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It’s been a busy few months, no time to even post!

My last post was about the Western Caribbean cruise with Quilts Seminars at Sea.  We had a simply wonderful time on our cruise to the Western Caribbean!  I’m looking forward to my next quilting cruise to Tahiti!  I believe a few more spots are open, if you wish to join us. Details are here.


So far this year, I have visited

  • Fontera Quilt guild in Harlinger, Texas
  • Quilter’s Destination (wonderful quilt shop in Arlington Heights IL)
  •  traveled with a great group of quilters to the Western Caribbean
  • Naples Quilt Guild in Naples, Florida
  • North Coast Needlers in Cleveland Ohio
  • Merrimack Quilters in New Hampshire
  • Shining Tide Quilt guild in Massachusetts (Hi ML!)
  • Charlotte Quilt Guild in Charlotte, NC
  • Spring Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Mohawk Quilt Guild and North County Guild in beautiful up-state New York
  • Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon
  • Mount Vernon Quilters near Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Greater San Antonio Quilt guild in San Antonio, Texas

I had a wonderful time with each and every guild.  I’ve got to say, quilters are just the best group of people, hands down!

Next week, I will be visiting the Clamshell Quilt Guild in Connecticut and then to the Wiregrass Quilt Guild in Georgia.

So far this year, I’ve worked on several new fabric lines for Troy’s Riverwood Collection;   NUANCE & new JAVA JEWEL BATIKS

More fabric lines are in the work, to be released by Fall Market.

As you can see, it’s been a busy few months. . . and I’m lovin’ every minute of it.

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)

Next week, I’m headed on a super-secret quilting trip. . . can’t share details yet, but can later in October.

Since I can’t share details about this trip, I thought I would share some of the newest trips, added to my schedule.  I get emails and comments about where I travel and teach.  Best place to look is here, my travel schedule. I keep it updated and current, so you can see where I’m going.

My 2012-13 schedules are full, however, I’ve added the following new trips in 2014.

March 11-12

Surfside Quilters Guild
San Clemente, California

June 5-7

Quilt Symposium of Alabama
Location to be announced

And(!)  May 1-10
Cruise to Tahiti & Society Islands
Details here:

I’ve got more trips in the works and will put them on the webpage as we confirm the  dates.  If your guild or quilt show would like me to visit your area, I would love to chat with you about open dates!

Please fill out my online contact form here and I would be happy to send your guild more information.

Well, this is just as exciting as it can be, in 2014, I will be teaching on a cruise around the islands of Tahiti with Quilt Seminars at Sea!

No only sailing around the islands, but doing it on the  m/s Paul Gauguin, an intimate and ultra-luxurious vessel, AND have the opportunity to attend the 14th annual Salon du Tifaifai Quilt Festival!

I’m so excited that I could not wait to share the news!

Want details??     Visit Quilt Seminars at Sea’s website

Hoping you can join us!


Hello to all,

I can’t express in words my thanks to everyone who emailed, posted, shared the news of my stolen quilts and teaching bag, and prayed on my behalf. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

There is no word or sign of the quilts. . . much to my dismay.  I still remain hopeful that they will be found. Please continue to keep an eye out  when you are at a flea market, yard sale, re-sale shop or even at a Good Will store.  They could be anywhere.

In the meantime, I’m remaking my teaching samples, “re-tooling” my teaching bag, and starting to remake the quilts.  While they will never be the same as the original, I will remake them as beautiful as possible and will continue to share them to the quilt world. . . through my class, Patchwork Illusions, in patterns and in my lectures.

If there is any positive word, I will share it here first.  Even if they are not found, that can never change the kind words and love shown to me in this sad situation.  Again, I thank you all.

I’ve always said that quilters are special. . . they really are!

It is something every traveling quilt teacher fears, her quilts will be stolen or lost.  Unfortunately, it has happened to me. I’m heartbroken. . . please share the images and story below.  I hope they will be found.

On March 16, 2012, sometime between midnight and 6am at the Courtyard New Braunfels River Village, my rental car’s driver window was broken and my teaching suitcase was stolen. The hotel is located at 750 IH 35 North in New Braunfels, Texas. The police were called, they stated the break-in looked like the work of a professional.

It was a “smash and grab”. The vandals did not know what they were taking and it will have no value to them.  It means the world to me. . .

Inside the suitcase were the quilts  from my popular Patchwork Illusions class. I also lost all my teaching supplies and step-by-step demos for the class.

If you live in New Braunfels or anywhere in Texas, please check local yard sales, flea markets and pawn shops for the quilts.  Everyone, please   forward this blog posting to every quilter and quilt shop you know and ask them to forward it to everyone they know.

If you find one of my quilts or quilt  blocks, please contact me at

Thank you for all your help,


Patchwork Illusions quilt – BATIK CASCADE RIBBONS

Patchwork Illusions quilt – DUO

Patchwork Illusions quilt – RAINBOW CUBE

Patchwork Illusions quilt – TRIO

Patchwork Illusions quilt top – DARK CRYSTAL STAR

Patchwork Illusions quilt top – LIGHT CRYSTAL STAR

Patchwork Illusions quilt – RIBBON CUBE

Patchwork Illusions quilt blocks

Patchwork Illusions quilt – STACKED AND WRAPPED

Patchwork Illusions quilt top – CUBED

Western Caribbean
February 10 – 17, 2013

Beat the winter blues and take a short break from everyday life. Visit some of the most beautiful ports in the Caribbean

In 2013, I’m returning to the fabulous Caribbean with Quilt Seminars at Sea!  We’ll sail on Holland America Line’s beautiful ms Nieuw Amsterdam, round trip out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We will visit some of the Western Caribbean’s most beautiful ports; Grand Cayman,  Mahogany Bay, Costa Maya and Holland America’s award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay! What a great way to beat the winter blues and take a short break from everyday life while enjoying 5 star service and the company of fellow quilters!

From turtles to stingrays, submarines to snorkeling, there’s something wonderful awaiting you in every port of call! Onboard ship you will have the opportunity to perfect your quilting skills with many class choices, as well as myriad opportunities for “SEWCIALIZING” with other people who all share your love of quilting!

You will have new Bernina sewing machines for your use during class!  You can even go home  with a wonderful buy on a new Bernina!  Quiltworks Northwest in Bellevue, Washington  is making this possible for us.  They will also be operating our quilt shop on board the ms Nieuw Amsterdam for your shopping convenience during the quilt seminar at sea.

This trip will sell out fast, so book early! There are a list of quilters 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!  They have many activities to pursue while you are in class!

Nothing better cruisin’ and quiltin’!  For more details, visit Quilt Seminar at Sea’s website or call Amy at 1-866-573-6351.

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

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