Thursday, May 10, 2018

Another Boat Ride

It's pretty unusual that I'm scheduled to teach on two quilt cruises within a month or two of each other. About six weeks ago, I reported on my quilt cruise with Quilt Retreat at Sea, and now this! This time I headed out with Stitchin' Heaven.

As you enter the pier terminal, the Royal Caribbean marketing gets it right! At the beginning of any new endeavor - a vacation or any other new experience, there's always that excitement for what's to come.

Who will you meet?

What new adventures will you have?

Will it be fun?

Um, Yeah!!

The Players

Once we are all registered, the three teachers for the cruise wait for our turn to board. . .from left to right Darlene Zimmerman, me, next photo, me again but smaller, Nancy Mahoney, and Erin our fearless and fabulous Stitchin' Heaven Coordinator Extraordinaire!

At Sea

Our first day at sea, and work on the projects begins. Each of the quilt instructors heads the activities in three different rooms. Our group - including 97 quilters on this trip - take over the entire conference center on the ship for the entire week.

Choices, choices. Below, Hanna (facing us in the pink) and Aaron (in the foreground with her back to us) are two sisters who started their first quilt project on board. They were a bit tentative at first, but I think, maybe, they might be hooked - do you remember that special feeling that came with your very first seam and your very first quilt block?

In fact, everyone seemed ready to have a great time.

Before too long, blocks start to emerge from quarter inch seams and scrappy fabric selections. For this cruise all three quilts are scrappy. My project was Moody Blue from The Versatile Nine Patch.

In Port

After just one day in the sewing room, we are in port for three days in a row. No quilt classes while in port, but folks can sew if they like.

Cozumel, Mexico was our first stop. For this trip, I had a bit of work to do online, so I opted out of any of the shore excursions, but made a point to take a break to walk around, soak in the sun, and enjoy a little retail therapy! So very relaxing!

Our second port was Grand Cayman, one of the three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Look at that blue water! The ships are not quite in port- for Grand Cayman, they tender a bit off-shore to preserve the natural sea habitats along the shoreline, and the cruise guests shuttle to the island by smaller boat.

I'm a big fan of the Caymans, known for many things, including the natural iguana population, Cayman parrots, caymanite (a semi-precious gemstone that features layers of various shades of brown), stingrays, favorable banking regulations for the rich and famous, and the location of Joan and Dave Ford's honeymoon vacation a few years (a-hem) back!.

Our third port was Falmouth, Jamaica. Before heading ashore for some more shopping therapy (there were a couple of bottles of rum cream with my name on them!), I witnessed a lifeboat drill.

Several alarms sounded on the ship, after which the crew lowered a handful of the lifeboats and floated around for a little bit. I'm sure it's much more stressful in a for-real emergency, but it kinda looked like fun!

And then I proceeded on to the island of Jamaica. Our beautiful ship, Liberty of the Seas seemingly watches over the activity in port.

Back on board, dinner awaited us daily, served in the dining room by our two entertaining servers, Nishank, our head waiter from India, and Jarbson, our assistant waiter from Brazil, who kept the wine flowing and who entertained us with some outrageous hats that suited his fun personality. You can see many of the quilters, all having a wonderful time at dinner in the background.

With just a few more days to sew, progress started to heat up. Rows, then quilt centers, then quilt tops came together, even as the tables and sewing machines started to get packed away.

In the end, the adventure was a huge success, but it was time to say good-bye to all our new friends, as well as our cabin-towel-critters. BUT the good-byes aren't the end. . .

A big fat welcome to those from the cruise joining this edition of Good Migrations. So nice to have you here!

And, . . . with just a few days left before the Pudgie Parrot banner has to be ready for Quilt Market, I'm happy to report that it's in pretty good shape.

I managed to steal away a few minutes here and there on board the ship to do some of the hand quilting.

Do you think it'll get done in time? (Oh, yeah!)

Happy Stitching!


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