The great escape: quilt retreats

Posted by on September 24, 2012, in quilting & sewing,

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Wonderland RetreatsAh, bliss. Away from home for a weekend (or a week!) with your sewing machine, your good friends, and a stack of projects you’ve been itching to stitch. Who can resist the lure of a quilt retreat? (Right: Wonderland Retreats, Poulsbo, Washington)

If you’ve attended a quilters’ retreat, you’ve likely experienced the wonderful joy and energy that result when a group of creative, like-minded people come together. If you’ve never been to one, allow me to introduce you to the world of the quilting getaway.

What is a quilt retreat?
At its essence, a retreat is an opportunity to focus totally on your passion. It may be a weeklong class at a national conference, a cruise with a well-known teacher, a guild activity, or a weekend at your friend’s beach house with a few of your best buds. I think each of these can be considered a retreat of sorts, since they all involve getting away from the daily routine to spend time doing what you love. The sort of retreat that I’m most familiar with is small, close to home, and not affiliated with a shop or organization. A group of friends will choose a weekend, book a local retreat house (or the above-mentioned beach house!), and start planning projects.

Quilt retreat invitation--from Time to QuiltThe first retreat I ever attended was around 1999, when I went on a guild retreat with a hundred or so other Busy Bees. It was at a YMCA camp, and it was a blast! That was my introduction to the world of makeshift design walls, machines humming all night long, impromptu singing, and The Snack Table. I don’t think I’d seen that much junk food in one place since I left college a very long time ago.

Since then, I’ve learned that I prefer sewing with a small group where we can chat, laugh, share delicious meals, get new ideas for quilts, and sometimes, help each other out with difficult patterns. We even have a good-natured “Duh” award, for when you’ve done something dopey like sewn the same seam incorrectly three times because you’re too busy talking to pay attention. (That’s one reason simple quilting patterns are very popular retreat projects!)

What happens at a quilt retreat?
Well, that depends. If you attend a retreat arranged by a shop or at a conference, you’re probably signing up to take a specific class. For example, the fabulous Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar, California, offer 5-day workshops with internationally known teachers.

There are retreats that combine a schedule of classes with lots of free sewing time to work on your own projects. Here’s one being hosted by four popular bloggers: Jeni Baker, Heather Jones, Faith Jones, and Brenda Ratliff. It’s scheduled for early December, the perfect time to finish up holiday gifts.

The retreats that my friends and I organize don’t involve any sort of formal instruction. We each decide what projects we’ll work on (“deciding” being a flexible term, since we often bring along at least four more projects than we’ll ever have time for). We set up our work space, and then we get busy. Sometimes we’ll break for a nice long walk or to visit a local quilt shop, but mostly we just sew…and sew…and sew, with lots of talking and laughing to go along with it.

For me, some of that sewing is dedicated to a baby quilt or a charity project. I like to bring along several super-easy projects that I know I can put together quickly and that won’t be affected by a glass of wine or two. One of my go-to books for these projects is Fast and Fun First Quilts:

Nest quilt from 'Fast and Fun First Quilts'
This quilt is called “Nest.” I made a smaller version of this for a baby quilt and it’s adorable!

Another book with great retreat projects is Take 5:
'Crosses the Line' quilt from 'Take Five'
This project is called “Crosses the Line,” and it makes a quick charity quilt.

Time to Quilt eBookSome retreats offer special services, such as a massage therapist or a “quilter’s helper” whose job is to help with the pressing or unsewing or whatever else needs doing. With a little research, you can arrange for this sort of luxury at your own retreat. Anne Moscicki provides lots of great ideas like this in her book about planning and hosting retreats, Time to Quilt: Fun Quilts and Retreat Ideas for 1 or 101.

What about lodging and food?
There are different types of accommodations available: full service, self service, and variations of both. At a full-service retreat, your meals are generally provided, as are all linens and other amenities. Full-service retreats might be held at a hotel, a conference center, or even a facility designed specifically for retreats. With a self-service retreat, you’re often booking the facility only, and you’re responsible for providing your own meals (or eating out). Most quilters I know are great cooks who love to eat, so planning and preparing meals is part of the fun. In my group, we plan four meals: Friday dinner, Saturday brunch and dinner, and Sunday brunch. We used to make breakfast and lunch but found we had too much food left over at the end of the weekend, so the brunch plan works well for us. A different person will volunteer to plan and prepare each meal, and those who don’t prepare a meal help with the prep and the cleanup. I’ve never gone hungry at a retreat, but I have come home with some killer recipes!

