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We’ve just returned from a fantastic quilt cruise with Voyage of the Vikings with  Quilt Seminars at Sea.

During sea days, I taught my Celtic Illusions technique, a Transparency class and a special class: Quilts of Illusion, focused on creating perspective in quilts.

We sailed from Amsterdam, our group joining us there and had port stops in Newcastle in England, South Queensferry (Edinburgh) and Invergordon (Inverness) in Scotland.  3 stops in Iceland and 2 stops in Norway rounded out our trip.

During our time at sea, we had quilt classes, get-togethers, quilt games, sewing time and fun being together.

Some photos from our time in Amsterdam.  While there, we visited museums and enjoyed walking along the canals.

Collage #1 Viking Cruise

Our first classes were held once we were on the ship.  We had full classes and excited students from around the world.

Celtic quilt cruise.jpg

Our first stop was Newcastle-on-Tyne in England. Some of us took a shore excursions to York.

Loved our visit there! Some fantastic sight-seeing and a yummy fish and chips lunch.

York, quilt cruise

Stops in South Queensferry and Invergordon were our next stop. Rick and I scheduled a tour with a Steve, our Scottish guide.  Outlander fans will recognize some of these locations.


One of my favorite photos of Rick and I, at  Midhope Castle (Lallybroch to Outlander fans)


Onward toward Iceland, quilting classes while we sailed.  Iceland is an amazing place.  Many of us took shore excursions while we were at port.  A few photos from this amazing place.

Iceland Quilt Cruise

One of our stops was a geyser just outside Reyjkavik.  I was able to capture a slo-motion video of its eruption.


After three stops in Iceland, we were ready for more quilt classes and quilting fun!

Next stop, Norway,  more beautiful sights, yummy snacks and wonderful quilting inspiration.


It was an amazing trip with memories to last a life-time.

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!

Most of my day will be spent in pattern writing and some other projects.  As I’m getting started, I wandered across some beautiful photos of lavender fields, just had to share them. . .  now back to work!

Image Source

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It’s raining like crazy here, but that won’t stop our celebration!

Just for fun, here’s some 4th of July quilt inspiration!

(Now I’m off to prepare for our big 4th of July party this evening!)

(From the collection of the International Quilt Festival)

(From Martha

live simply




Quilt of valor --"Three Tours"


star flowers  patriotic


Freda's Hive, great flag


And from my home to yours – I wish you a very happy 4th of July!

In just a few days, I will be cruising to the Western Caribbean with Quilt Seminars at Sea and 125+ excited quilters!

Most of today, I worked on final details and packing all the class supplies for the trip.  I’m looking forward to this cruise so much!!

I love the ocean and I love the Caribbean. The colors of the water are like none I’ve seen.

2012 pantone color of the year

I’ve always wondered why the colors are such a beautiful blue/green. From the research I’ve done, I’ve discovered several reasons.

#1: The color and depth of the sea floor. The Caribbean is very shallow compared to the Atlantic ocean, and it has very white or light-colored sand, which reflects the sunlight back up better. The combination makes the water a distinct blue color.

#2: There is less iron in the Caribbean waters. Algae grows with iron in the water. Also, the colder water creates more iron to release into the ocean.

#3: The answer is scientific: Light absorption colors the water. Sunlight, composed of electro-magnetic radiation ranging in color from red to blue, is scattered by particles suspended in the water. The shorter blue wavelengths scatter more effectively and are absorbed less rapidly than the longer red and orange wavelengths. Seawater appears blue for about 100 feet under the surface, then becomes black with the absence of light. In essence, sunlight performs a tango on the water to account for the brightly colored Caribbean Sea.

By contrast, the Red Sea is red because it contains algae that release reddish-brown pigments; the Yellow Sea is yellow because rivers fill it with mud; and the Black Sea is black because it is essentially landlocked, resulting in little oxygen except near the surface and a bottom filled with hydrogen sulfide.

Whatever the reason, the blue of the Caribbean is hard to describe. The blue is an almost mystically lucid blue, the blue of watercolors.


(Yup, my foot, set against the Caribbean, from a past cruise)

I’m often asked, where do I get my inspiration? It is all around me! The color of the Caribbean has inspired several of my fabric collections, as you can see in the Caribbean colors in my Serendipity collection.


It has even influenced some of my quilts!


Batik Cascade Ribbons (using the Serendipity fabric line)

I’m so pleased to see my quilt in October/November issue of The Quilter magazine, using my Knick-Knack fabric line.

I love the fresh look of Turquoise blue, black and white in this quilt and in the collection!

Representative Image of TRO 1458 3  Representative Image of TRO 1454 3   Representative Image of TRO 1457 4  Representative Image of TRO 1452 3

Representative Image of TRO 1455 3  Representative Image of TRO 1456 1  Representative Image of TRO 1451 3  Representative Image of TRO 1451 1

Wish you had the fabric to make the quilt?  Great news!

Quilter’s Destination in Arlington Heights, Illinois has a kit for the quilt!

I just love this quilt shop!  The owner, Patti  has such a lovely, creative touch.  Each time I visit her shop, I am inspired!

She carries many of the Riverwood fabric lines such as my Midnight Blue,  Serendipity and Knick-Knack fabric lines and ALL of Marcia Derse’s fabric lines for Riverwoods.

In the area, stop by and get inspired! They are located at: 945 E. Rand Road, Arlington Heights, IL  60004

Not close by?   You can contact Patti for the Knick-Knack quilt kit or for many of the Riverwoods fabric lines.

You can call at 847-506-6410 or email them.

It is always interesting to see the Pantone’s pick for “Color of the Year”.  Drumroll please – the color of the year for 2012 is….


Tangerine Tango

According to the official announcement, the deep red-orange color is intended to give us all a big energy boost; a refresh and a recharge. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Institute tells us more about the choice for 2012:

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it. Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vicariousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Searching the web, here are some on the newest images using Tangerine:


Accent wall


Bath accessories

Wedding theme

 home accessories

Geo Bedding duvet cover
Zigzag printed rug
Moroccan-inspired embroidered pillow

Electrify electronics

tangerine-hued KitchenAid mixer
DeLonghi espresso maker

Touch of tangerine

A darker version of the sassy red-orange shade pops against the white framework.

These tangerine-color arm chairs lift an ordinary room up a notch.

A pop of tangerine with deep teal

Interesting combination, tangerine, yellow/green, deep teal and a touch of gray

Carpet by Serge Lesage.

Pop of orange against all this beautiful teal. . .

What do you think of the choice?  Are you ready to try the “tangerine tango”?  In some ways, I’m reminded of the colors on the 70’s. . . you may remember harvest gold, avocado green and orange.

While I will never wear an entire outfit of tangerine, nor will I make an entire orange quilt, I may use a pop of it here and there.

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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