What should I pack for my quilting retreat?

One of the more enjoyable hats I wear for my job is Retreat Hostess. One question I get a lot is “What should I bring?”. Since I’m in the midst of final preparations for an upcoming retreat I thought it was a good time to share some tips for packing. Over the years I have seen people load up the luggage cart at the Inn like they just binge watched all the Beverly Hillbillies episodes…and then go back to the car for more…sometimes they even bring their own chair! Other people come with their machine, an extra pair of unmentionables and little else. Usually the correct answer is somewhere in the middle.

First you should consult any documentation you receive from your retreat hostess. If there is a class involved then there should be a supply list. If there are any special amenities at the venue they should tell you about those too (I always remind guests to bring a swimsuit for the pool and walking shoes for a stroll through the woods). It’s usually a good idea to bring a sweater in case you get the “cool spot” in the room. My retreats are all about relaxation (no cooking, no chores!) but others are pot-luck style when it comes to meals. Your hostess should have it spelled out what you are expected to bring for food. Don’t get all fancy though…you’re there to quilt not spend hours in the kitchen. Think up a good crock-pot dish or a make-ahead dish you can bring to heat up.

Sewing supplies should be pretty basic (machine, scissors, seam ripper, thread…) Grab whatever is within one foot of your machine at home and you should be good. Some venues have a pressing and cutting area for everyone to use. I provide those but a lot of people also like to have a small mat and travel iron at their station and use my stuff for the larger pressing and cutting jobs. A small portable light is good too. If you have a class, consult the supply list for any unusual items and tools you may need. Make sure you have everything you need for your machine. It’s not uncommon for folks to grab their machine and leave the cord or pedal at home! That’s a big bummer…

Don’t forget me!!

Think about what projects you want to work on. I see this one all the time…do you really think you’ll finish all 27 projects you brought? Really? In one weekend? Be realistic about what you can accomplish during your stay…then bring only one more…just in case…

The most important tip I can pass along is…if you’re not sure about something…ASK! Preferably before you leave home. Some retreats are run by volunteers (such as a guild retreat) but there should still be someone in charge to ask questions of. If your event is run by a coordinator like me (not a volunteer) then please don’t hesitate to ask questions, that’s why we get paid the big bucks. If the coordinator is worth their salt then they should be giving you the information before you think about it! Of course we can’t cover EVERYTHING in our handouts so ask away. Don’t forget your medications! Also let your coordinator know of any special requirements you have regarding food issues, allergies or anything that may impact your fun weekend.

It says on page 42 of the Official Quilter’s Handbook that every quilter should attend a retreat at least once every couple of years. What…you don’t have the handbook? Trust me, that’s what it says… If it’s been a while for you or (gasp…) you’ve never been, please check out what we have to offer. We would love to meet you and it will be loads of fun! I don’t want to brag but I’ve been told I’m pretty good at creating fun retreats! We usually sell out about a year ahead and have to start a waiting list. You can see what we have coming up here on our website.

2 thoughts on “What should I pack for my quilting retreat?”

  1. I was really impressed with the person who brought her own chair…but i’m not sure mine would survive the trip. 🙂
    I learned to leave space to bring new stuff home!

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