The Wild Rose Quilt Shop Retreat CenterHow do you find quilt retreats?
By now you’re saying “Sign me up! I’m ready to run away.” So how do you find a retreat? Start by checking with local quilt guilds and shops. There’s a good chance there’s a retreat on the schedule already. If you want to put together your own retreat with some friends, a good place to find a facility is the Internet. A quick search turned up two great sources of information: The Quilters’ Travel Companion is primarily a directory of shops across the US and Canada, but it also includes a listing of 52 retreat facilities in 24 states. Time for Quilting provides information on retreats, cruises, shows, and more. (Left: Wild Rose Quilt Shop and Retreat Center, Orting, Washington.)

And now, the testimonials.
I asked some of my friends and coworkers, all of them frequent retreaters, what they like best about going on retreat. The most popular response was “the camaraderie,” followed closely by “laughing with friends,” and “getting away from home responsibilities.” Two of my favorite comments were “eating, drinking, and playing with other creative types,” and “not having to wear make-up.” While the dedicated sewing time is definitely part of the appeal, the opportunity to relax and recharge is equally important.

Asked what, if anything, they don’t like about the retreat experience, this same group was almost unanimous in their responses. “Packing and unpacking”—not only clothes, but sewing machine, tools, fabric, and everything else—and “having to go home” were the least favorite parts. That’s a small price to pay for the benefits gained by dedicating a few precious days to the pursuit of your passion.

So how about you? Have you been to a quilt retreat, or are you still thinking about it? Share your retreat experiences in the comments.

55 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I so want to do a retreat! I joined too late to get to my guild’s Fall retreat, and I missed my former guild’s winter retreat (moving across-country). I do the sew ins and late night sews around town… but to have a few days to just soak in the creativity would be wonderful… pure heaven!

    Jean on September 24, 2012
  • Going on retreats is the best! I love having hours at a time to work on a project and chat with friends. 🙂

    —Sarah on September 24, 2012
  • I’ve been to quilt retreats that my LQS has set-up. Oh my…they are so fun and so rejuvenating!! Love going…so hard to leave! Being able to share the passion, seeing what others create… it! May every one be able to experience at least one in their life!

    —Cheryl R on September 24, 2012
  • I love retreats. I have been on two different kind. Three years in a row I went to Fancy Gap, VA to a Mystery Quilt Retreat where you don’t know what you will be making until you get there and get all the clues. You just buy your needed material ahead of time. The other, just last month was in Banner Elk, NC where you took your own projects to work on. I can’t decide which I like most. I loved seeing all the different things people were working on and learned a lot more there. But the other is fun with everyone working on the same thing and none of them look alike. You learn new techniques at this type of retreat. But the food was great at both and so were the ladies. Love quilting!

    —Rose on September 24, 2012
  • What a timely newsletter! My family is having our first annual quilting retreat in November. All the female members of the family (including my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter) will be there, sewing, eating and enjoying. We will have four generations there and can’t wait! My wonderful husband has generously volunteered to keep us well fed and pampered. It’s a great way to maintain the "ties that bind" and keep our traditions alive and well.

    —Celene on September 24, 2012
  • I love to go to my guild retreats because they give me an opportunity to finish projects and visit with friends. BUT I attended two retreat/seminars at Quilting Adventures in New Braunfels, Tx and they are fabulous! The five days of study with the wonderful instructors can’t be beat. And I got to make new friends that I now see every year. Can really recommend them with enthusiasm.

    Debby Walters on September 24, 2012
  • I’ve been to both types: sponsored by quilt store & just a group of friends who like to sew. My favorite is the group of friends…we are 10 ladies who book the long President’s weekend in February….one of the ladies loves to plan & cook…so we LET her! The rest of us eat & clean up. Mostly we sew whatever we chose BUT one group project is to sew a donation quilt in 12″ snowballs (we have a wide range of sewing abilities so this works well). Each of us brings 3 fat quarters to put into the quilt, another does the long arm quilting, while another finishes it with binding. Our quilts go to a variety of charitable organizations but lately we have centerd in on making Quilts of Valor and present them locally on Flag Day in June. We look forward to our retreat, however, we just learned that our site is closing soon after our next meeting….SAD,SAD! Also, our favorite store is closing which is SAD,SAD. But with our "stashes" we can survive a few months before withdrawals kick in!

    Dorothy I. Dishman on September 24, 2012
  • I love retreats! And actually have stayed many times at the Poulsbo place you pictured — wonderful place to stay – highly recommend. I plan two retreats and am attending a larger group retreat that is planned by someone else… one of the ones I plan includes a quilt and all who want to create this comes with their fabric cut and ready to go – instructions are handed out at the retreat – only cutting instructions are given ahead of time. We do this at a camp that provides meals. Sometimes this is a mystery quilt. The other I plan with my family and friends and we share the meals – each being responsible for one meal (with someone else) and enjoying the others. The third involves many games, secret sisters and gifts, and lots of time for sewing and catching up with my sisters – meals are provided. They all have their unique place in my life!

    —Karen Dicken on September 24, 2012
  • You’ve perfectly described every retreat I’ve been on! 🙂

    They are just awesome and I am just sad that I still have quilter friends who refuse to go on retreat. They don’t realize what they’ve been missing!

    —Gina on September 24, 2012
  • I just started sewing for the first time and bought a brother sewing machine….I mentioned it to a lady at work that i started quilting and she laughed at me and said that she would never do quilting on a cheap machine. I was excited before talking to her to go to quilting events and retreats. Will I get looked down upon if I arrive with anything less then a Bernina to quilt? Should I just quilt alone in my home?

    Catherine, welcome to our world and congratulations! If you get laughed at or looked down on because of the sewing machine you have, then you are quilting with the wrong people! I’ve been on retreats with as few as 4 people and as many as 50 and I have never, EVER seen anybody ridicule someone’s machine. The right group of people will mentor you and help you. Don’t let one silly sewing-machine snob deter you!


    —Catherine on September 24, 2012
  • My LQS has held a retreat since 1999. I have attended them all. It is always fun. At a location about two hours drive from home. It is in the foothills out of Salem, Oregon (Silver Falls State Park). Dorm style rooms. Large meeting room with big windows, lots of tables, yummy snacks and meals that are to to good. LQS gets a mystery pattern each year but you can sew on your own. I collect the clues but am such a slow piecer that I never get it done. Think of 26 of your best friends sewing for three days and nights. Some of them I have not seen for the past year. We get caught up with each other and our lives. No cell phone service, no TV, no dishes to wash. It is still a month and a half away. On Sunday (the last day) we get fresh baked cinnamon rolls for our mid morning snack. I am sure that all other retreats are similar, so if you can, go to a retreat. You won’t regret it.
    Donna in warm Oregon

    —Donna Adams on September 24, 2012
  • I just signed up for Empty Spools for next February. I love this retreat and this will be my 3rd time. Many women go every year. The program, is wonderful, the food is good, the scenery is amazing as you’re right between Monteray and Carmel and the chance to be in a venue with so many like-minded quilters feels so good. I highly recommend it. You come home energized and ready to tackle new projects with your new skills. Even though you’re in class during the day there is still plenty of time to sew in the evening for those of us that can’t get enough.

    —Cheryl Q on September 24, 2012
  • We recently had our retreat and what a blast we had. It’s fun to travel to different places and attend a retreat with people you don’t know and make new friends. I will get to go to a retreat with a friend from Texas in April and I live in New Mexico, but she and I love to do retreats together. I hope to buy a house soon that I can turn into a retreat center in the mountains. So far, none have been the right size.

    —ElizaBeth Haubold on September 24, 2012
  • I too have been to both kinds of retreats. Our quilt guild did not like the one retreat they booked because we had to break up into 3 smaller groups. This is where I met my best quilt friends because the group WAS small. The large room gave me a headache. Now 10 of us (not always the same people) stay in a log house close to a great hike but within easy driving. the barn is our sewing space and they provide tables, chairs, ironing boards and irons. the man who manages the house cooks us dinner (3 great dinners for $30!). We bring breakfast, lunch and dinner. We sew, laugh, learn and break when we need to. It is my time to be me and be with friends and I love it.

    —Judi on September 24, 2012
  • I was signed up for a retreat in the mountains, all excited to go and woke up the morning before sick. However, I have a couple of friends who love to get together to sew all day and one of us provides lunch and snacks. I consider it a mini get away even when at my home because the focus is all about sewing and friendship. And since it doesn’t cost anything (except food) I have money to spend on fabric.

    —Diane on September 24, 2012
  • I love quilt retreats! One of the best parts is seeing new toys (tools) and learning someone’s nifty solution to a problem. The sharing and laughter are something to treasure and keep me charged until it is time to go again.
    I try to go to a couple every year.

    —Ellie on September 24, 2012
  • I went on my first retreat as a birthday present to myself. I didn’t know anyone but the organizer. It was at a bed and breakfast high on a hill in February, so you know we got snowed in one night (was hoping for MORE). The experience was terrific and I’ve done a "birthday" retreat each year since then…a different B&B but this one was designed specifically for quilters and is fabulous (Bridle Creek B&B in Hamilton NY, in case you are interested). Now seven of my quilting buddies join me. We bring our own projects and help each other, when needed. It’s relaxing. It’s fun. It’s productive. And the hostess fixes us the most wonderful meals. We have the best time and look forward to it every year. In fact, we are planning our next one already and I can’t wait!

    —Barbara on September 24, 2012
  • I have twice attended the quilting retreats held by Quilting Adventures in New Braunfels, Texas. In total I have spent three weeks taking week long seminars with nationally known teachers. All three weeks have been fabulous. The accommodations and food were great. The best part was the time spent in class with great teachers surrounded by lots of fun quilters. Having a week with one instructor gives you plenty of time to learn their techniques and to make a lot of progress on a project or two. I will definately go back and would recommend to everyone and all skill levels. At first I wasn’t sure about a full week on one project and one teacher but it really turned out to be more relaxing than a one day class, less stress to do finish, more time to learn a skill.

    —Peggy Richards on September 24, 2012
  • Just back a couple of weeks ago from our twice yearly retreat, that’s held at beautiful facility in the Piney Woods of east Texas. Mostly guild members (Livingston (TX) Piecemakers QG), but others also from the area, for a group of 35-45 usually. The facility serves our meals, and provides lodging and a wonderful large workroom. Lake setting, lots of beautiful scenery, and no shortage of tables, chairs, plugins etc. Lighting in these big rooms could be a little better, so bring your personal table light and don’t forget extra extension cords!!

    We’ve been retreating there for about 4 years now, twice a year, and have had wonderful experiences, lots of fun, prizes, games, completed projects and great memories.

    —Kay on September 24, 2012
  • I and 2 friends host a quilt retreat every September for 3 days with about 6 – 8 other quilters. We all work on the same quilt, enjoy some beautiful scenery, lots of laughs and learn a lot from our mistakes!!

    There are usually 4 cottages at the camp we go to and everyone takes turns with meal prep/clean up. The results of our labours are carefully photographed each year, so that we remember what we were doing the last time!! Lots of fun and I look forward to it. Always a new challenge every year….


    Carol on September 24, 2012
  • Northwoods Quilt Camp in Solon Springs, Wisconsin…it’s the best! Lots of time for sewing, great people, beautiful surroundings and great food! Couldn’t ask for more.

    —Mary ann on September 24, 2012
  • I’ve never been on a quilt retreat but it is on my bucket list. Hope to do it between now and the summer of 2013. Going on a cruise in Nov. so I’m crossing that off the bucket list first!

    —Mary on September 24, 2012
  • Oh I have been to Camp Huston in Gold Bar and Seabeck in Washington. I have to say retreats are awesome. And why does food taste so good when someone else is making it? When I was at Camp Huston (last weekend with the Stray Threads Quilt Guild) I asked the cook for her chicken recipe. It was that good.

    What I love most is that there is always knowledgable people nearby ready and willing to help me out. I always take something that challenges me so that I can learn and grow. Color selection, mitered corners, laying out blocks, fixing machine tension. The ladies are so friendly and willing to help out.

    Mo Pfister on September 24, 2012
  • I just went to a Quilt retreat this weekend. My favorite local quilt shop, called Quilt Trends, puts these on about 3 times a year. The retreat is in the shop which is very handy because if you need something (and who doesn’t forget SOMETHING?) you can buy it. The shop owner provides meals and snacks, it’s a reasonable cost and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night. I like not spending money on a hotel room because that leaves more to spend on fabric. I have always learned something from another quilter and usually leave with tons of new ideas. We work on our own projects and some folks come and go through the weekend, nice for people who have kids or an older parent to check on. Quilt retreats are the best stress relievers I know of!

