thanks to The Electric Quilt Company for some amazing software and thank you for the beautiful ads!

I’m so excited about this new cruise!!!!

August 14 – 28, 2016, we will be returning to Europe for a fabulous cruise to England, Scotland, Norway and Iceland! We’ll sail on Holland America Line’s beautiful new ship, the ms Koningsdam, departing from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

As usual, we have fantastic quilt classes and I will be joined by fellow teachers Paula Nadelstern and Cindy Walter! There are plenty of opportunities to “sewcialize” with other people who share our love for quilting, too. Who knows? You may arrive as strangers, but leave with many new friends!

A break from everyday life – enjoy 5-star service!

Holland America’s brand new ship, the ms Koningsdam, is a mix of something contemporary and something classic. You’ll discover soaring spaces such as the multi-story atrium, a magnificent art and antiques collection, and the attention of superb staff. The ship features an elegant, two-tiered dining room, the intimate reservations-only Pinnacle Grill, two outdoor swimming pools, The Greenhouse Spa, library, shopping arcade and more! Holland America Line offers over fifty scheduled shipboard activities and many choices of shore excursions in each port. Prepare to be inspired and pampered!

The Northern Isles

We will explore some unique stops along the way:

  • England – The 2,000 year-old historic city of Newcastle is a story all its own.
  • Scotland – Experience the history of Edinburgh and the beautiful highlands.
  • Iceland – Marvel at volcanic activity, visit the busy fishing port of Isafjordur and take in the vibrant music scene of Reykjavik.
  • Norway – Sail the Fjords and explore the quaint fishing villages.

There’s something wonderful awaiting you in every port of call. To know the exact schedule and route of the cruise, view the detailed itinerary.  You may also call 1-866-573-6351.

This trip will sell out fast, so book early! A list of dedicated quilters were interested in booking this trip even before it was organized. Bring a friend, your spouse or your family – non-quilters are always welcome to join us and will have many activities to pursue while you are in class.

We can’t wait to see you on board the brand new ms Koningsdam!

I often get questions about my daily schedule or if I piece/quilt all day everyday.

Well, not exactly. . .. as the owner of a small business, everyday is different, but everyday is full.

I thought it would be interesting to everyone to see a sample day when I am home. . . just a day in the life of a traveling quilt instructor/author/pattern/fabric designer.


Hang on, here goes:


  • Grab iPad and check email and online class before getting out of bed.  Answer questions, delete spam emails, answer a few quick emails.
  • By  7am, walk dog, feed dog, feed and pet neighbor’s cat who likes to live part-time on our front porch, water ferns, flowers, herbs on front and back porch, sweep porches, unload dishwasher, clean counters, throw in a load of clothes into washer.


  • answer emails for schedule requests in my upcoming calendar (which leads to some tentative schedule, have to check on that before answering about possible open dates in calendar
  • Send requests for teaching packets
  • Print out, add into QuickBooks and pack orders that came in over-night, print out postage, walk to mailbox and give the dog an extra lap around the block
  • Notice neighbor’s cat (who is still on our front porch) seems hungry, feed her, a bit more petting while she purrs and coos to me.
  • Back in office, while packing orders, notice we are low on one pattern.  Contact printer, email file, request patterns printed.  Add into calendar to pick up from printer.
  • Contact landscapers (who should have been here by 8am to trim landscape, remove and replant a few bushes that didn’t make it through the winter.  Rain has delayed them, they aren’t coming until next week, correct in calendar
  • Need to meet Gail, to pick up fabric she has cut and packaged for classes.  (Before leaving house, gather up garbage and recycling, will drop off on the way to get fabric.)
  • Stop at Dump/recycling center, meet Gail and get fabric packets.  Stop at grocery story and for a much needed stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. Drive home, unpack groceries, put clothes into dryer.
  • Sort fabric packets into colors and put into our storage area.
  • While putting fabric away,, notice we are low on a few colors of fabric for the webstore.  Make note to call and order fabric.
  • Grab a quick bite of lunch, and text husband about the landscapers


