February 2014 Quilting Cruise....
Quilters, add this to your Bucket List—a Quilting Cruise.
Many quilting teachers have gotten into the cruising mode to combine quilting classes with cruising. What could be better? Visit exotic ports, shopping for fabrics, travelling with other quilters, 3+ meals a day, someone to clean up your cabin while you relax and take quilting classes while at sea.
Has this ever happened to you? A late night phone call from a man with an Australian accent asking if you would like to cruise the Caribbean with him. This happened to me in 1989. Of course, I said “what did you say?”. Was this one of those phone calls I had been warned about? So, being curious, I said “tell me more”, thinking I should just hang up on this obscene phone call. He turned out to be a travel agent who wanted to put together a quilting cruise with me as the featured teacher. I had no idea how this worked, assuming it was legitimate. Never having been on a cruise, I called my friend, Jane, from Florida who had been on several cruises; she agreed to join me and also teach some on-board classes.
Since all of our work is done on a sewing machine, we would need sewing machines. How do we go about doing that? We got our first taste of dealing with customs, because sewing machines are made outside the US; and we were taking these machines out of the country and then bringing them back. Problem solved—the Viking sewing machine company, which was the major sponsor for my PBS-TV show, Strip Quilting, came to our rescue; they furnished the machines and also sent one of their educators on the cruise. Little by little, everything fell into place.
In 1990, our first quilting cruise left port with fourteen of us, including three teachers and husbands.
We have grown over the years until now we average about 85-120 quilters on each cruise, many of whom have returned several times. And the rest is history. I have become addicted to cruising as well as being already addicted to quilting. What a great life! And to think, I almost hung up on what I thought might be an obscene phone call, but instead was a life-changing event.
What cruise stories I could tell—about machines blowing up, losing machines in customs, “George” (who came along on our cruise in a box), about shopping in the water, buying molas in the San Blas Islands of Panama. Many of these stories have become part of my quilting lectures and are also included in my book, Everyone Can Quilt.
In February of 2013, we will return to the Western Caribbean for my 14th quilting cruise; this time on the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas.
A big celebration is being planning with my 15th quilting cruise in February of 2014 with a combination 22-day land tour and quilting cruise to Australia and New Zealand.
Click HERE for more details!