What is a Quilt Retreat?A quilt retreat can mean different things to different people. Some retreats have more structure than others. Some will have classes and usually you are free to participate or not in those. Always bring more to work on than you think you will need. I bring LOTS of different projects to work on. I like to put individual projects in plastic bags or project tubs. I try to include everything in that tub that goes with the project such as HST paper, specialty rulers, the pattern and so on. (Note: do all of your pre-cutting BEFORE retreat - gives you more time for sewing)
My FIRST retreat (way back in 1983 at the Oklahoma State Retreat at Fin-n-Feather Resort) had around 250 quilters from Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. It had Friday night entertainment, vendors, classes, and meals provided. This was a full structured event, I remember that Ricky Timms was the speaker at one of the retreats in the 1980's. Nowadays, I mostly just attend retreats with close friends or Bee members, and we usually start on a Monday morning through Thursday noon.
Keep in mind that each retreat facility is different. Some places you need to bring your own bedding and towels. Some places do the cooking for you, others you bring in food or go out to eat. I am not covering drinks and snacks in this list. Free PDF Quilt Retreat Checklist
These days there are many Retreat Centers that cater to quilters (and scrap bookers). In addition to sleeping and kitchen facilities will have a large classroom area with plenty of personal workspace with comfy chairs, ironing stations, design walls, cutting areas, lots of plug-ins and Wi-Fi. In those cases you wouldn't need to bring those items.
For Your Sewing Machine
- Sewing machine (including foot pedal and power cord!)
- Extension cord and power cord (newer ones have the USB plug)
- Extra Machine Needles>
- Tools (lint brush, screwdriver, feet)
- Extension table for machine (i.e. Steady Betty)
- Pad or cushion for your chair
For The Projects
- Neutral colored sewing thread
- Paper & Fabric Scissors
- Rotary mat and rulers *
- Rotary cutter and extra replacement blades
- Specialty rulers or acrylic templates *
- Basic sewing supplies (scissors, seam ripper, thread catcher, pincushion and pins)
- Hand sewing needles and thimble
- Zip lock bags in a variety of sizes
- Spray starch, sizing or Best Press
- Notebook, graph paper, pens, pencil.
- Your GLASSES, CPAP equipment
- Travel iron and small board or mat if doing paper piecing, etc.
- Medicines (prescriptions, OTC items (Rolaids, sleep aids, Aleve, etc)
- Insulated cup for tea or soft drinks.
- Nail file, lotion, lip balm
- Charging cables for phone, laptop, tablet, etc.
- Light jacket or sweater
- Comfy shoes or slippers
- Snacks (fruit, veggies, nuts, and cheese)
- TV Tray (to extend sewing area)
*Be sure to label or mark any item(s) that might be shared.
**Depending on how many people are at the retreat, you might have to wait in line for cutting tables and/or irons.
If planning a retreat (or sew-in) at a location other than a retreat center, you will want to pack some extra items, or double check what is available at the location. Our group used to hold our retreats at a family members' lake house. That meant we had to bring extra (folding) tables, irons, lighting, large cutting mats, vinyl table cloths (for design walls), extension cords and power strips. You might also run into an issue with tripping breakers if you have too many irons heating at once!
The Thursday Night Bee started he year off for 2015 with a sew in at the ShadywoodQuilts Shop, This is our usual way to celebrate New Year's Day. Eight of our Bee members made it out on the rainy, cold day; but we were warmed inside our bodies with the chili and other goodies brought by each quilter. Smiles were brought to our outside by the joking, laughing, and general good fun. Several charity quilts were completed and others just need to be quilted. We were sewing on block exchanges, quilts for ourselves and some were busy knitting.
Quilt retreat packing list
NOTE - September 2020: Am headed for a Bee Retreat at a new Retreat Place. Hummingbird Retreat in Huntsville, Texas. This place provides all the meals and unloads your car for you! What a treat, and I am looking forward to next week.
If you have a suggestion for what to bring to a retreat; or let us know what YOU FORGOT to bring to a quilt retreat!