    —Fran on September 24, 2012
  • I just finished a "Murder Mystery" Quilt Retreat at the Hankerd Inn in Pleasant Lake, Michigan and it was WONDERFUL!! Innkeeper Jan Rochefort is a marvelously talented lady who pampers you with delicious food, great location and delightful, comfortable rooms. Each room has its own theme and the majority of the beds have quilts on them made by Jan.

    Whether you go to the Hankerd Inn or some other retreat location, by all means you owe it to yourself to try it at least once. I guarantee that if you do it once, you’ll do it again and again. I have signed up for the upcoming retreat at the Hankerd scheduled for Dec. of this year. I’m looking forward to making/meeting new friends and finishing off some of my UFOs!

    Terri at the Drake’s Nest in Ossineke, MI

    —Terri Drake on September 24, 2012
  • I have gone to two retreats at Wildrose quilt and Retreat in Orting. Great accomadations–lighting, area to work,etc. Friendships made during that time are priceless.

    —Betty L Young on September 24, 2012
  • Quilter’s Cupboard in Ankeny, Iowa, holds 2 quilting retreats each winter and 2 the next fall. The Sept. one was last weekend with the next one Oct 19-21. Jan 25-27 and Feb 22-24 are in 2013. They are also holding a new knitting/handwork retreat Nov 2-4. Since it has not filled yet, the owner is also including quilters. Lots of fun and lots of fabulous fabric!

    —Maida Peterson on September 24, 2012
  • I love my retreats on go on every year. Every couple months thruout the year my group of quilters holds a day retreat from 9am-9pm. We have room for about 34 quilters and the charge is only $20. It is held at a church so the church ladies fix us a fabulous lunch and dinner. Anyone that wants to bring snacks to share does so and we end up with lots! We take a break from quilting and play bingo for fun prizes and also have 3 door prizes. In the end the church ends up with money left over from purchase of the small prizes. Another retreat I go on the weekend after Labor Day each year is to a lodge. The gal that owns it with her husband cooks for us all weekend and at the end she copies all the recipies and hands them out to us! This one involves 11-12 of us. Both retreats everyone works on their UFO’s.

    Mary Ann on September 24, 2012
  • Don’t have the big bucks, but want the retreat experience??? Try our idea: We rent a large room at our local senior center for 3 days. We sew from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, then 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. (You arrive and leave at any time you desire) Our machines and projects are left in place, safe and sound from day to day. We have meal groups which are in charge of buying, cooking, serving and washing of one meal. The room rental and food receipts are tallied then divided by the number of participants (usually around 20). We just finished a "Quiltathon" yesterday – it cost us $35 each (for 3 days of sewing plus all the meals). We don’t get to parade around in our PJs, but we have lots of giggles, sharing and sewing in the company of friends. We are doing this 3 times a year. (One of the best parts is that each night when we go home, we get to pick up the items that we forgot the previous day!) We love it!

    —Wendy V on September 24, 2012
  • Twice a year, a group of ladies (usually 8-10) with whom I used to work with, have a 3 day quilt retreat at the beach. We rent a big A-frame house and each one of us plans a meal. There is a huge dining room table and 6 of us use it for sewing. The other ladies bring their own sewing tables. Always have to have a walk on the beach. Sometimes, we work on a project together; like quilts for charity or dolls for sick children. Always have lots of show and tell. Someone always has learned a new technique to share with everyone. It is always such fun and very productive. Hate to have to pack up and come home!

    —Leann Williams on September 24, 2012
  • I have traveled from Orlando to Jamestown, NY to attend a retreat organized by a good quilting friend. I consider the friendships, laughs, gossip, meals and of course the quilting one of the best times I have ever had away from home. My friend is a gracious hostess and all of us had a wonderful time. Just like you described. I retire soon and plan on attending many more.

    —Pauline on September 24, 2012
  • Oh, boy have I. I went to my first retreat last March. There were at least 60 quilters with machines and several others hand stitching or hand quilting. They had a mystery quilt project and several beginner classes. It was the most fun I have ever had in such a short period of time. It was affordable, the food was better than delicious and the women were some of the nicest I have ever met. My next retreat is in two weeks. Same place, same bunch of women and I hope the same cook. Try it, you’ll love it!