  • Check email, distributor order came in.  Reply back with shipping date, pack order, back to QuickBooks, print postage.  Walk back out to mailbox, another lap for the dog.
  • My FB message notification goes off, can I donate a quilt for an my upcoming class reunion?   I can, make a note in calendar to decide which quilt to donate, when to send description and photo graph.
  • Plans have shifted, since landscapers are not coming.  I can shift some work that needs concentration to this afternoon.
  • Pull out schedule for next week, teaching at conference, look at supply list and pack patterns, handouts, fabric packets for the kits for class.  Print out handouts for one class, collate and staple.  Print out “trip check-list” note class handouts and kits have been packed.  Pull travel details and contract for this trip from file, add to growing stack for “next trip”.  Prepare invoice, add to stack.
  • While printing handouts, notice toner and I-Units for laser printer are low.  Go online and order printer supplies.
  • While checking printing supplies, double-check paper supply. We are fine, bought paper two weeks ago, no need for more at this time.
  • While checking paper supply, check store notions, make sure we have supplies for upcoming classes.  Make note of areas that are low, add to “to-do” list for ordering next week.
  • Check calendar to make sure I’m up to date on all flight and hotel reservations for upcoming trips.  Add note to calendar when next hotel reservation needs to be made.
  • Check email, question about my new fabric line, research answer and reply
  • Run upstairs to laundry room, pull shirts to finish drying so no ironing is needed, finish drying rest of clothes.  Notice the dog has slopped food on the floor, near his food dish.  Grab steam mop, do a quick clean-up
  • Notice UPS has pulled up to the house.  Totes and boxes from booth at Spring Market is being delivered.  Carry 3 totes and several large boxes downstairs, unpack quilts, re-organize booth supplies for next Market, put booth supplies into storage totes
  • Back down to office, pull notes for new pattern for the latest fabric line.  Pattern is due in a few weeks, must start rough draft.  Turn off radio, all SM notifications so no distractions.  Write first draft of pattern, using notes I made while making quilt and double checking measurements with actual quilt.  This takes several hours.  On another day, I will need to format, check spelling, double or triple check the math, add illustrations and start cover graphics. (One pattern down, two more to go)
  • Check email, request for fabric for block challenge for an upcoming trip I will be teaching at.  Check on availability and possibility. .  . it is affirmative.  Get mailing address and prepare to mail.
  • Make notes for next fabric line, ideas/concept/color, add deadline to turn in to calendar.
  • Check to-do list and deadlines.  Magazine article is due shortly.  First and second draft of article have been completed.    Give a quick read-through, make notes in red to changes needed.  Will finish next week, add deadline to calendar.
  • Check email again, questions about fabric line that has been discontinued 5 years ago, reply and give options for finding out-of-print fabric lines.


  • Think about dinner, text husband about his ETA,   dash to kitchen fix salad and prepare meat for grill.    We eat, clean up kitchen, chat for a few minutes and back to work.
  • Check online class, answer questions, check email, answer what needs to be done, check calendar/deadlines.  Text daughter, meeting her tomorrow, plan meeting and plan work before I meet her.
  • Write first draft of next online newsletter,  write draft of next blog post.
  • Brisk walk with dog and husband, walk around yard and discuss landscaping.
  • Make notes of a new quilt design that popped in my head while walking the dog.
  • One more check of email/class/Social Media, starting to get tired. . . winding down. . . . and off to bed

This is a pretty good example of a sample day when I’m home, between teaching trips.  Helps to be organized and helps to multi-task.  Some days, I actually make it into my sewing studio!

International Quilt Market is held every spring and fall.   Fall Quilt Market is always held in Houston, usually around the middle to the end of October.  Spring Quilt Market is usually held in May and it moves around the country.

This year’s Spring Quilt Market will be held in Minneapolis and it is just around the corner!

It is always exciting to attend Quilt Market, see all the new items being released, seeing old friends, making new ones.

