I spent most of this week finishing off the bronze spandex totem and quilting 9 circular “tree trunks” for the top ends of each column. It was handy to have Freya at home to help check and pack all of the Northern Lights kits for the cruise. Following her sage advice, I made up one of the kits from scratch to double-check the quantities were all sufficient for a 16” cushion.
I gradually crossed things off my packing list and the only thing that I did not include in the end was a pair of binoculars. Everything for the classes was organised into little poly-bags and made up the bulk of my luggage. My clothes were all squashed into my carry-on bag. Obviously, I felt it necessary to start making a zipped bag for my drawing tablet the day before I left but I was not concentrating so it finished up being too small. I decided to use it for cables/chargers instead then proceeded to resize a pre-existing laptop sleeve to fit the tablet.
I had an early flight to London on Saturday morning followed by a bus trip to the port of Southampton. I had not expected The Independence of the Seas to look quite so much like an invading spaceship. I cannot describe how truly enormous it looked with 14 decks, elevators, an ice-rink, theatre, running track, pools, restaurants and even a High Street of shops.
The quilting tutors met the students for the first time before a formal dinner in one of the many dining-rooms. The group included ladies from USA, Canada, England, Cyprus, Scotland and Wales. They were not particularly impressed with the squashed Tunnock’s tea cakes in their goody bags. I forgot to explain that I had also included a sachet of Hungarian dye and found out later that some people opened their packets and tasted the contents, thinking that they might be a rehydrating solution in case of a stomach upset!
We had an early start for two classes on Sunday and it was super to have a maximum of 10 students in each class. I introduced my pupils to freehand rotary cutting and using slightly different techniques to achieve gently curved piecing. The emphasis was on taking a relaxed approach and declaring that there were no “mistakes, just deliberate design choices.
After spending most of the day busily sewing below decks in the classroom we emerged on deck to bright sunshine where other cruisers were sunbathing beside the pool or jogging laps around the ship to work up an appetite. Over dinner the students discussed what they had achieved that day and started to get to know each other a bit better. There were a few glitzy outfits - my gold lamé Doc Marten boots seemed appropriate enough;)