Personally, I think there isn’t really ever a bad time for a quilt retreat. There are so many benefits in going to quilting retreats, so why not go? The guilds I’m in usually plan theirs in the Spring time when the wildflowers are blooming and the weather is pretty nice (not too hot and not too rainy/cold).
I’ve been thinking about the best way to pack for a quilt retreat (I hear this question a lot) so I thought I’d share my personal packing steps. You can choose to follow these or share your own in the comments (I like to believe that real people read this blog). What items to pack for quilt retreats 2022? Let’s take a closer look!
1. Plan Your Quilt Retreat Projects
Meticulously plan every single project you are going to work on during the quilt retreats. This would be the perfect time to tackle your UFO list. Make sure you WRITE down this list because you’re going to use it in step 2. Hold nothing back, this is YOUR weekend to get stuff done so you don’t want to leave stuff at home and then run out of things to DO!
[OK, seriously, you may want to pick a couple specific projects to work on and then one or two bonus projects]
At a previous quilt retreat in 2022 I only made quilt backs. I had at least 13 quilt tops that needed backs (so I wouldn’t have an excuse to NOT quilt them) and I spent pretty much all three days making backings. How many of those are finished quilts now? Uhm, maybe one. The ones I’ve managed to quilt actually still need binding! (But I am now one step closer to getting them finished!)
2. Gather Supplies For Your Quilting Retreat Projects
Spend time gathering your supplies for the quilt retreat projects on the list in Step 1. If this means you have to temporarily ignore the house work [who am I kidding, I ALWAYS ignore the housework] and make sure the kid is situated on the couch binge watching episodes of Daniel Tiger (gotta love auto play) then do it! Probably should consider ordering pizza and let your hubs know he may not see you for the next few hours.
Remember: It takes time to find all those supplies you’ll need, especially if you’re going to tackle some old UFOs or if you haven’t been in your sewing space in a while (which is why you NEED this retreat!) So you may want to start earlier in the week and spread this step out over a few days. Be sure to designate an area to gather all these items you need for the quilt retreat.
I have a GIANT rolling cart that I use to “pack” my supplies (i.e. madly throw everything in it as I find them). I bought it back when I was “selling” scrapbook supplies and it works perfectly to pack up for retreats. Of course, once it’s packed it usually takes a Herculean effort to get it down the stairs but that’s what husbands are for!
3. Don’t Think About Fabrics Left Behind
Don’t worry if you get distracted by the pretty fabric that will be left behind when you go on this trip to a quilt retreat. Take a few moments to say “hello old friends” and then get back to packing!
4. Get The Car Ready For Your Quilting Retreat
Pack up the car and get it ready for the quilt retreat. This will probably require you to remove the car seat for the weekend. Just face this fact, you won’t need the car seat (the kid is staying at home) and this will make more room for SUPPLIES!
Also, you may want to wait to pack the car under cover of darkness. My child is very attune to my movements and he asks “Where we going?” when I change any article of clothing or take a shower (he assumes that means we’re going somewhere) and he doesn’t like it when Mommy leaves and he stays behind even though ALL his toys are at home.
So it is just easier to pack the car after he’s gone to bed, or better yet, in the morning after I’ve dropped him off at daycare before I leave for the retreat. The other benefit of packing at night is that it’s not as hot and in my house we park cars in the garage so it gets stuffy. Just do whatever works for you.
Personally, I have a Toyota Corolla which is a great car for the price but is not very big, so I need every inch I can get of cargo room for the trip to the quilting retreat. So out goes the car seat. I can’t wait until I finally get that SUV we’ve been talking about!
If you don’t have children, the same load-the-car-at-night principle applies to pets and spouses. I had a dog once who would run and jump into the back of my Mazda 3 hatchback when I opened the hatch and said “Let’s go to Gigi’s!” They know when you’re leaving, I mean, isn’t Instagram full of pictures of pets sitting in suitcases and tote bags?
5. Check If There’s More Room For Fabric
Now that the car is packed up with the essential supplies for the quilt retreat, look around and see if there is any extra room. Are the floorboards empty? Is there room in the trunk or glove compartment?
If so, you can use that space to bring more fabric to the quilting retreat! That means there is room for just one more project! I mean, maybe you’ll only really have 1 full day out of the 3 days you’ll be gone to work but I’m sure you’re as productive as I am and can get at least 10 projects finished in that time right?
Don’t get discouraged. If all else fails, grab a bag of scraps and just do some wonky improv piecing all weekend!
What To Pack For Quilt Retreats 2022
Figuring out what to pack for quilt retreats is a big part of the planning phase, so let’s take a closer look at the ESSENTIAL supplies outside of your project materials which may help you pack for your retreat:
- Sewing machine AND POWER CORD and PEDAL (very important)
- Presser feet (I use the 1/4 inch – it has an edge to guide the fabric, flat foot – for paper piecing, walking foot – for quilting, darning foot – for free motion quilting) and I always need a little screw driver with my machine for the feet
- Travel (or regular) iron plus pressing mat
- Cutting supplies – I always bring a small mat, rotary cutter and small ruler because I like to paper piece and have these supplies right next to my machine
- TV tray (great for extending the table and keeping the cutting supplies handy)
- Pillowcase to gather scraps and “sewing trash” for a dog bed to donate at the end of the weekend
- Seam ripper, scissors (large and small), extra machine needles, pins, basting spray, batting
- Travel coffee mug (with a lid to help lessen spills), I like to bring my own little hazelnut creamer cups
- Snacks to share and keep up your energy while you’re sewing, also great for long road trips
- Camera, phone, CHARGER cord
- PILLOW – I have a special Bamboo pillow that we purchased recently and it’s AMAZING so I’m definitely bringing it! Even though sleeping is rare when I go to a retreat, the idea of spending a night not waking up at 4 AM to get my son a cup of milk or without a kid kicking me all night is VERY appealing.
- Cute PJs that you don’t mind other people seeing, fuzzy socks or slippers (feet may get cold and I sew barefoot anyway), sweater OR a personal fan (depending on your preference, if you are warm natured)
- Sketchbook, always bring a sketchbook and pencils or markers
That’s about it. Is there anything that you bring that helps make your weekend more enjoyable at quilt retreats? Also, I’d love to hear if this list was helpful.
Unsure how a quilting retreat actually looks? Have a look at a video from YouTube below: