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Quilting Retreat 2019

I am getting ready to leave for quilting retreat.

Do you wonder What that is? Where do you find them? What do you do at one? What do I need to take with me?

I am off at quilting retreat with a bunch of my friends this next week so won’t be putting out a blog post. We are up north at Camp Friedenswald for 5 days of sewing, food and friends, and a little shopping maybe. I hope to get a quilt top for the family room started and ready to put on the longarm before I come home. I also have a few quilt tops to make bigger so I can quilt them for our guild for charities and maybe I can get them done while I am there.

What is a quilting retreat?

Imagine a place where all you do is sew, visit with your quilting friends, make new quilting friends, learn new techniques, eat and maybe go fabric shopping and you don’t have any family or household distractions to keep you from it. Do you have that thought in your mind?

That is what a quilting retreat is

Oh, and some of us sleep some at night although I have known some quilters to stay up most of the night sewing. 

If that sounds like fun, then you should get yourself to a quilt retreat if possible.

Where can I find a quilting retreat?

I have always found my retreats thru our local guilds; most guilds have them or know someone who is having them. You can also find them listed online if you and some of your friends wish to have a retreat and don’t have a guild sponsored one. Just do an online search for ‘quilt retreats near me’ and you will find some. 

I have also known some to hold their own retreats at a destination they wanted and they stayed at a hotel who had a small conference room they could use to sew in. The problem we had with that was if you have access and security, was the door locked when no one was in there and if so how do you get in to sew unless it is at designated times.

There are even quilting cruises if you wish to travel and sew. 

My favorite retreats have been at dedicated retreat centers like we are attending this next week. We have a lodge to ourselves with a large central room for all of our sewing, a kitchen where we fix our own meals (it is cheaper than paying someone to feed you) and rooms that sleep several but that have bathrooms for each bedroom.

What exactly do you do at quilting retreats?

Some retreats have group sewing activities planned, and you work on the projects you bring to work on. Sometimes there are classes you can attend to learn new skills. Many times you go shopping at local quilt shops, that is always fun. And we get to know each other better. 

What to take to your quilting retreats

If you have never been to a retreat you might not realize how much stuff you have to take with you. Sometimes it feels like you might as well pick up your whole sewing room and transplant it to the retreat location, it feels like it when you get done. And it never fails you forget something important. 

Most often there are enough people with extra thread, needles etc to help out if you forget them and someone is always willing to go shopping if you need to, but if you forget your sewing machine cord or pedal it might be a different matter. 

But try your best to remember everything you need so you don’t have to borrow.

A helpful list for quilting retreat

To help you get the most out of your retreat and know you have what you need I am including a list of must have as well as optional things to take with you. (this is not necessarily a complete list, just what I can think of)

  • Sewing machine in good working order, cleaned and oiled and ready to go.
  • Foot pedal and power cord – can’t sew without them.
  • Extension cord and power strip.
  • Any machine feet you think you will need, I usually just take all of them in my sewing organizer.
  • Lots of bobbins, you can fill them before you go to save time but it isn’t required.
  • Machine needles
  • Screwdriver
  • Lint brush
  • Machine oil
  • scraps of fabric to test tension
  • Sewing lamp
  • Backup sewing machine if you have one.
  • Fabric for your projects, I try to cut my projects out before I go so I can just focus on sewing. But do take your leftover fabric in case you have to re-cut something.
  • Pattern for your project.
  • Other projects, small and fun to give you a break from your main project if you get bored with it.
  • Handwork if you wish
  • Any notions you might need for your project – buttons, zipper etc.
  • Thread for each project
  • Machine extension table (optional)
  • Portable chair (optional and if allowed)
  • Chair or chair cushion (optional and if allowed)
  • Scissors, large and small, fabric and paper
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rotary mat
  • Rotary rulers
  • Seam ripper
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Empty box for used rotary blades and needles.
  • Tweezers
  • Straight pins
  • Thread catcher/paper bag
  • Fabric marking pens/chalk
  • Glue stick if needed
  • Zip lock bags for scraps
  • Basting spray if needed
  • Needles and thimble for hand sewing if needed
  • Pin cushion and pins
  • Light and magnifier
  • Portable iron and ironing board
  • Safety pins
  • Design wall (optional)
  • Spray starch or alternative
  • Scotch tape
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Pen/pencil
  • Paper/notebook
  • Computer
  • Stain remover pen
  • Music and headphones
  • Snacks for yourself and to share
  • Drinks 
  • Re-usable water bottle
  • Kitchen sink – not really but you are packing everything else. lol
  • Map to location and local shops you want to visit.
  • Comfortable shoes, socks or slippers
  • Layer your clothing so you can add or remove as the temperature inside fluctuates. 
  • Pajamas and robe – lots of people wear their jammies to sew.
  • Medications
  • Pain medication you need.
  • Aspirin/tylenol/ibuprofen
  • Hot pack
  • Band-aids
  • Nail file/clippers
  • Tissues
  • Hand lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion
  • Phone and charger
  • Camera and charger or battery
  • If you plan on shopping, remember coupons, maps and loyalty cards.
  • Glasses
  • Toiletries – shampoo/conditioner, shower gel/soap, facial cleanser, lotion, toothpaste and brush, hair brush, hair dryer/curling iron, deodorant.
  • Bedding if it isn’t provided.
  • Towels and washcloths if not provided.

To do before you leave for your quilting retreat.

Besides the obvious packing you need to do (see above lists) you should also thingk of a few other things you might need to do before you leave.

Check to make sure none of your bills come due the week you are gone, if some do then pay them before you leave so you don’t worry about them.

Make sure you have enough of your prescriptions to last thru your retreat and at least an extra day after so you don’t have to rush out to fill it. 

It is also a good idea to have a list of your medications and where you fill the prescriptions and any health issues you have with your things, we tape them to the back of our sewing machines so they are easy to grab in case of emergency. I also have them on my phone.


If you are leaving a pet at home alone, make sure you have someone coming to care for them or take them to boarding. Even cats need some checking on every once in awhile. 

If you are going to be leaving the house empty have your mail held or have a neighbor or friend come check on things and gather your mail/packages.

Leave how to contact you in case of emergency. The retreat center we are going to doesn’t get cell or internet service at the lodge so in case of emergency my family has to contact the office and they send someone to get me. 

Relax and have a great time at your next retreat, I know I will.

I will be back week after next with the next blog post and I will share pictures of my project and other pictures if I take them.

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