For those of us with booths, it is extra exciting.  The booth needs to be planned, curtains and table coverings made.  Quilts designed and made to showcase new fabric lines and patterns available.  Props and goodies prepared for the booth.  Handouts written and printed.  Patterns designed, illustrated, and printed.  Lots to do, usually in a short time.

The count down has begun! My booth has been packed and shipped.  I will see everything again,  next week during set-up.  I’m working on the last few quilts and will hand carry them with me.  I can’t wait to share them with you.

I will have new fabric collections to share!  I will post photos on my Facebook page while I’m at Market Once I get home, I will share photos here.  If you are going to Market, please stop by my booth #2046 and say hello.

Looking forward to seeing some of you at Market and sharing photos with everyone very soon!

I  couldn’t be more delighted to introduce my new Craftsy class, NEW DIRECTIONS IN TUMBLING BLOCKS with all of you!!   It has been fun to share sneak peeks and hints on Facebook and my blog these past few weeks.


You can see the class trailer here:   http://www.craftsy.com/video/course?courseId=5040

For those of you who have commented or shared the posts with your friends, I can’t thank you enough! There were so great guesses! Well now, I can share more information and photos with you!


Simply put, my new CRAFTSY class features fast, fun techniques for creating
fantastic quilts of illusion.  You won’t believe how easy it is to create beautiful optical illusions!

celtic wrapped cropped

I have so much to share with you in this class!  Often tumbling blocks can appear intimidating. However, you won’t believe how easy it is, once you know how!

We will start learning all the tricks of fabric selection, cutting and piecing Tumbling Blocks by creating a lovely  Tumbling Blocks runner.



tumbling blocks rotated croppped

But the fun only begins with the Tumbling Block runner!  Next, and here’s the real magic, we will take  tumbling block into a brand new direction!

Trio cropped

With all  the tricks and tips I’ve shared in class,  you can create stunning 3-D quilts.  Let me show you how to put different colors together to create areas that pop out or areas that appear in shadow.  I will show you how to create intriguing designs with a simply flip of a patchwork piece, yes, it is really that easy!

wrapped cropped

During the class, I will show you how to create different amazing designs, all with a 3-D look.  You will have fun, learn a lot,  and I will be guiding you every step of the way.

Need to see a step over again?  It’s simple! Each Craftsy class allows you has a 30 second video repeat and allows you to make video notes.    You can watch me demo a step as many times as you wish!

celebration cropped

Duo extra cropped

Your Craftsy class is yours to keep – watch any time and as many times as you like!  The class is filmed in high-definition, so you can see all the details I’m showing. . .  as if you are standing right next to me, watching every step.




So what are you waiting for????

Maybe a sweet discount?


Alrighty, you’ve got it!    Click HERE  for a GREAT discount for this brand new class, NEW DIRECTIONS  IN TUMBLING BLOCKS!  

Please feel free to share this blog post (and sweet discount) with all your friends and guild members.  I would appreciate that so much!


We had so much fun while filming!

laying out

No lunch break until some of the crew lay out a 3-D Cube!

high five

They did it!!!! First try!!

Here’s Marshall (camera man extraordinaire!), getting that perfect shot!  (Yes, while he was filming my hands, I do have my reading glasses on. . . so I can see perfectly what I’m doing!)


Take ONE!

Marshall and Karen

I have so much to show you!   We will simply have a blast creating these amazing quilts.

Please consider yourself personally invited to join me in my new CRAFTSY class: NEW DIMENSIONS IN TUMBLING BLOCKS.

And I’ll see YOU on the CRAFTSY platform!

Banner 300x250

Very soon, my next online class with Craftsy will be launching!!!

I’ve got one more sneak peek picture to show you!!

celebration close up

I can’t wait to  show you all the tricks, tips and projects in this class.  It is one of my favorite kind of quilts to create!

So, any ideas???

Remember to check back, I will be posting as the class launches, sharing the Title card with you, lots of photos, announce the winner of the free class and, oh yes. . . . there is one more surprise!

caftsy logo

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at http://www.karencombs.com

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