    —Diane W on September 24, 2012
  • I will be attending my fourth "Quilt Camp" in 30 days. Not that I am counting. It is held at a church youth camp and sounds a bit like the one you described at the YMCA camp except most machines are quiet from 12M to 6AM. I am really looking forward to going. I will be attending from Wed noon to Sunday noon for $157.00. This year I have a goal of improving my free motion quilting. I plan to do 2 30min practice sessions each day.

    —Jeannette in NJ on September 24, 2012
  • I just returned (two days ago) from our 2nd annual Quilt Guild retreat. We experienced many of the things you mentioned above; great food; fun and laughter; oopsies; using the seam ripper and getting many UFO’s finished not to mention learning several new things from some of the members. We decided that this year’s should be named (words not mispelled) Bardello Chicken Quiit Retreat 2012. Can’t explain here the reasons for this name…you just had to be there.:-) One of the good things is that our ‘place’ is only 40 miles away so easy to get to. We left our meeting place at 8:30a.m. and by 10:30 a.m., we were all sewing away. What a nice topic. p.s. We had room for 2 more folks. Want to join us next year?

    —Sandy Martin on September 24, 2012
  • OH MY GOSH! If you ever have a chance to go to a retreat, please don’t pass it up. Talk about recharging your batteries and getting your enthusiasm going again to quilt, this is the place. Considering you are sewing for the major part of the day, usually for me at least 15-18 hours, you come away with more energy and zest for the hobby you love, quilting!

    So, don’t pass it up, you make new friends, see friends you only see at retreat, laugh, sew, oh, almost forgot, eat and do it all over again the next day!

    —Stephanie on September 24, 2012
  • Retreat is not a word in my vocabulary. I’m more of a charge person, and I don’t mean the type, where we abuse our credit cards. One of my quilt retreats was with a guild, I didn’t belong to, but by the second day, I became a member. I "charged" ahead joining in with the laughter, eating way too much food, tons of chocolate, meeting new people, and shared quilting tips. I had an absolute blast! The view from our wall to wall windows of the beach and the skimpy bathing suits worn by young men gave "us girls" something to oogle over. Oh yes, the sunsets were beautiful too. In spite of the fun-filled weekend I managed to finish a wall hanging and a quilt.
    Retreats to follow, at each one, I sat with a "new person" who are now cherished friends of mine. It’s amazing to meet a person at a guild meeting and never really get to know them until you sit next to them at a retreat.
    Our Guild needed 20+ people to keep our expenses down for our fall retreat, but only managed to recruit 16. The economy was to blame, but alas, we didn’t despair, a few of us decided to have our own retreat, renting a hotel suite with 4 beds and a place to set up our machines. I have home retreats, where I sew continuously, don’t answer the phone, pizza is delivered, and I sleep when I am tired. I’ve been known to sew for 36 continuous hours, after sleeping for 3, and yes, I did stop long enough to potty. It took me 14 days, but I finished a king size DWR quilt.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on September 24, 2012
  • We live in Oregon and drive almost 5 hours to retreat at the Wild Rose Quilt Shop and Retreat in Orting WA. We call it the "Cadillac of Retreat centers". It is totally awesome…as are the owners of the quilt shop…John and Robbie. They do everything in their power to make your retreat perfect. The thing hated most about retreats is lugging all your stuff around. At the Wild Rose there is an elevator to take all your stuff up to the 2nd floor….and what could be better than a quilt store downstairs?!!!….and also a little dangerous! Love our retreats and the laughter, friendship, food, sewing and the Wild Rose!

    —Alice on September 24, 2012
  • To Catherine with the Brother sewing machine:

    First off, dear lady, no one cares what type of machine you have at a retreat or sew day. If you happen to have one someone else is looking to buy, you’ll be asked tons of questions as to what you like or don’t like about it. Many of us take our Featherweights to retreats simply because they are light weight.

    Allow me to make you laugh: The first year I married, my hubby bought me a Sears Kenmore sewing machine in a cabinet. I made clothes, horse blankets, horse neck sweat bands, and small quilts. Years passed by and I attended a quilt class where I had to bring my own sewing machine, but it had literally rusted to the cabinet, and I was unable to get the machine off. Picture if you will, when the store door was opened for me, the first thing in was the legs to my cabinet followed by the cabinet, machine, and all that went with it. That happened 20 + years ago and there is always someone who remembers that time with laughter.

