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Southern Caribbean and the Panama Canal

November 9-20, 2015


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

In 2015, I’m returning to the fabulous Caribbean with Quilt Seminars at Sea!  We’ll sail on Holland America Line’s beautiful ms Zuiderdam, round trip out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We will visit some beautiful ports in the Caribbean, Central and South America; Curacao, Aruba, Cartagena, Colon, Holland America’s award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay.  In addition, you will also be privileged to see one of the world’s greatest engineering marvels with a partial transit of the Panama Canal! It’s an amazing accomplishment and sure to take your breath away. What a great way to take a break from everyday life while enjoying 5-star service and the company of fellow quilters.

There’s something wonderful awaiting you in every port of call, whether it be the diverse wildlife, amazing views or exotic cultures! . Onboard you can take a wide variety of quilt classes taught by myself as well as Gyleen X. Fitzgerald, Kimberly Einmo and Kathy McNeil!

Sewing machines will be provided for your use, and you will also have the chance to purchase a new machine at a great price. Seize the opportunity to perfect your quilting skills and “sewcialize” with other people who share your love of quilting. You may arrive as strangers but you will leave with many new friends!

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.

I’ve been working on a very special cruise with Quilt Seminars at Sea!   Details are below, this is going to be a fantastic trip!









Indonesia: A Quilter’s Dream

January 5-19, 2016 | Sailing Roundtrip from Singapore

with teacher, author & fabric designer Karen Combs

Bali. A dream come true.  Join Karen Combs on board Holland America’s msVolendam for a trip like no other.  Begin and end in the city-state of Singapore and enjoy included tours throughout Indonesia that will inspire and amaze you.

You must use the link below, to see the details about the trip.  Space is very limited, so reserve your spot today!


The trip of a lifetime begins and ends in Singapore on a 14-day cruise.  Visit the Indonesian ports of Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Probolinggo, Lombok, Komodo Island and overnight on board ship in magical Bali.  Tours along the way in the ports will show you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Indonesian fabric industry.
We will visit the biggest textile market in South East Asia, Tanah Abang Market, on Jakarta.  While on Java, we will not only visit traditional markets, but observe the process of making batiks.  Once you’ve observed, step in and learn from a batik expert as they guide you through designing and creating your own hand-made batik to bring home!  While in Bali, visit the center of Balinese hand-woven fabric, and find the unique Kamben Grinsing (flaming cloth), which villagers believe protect its wearer from evil.
Round out the cruise with a tour to Komodo Island where you can visit the amazing Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat.
With lectures, shopping time and surprises along the way, this will be an unforgettable trip of a lifetime!


Karen is an internationally known quilter, teacher, author and fabric designer.  She is fascinated with optical illusions, these are the subjects of many of her workshops.  Designing fabrics for the quilt industry since 2001, Karen is known for her beautiful fabric designs, both batiks and quilting cotton.  She has found a home designing fabrics for Riverwoods Collection for Troy Corporation.During this fantastic cruise, Karen will share information about fabric design, production and some of the secrets of creating batiks.


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!

I’m honored to be featured on the latest Quilter’s Home Magazine blog!

They are featuring my First Light quilt pattern.

In addition, they mention my upcoming cruises.
The Mediterranean Cruise is almost here, coming up at the end of July!
The Alaska Cruise is next June.

I’m looking forward to each cruise.  What could be better? Quilting, cruising, a perfect combination.  I hope you can join us!

I love quilt cruises.  Combine quilting (our favorite passion) and cruising, what could be better??

February 3-13, 2010, we will be cruising the Southern Caribbean with ports of call at St. Maartin, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique and the Bahamas. Other teachers on the cruise include: Mary Sorensen, Karen Kay Buckley, Barbara Randle & Janet Jones Worley. 

Now the bad news, it is sold out!

Here is the good news!  My next quilt cruise will be in August 2011. . . to the Mediterranean!

We will be cruising to fabulous ports in Italy, Croatia and the Greek Isles. Other teachers on the cruise include John Flynn, Elly Sienkiewicz, Cindy Walter and Christine Porter.

Details will be posted soon at Quilt Seminars at Sea. 

If you would like information immediately, please contact Kim or Amy at 866-573-6351.

One of our stores while on the cruise was to go through the Panama Canal. I’ve visited the Canal while on land and watched ships travel through the canal, however it is different being the one on the ship!

The Panama Canal Locks lift ships up to 85 feet, to the main elevation of the Panama Canal. The total length of the locks structure, including approach walls is nearly 2 miles.

Our approach, to the Gatun Lake locks, looking at the locks from our balcony on the deck 7.

panama canal

 Usually there is a North-South lane and a South-North lane. This morning, both lanes were North-South. You can see the second lane next to us in this photo.


A huge freighter was just ahead of us. Clearance of just over 2′ on each side!


As we passed next to the freighter, we looked down from the deck 10.


A tug boat tagged along and went through the locks after  freighter.

panama canal

The lock chamber closing.


Each lock chamber requires 26.7 million U.S. gallons to fill it from the lowered position to raised; the same amount of water must be drained from the chamber to lower it again.  Embedded in the side and centre walls are three large water culverts, which are used to carry water from the lake into the chambers to raise them, and from each chamber down to the next, or to the sea, to lower them.

The water is moved by gravity, and is controlled by huge valves in the culverts; each cross culvert is independently controlled. A lock chamber can be filled in as little as eight minutes; there is significant turbulence in the lock chamber during this process.


From the beginning Mules have guided the ships through the lock chambers. The mules run on rack tracks. With as little as 2′ of space on each side of a ship, considerable skill is required on the part of the mule operators.

In February, I’ll be teaching on a cruise to the Panama Canal and Costa Rica. It is a fabulous cruise with I’ll be joined by Paula Nadelstern, Mary Sorensen, Charlotte Warr Andersen, Sharon Pederson and Mary Lou Weidman. I know we will have a fantastic time!

The cruise has sold out quickly and there are only a few spots left. If you would like to join us on the cruise, don’t hesitate! Visit their website or give them a call at

Debbee Nelson at Quilt Seminars at Sea
     Phone: TOLL FREE (866) 573-6351
     Fax: (208) 667-1248

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

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