    Go to your retreat, laugh and enjoy yourself, eats lot of chocolate, and remember, to have fun and ignore those machine snobs. One of my Internet quilting friends has a Brother and she loves it. I wish we lived closer to each other, I’d be honored to sit next to you at the retreat with my old New Home 8000 that I bought used. I affectionately call him: Henry the 8th.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on September 24, 2012
  • I think I’m in danger of becoming a retreat addict! I’ve been attending a bi-annual retreat for about 4 years now and I have such happy memories from each of them. I’ve only missed one retreat in all that time, and only because my sister (a non-crafter) was visiting from England.
    After lugging up my machine to the first few, I now plan ahead to have a quilt made, marked and pinned so I can hand-quilt and chat.
    Sadly the last one was just a few weeks ago; I have to wait until March for the next one 🙁

    —Kayt on September 24, 2012
  • My friends that I sew with weekly go on a quilt retreat in the Spring and fall. Last fall I was having such a good time with my friends I put together this beautiful embroidered block quilt and never realized until I got it to the long arm quilter that I put it together all wrong . I had to take it home and take it all apart and put it all back together again. Love retreats friendship , good food and best not having to do the cooking.

    —Shirley Harrison on September 25, 2012
  • want to experience a New England fall? and also learn some new techniques? sign up for the annual fall quilt camp in beautiful Rangeley Maine. This year is a Judy Neimeyer class, but we have learned from Bonnie Hunter and also Deb Tucker in the 11 years of "quilt camps" I am only an enthusiastic camper, but go to the website and check it out! you con’t know what you are missing!!!

    Jane Wi;lkinson on September 25, 2012
  • My sister and I signed up a few years ago to go to a quilt retreat with a group of friends to a bed & breakfast in a town about 2 hrs from our homes. We were so excited, because this was the first time we ever spend a weekend away from home sewing. Mostly because neither of us had the money to do anything so frivolous as this before; money was always tight. Also, 2 weeks before the retreat I had broken my ankle and had a cast on my leg. Everything was going great until Saturday afternoon, when I started to feel terrible. I told my sister I was going to our room to lay down. Soon my sister joined me and we were both violently sick all night. In the morning we finally looked out our room door to see why nobody had come to our aid. We found out that 10 of the 12 people at the reatreat were sick. My sister and I ended up at the hospital with food poisoning and missed the rest of the retreat. By the time we got back to the bed and breakfast, everyone had packed up (even our stuff) and were leaving to go home. So now when we hear the word quilt retreat, we run the other direction.

    —Terri Sheckler on September 25, 2012
  • My retreat experience was great. A church camp was the destination. There were three quilt stores in the area and a quilt show going on. I knew some of the campers but meet many more. It was fun to not think about meals or timelines. I would recomend going with a close friend to share your room with. Our quilt group also has a monthly sew day where we sew, chat, look at everyone’s new books, magazines and projects. I like this way to expand my sewing skills and my circle of quilting friends.

    —retrogirl on September 25, 2012
  • I have attended several quilt retreats, but my favorite is the one I hosted at my home 5 years ago for members of a Yahoo quilting group I am the co-owner of. I designed a mystery quilt & everyone finished the top while they were there. One of my friends was pregnant, but she stuck with it even though she was very tired at the end of the day. I no longer live in that house and the one I’m living in now doesn’t have the room to hold that many people, but I’m seriously thinking about renting rooms in an historic hotel where I now live and hosting another retreat.

    —Janet Espeleta on September 25, 2012
  • Each year our quilt guild has a retreat in November at a camp—and oh, it is so wonderful. Sewing, eating, and best of all—camaraderie with "quilting" friends. It is the best!!!!!

    —Donna W on September 25, 2012
  • I regularly go on personal quilting retreats. I choose the projects to do and load them into my car along with the dog. My husband then follows me towing the caravan to my favourite site out in the country with basic facilities and a whole field to walk the dog. He goes home to enjoy time in the house on his own(truth is there’s no room for him once I unpack the projects!).
    So all alone with the dog and a fridge full on food – no tv, no computer and only contactable by my husband – and all the time in the world to craft. An added bonus is that my favourite quilting shop is only a short distance away. You could say I retreat to heaven and come back refreshed with lots of new stash and ideas for the months ahead!

    —Meg Murray on September 25, 2012
  • To Lynnita with the Kenmore in the cabinet:

    Thanks for the belly laugh. That’s the funniest sewing machine story I’ve ever heard!

    —Mary Green on September 25, 2012
  • I have only done one quilt retreat. It was with my husband’s sister-in-law. We made two rag quilts for the Linus project, do some. Bible study and enjoy the snow. Unfortunately, the next time I went to use my sewing machine, it didn’t work. All I could figure is that one of the helpful men who carried our things down the stairs was less than gentle when he put it down. I had to pay for it to be put back into time. Phooey!

    Otherwise it was a wounderful time! The snow was beautiful!

    —Sheri on September 25, 2012
  • This past summer,I attended a retreat at Quilting Adventures of New Braunfels,T.with Mary Lou Weidman.The retreat began Thursday with a Te as Quilt Museum Tour in LaGrange,T .then on to Deep Woods in Smithville,T .Classes began Friday through Sunday,we had more fun than you can imagine,in creating our own version of"Cows & Flowers"using Mary Lou’s "Hoochie Mamma" technique.I highly reccomend Q.A.,we had four days of wonderful food,comfortable lodging,our own spacious work station,& individual full lenght design board.Laughter was contagious as well as a variety of creativity.You can visit there website to view up coming retreats,gallery of photos& blogs,lots of fun.
    Thankyou Q.A.I will see again.
    Julie Whaley Montgomery,T .

    Julie Whaley on September 26, 2012
  • I organize a retreat for one of my guilds, once or twice a year. In fact we’re going next month. Can’t wait!! There are 20 of us. We laugh and talk and sew and sew and then laugh some more. Oh yeah, and we eat (and snack) and maybe have a glass of wine (after we’re done sewing for the day of course!).
    This time, I have given them homework that they need to bring, completed, to the retreat; blocks for our chosen charity, victorias quilts.
    They don’t know it yet, but there’ll be "class-work" too. We all bring treats to share and a quick show and tell. I’ve bought small items and will be drawing tickets (they have to earn those) so some persons will go home with little gifts.
    We have tried various locations, all within an hours drive for most of us. We try and keep registration fees to a minimum.
    I’ve been to a retreat with about 40 girls, didn’t like it so much, because you don’t get to interact with everyone (unless you spend NO time at your machine!!)

    —Sandra Hubley on September 26, 2012
  • Have been on 2 quilt retreats and will be going to one next week. There are 10 to 12 participants and we have so much fun chatting, laughing and sharing ideas. The bed and breakfast is in a small town in western Kansas and is a truly lovely place. We each work on our own projects so we learn lots from each other. Am so excited to have time to work on projects and not worry about all the usual day to day responsibilities.

    —Nancy Downum on September 27, 2012
  • What started as a sign up sheet in the break room of the PICU (we needed 14 people to secure the retreat house) has evolved into 18 great friends who are also coworkers who now 10 years later retreat twice a year for 5 days each time. We work in a hectic stressful environment but we know how to relax and party. We have been there for weddings, births, cancer treatments and the death of spouses. These are lifelong friends who aren’t afraid to encourage me to spend way too much money!!!

    —Ginger on September 27, 2012
  • My guild sponsors the best quilt retreats twice a year. We meet at Asilomar — a lovely location right next to the Pacific Ocean. Hire a wonderful massage therapist and sew, sew, sew. No instructors, no classes, just relaxation and plenty of UFO elimination time.

    Since we are on the Monterey Peninsula, there is also lots to do if people need time away from their machines: walks along the beach, visiting the wonderful Back Porch Fabrics quilt shop, exploring the Monterey Aquarium, or just reading and sleeping.

    Going to Asilomar with the Guild buddies is one of my most favorite outings!

    —Evelyn on September 28, 2012
  • Our little quilting group, Troublemakers, has a retreat every year at St Andrews House at Union on Hood Canal. Usually about 15 of us go. They have 10 bedrooms with multiple beds. A chef makes us 3 meals each day and the food is terrific. The house was a vacation home for a rich family and is very old. It’s made of logs and is utterly beautiful, overlooding the canal and Olympic Mountains. It’s the prettiest setting and we also get lots of sewing done! Your group should try this lovely venue.

    —Janet Hilderman on October 1, 2012
  • New quilt retreat venue near Monroe/Duvall will sleep max 12 with min 8 and has a full kitchen stocked for 12 to enjoy a get away for quilting, scrapbooking, or time to work on your favorite project. Log cabin home with river rock fire place and large covered decks on 5 acres. Website for contact info, pics and directions.

    Sherri Williams on December 12, 2013

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