Gather together for a quilt retreat!

A quilt retreat is a dream come true! Hanging out with friends, stitching away the hours uninterrupted (except for laughing and snacking), starting projects and finishing some that are partly done, napping – sounds like a great way to spend a few days, right? Here’s what you need to know when you attend a retreat.

Before you invite friends, search what quilt retreats are available. They have a range of prices, lodging arrangements, and workspace accommodation. Some retreat houses offer one price for a period of time (you can divide the cost among your friends) while others have a price per person. Rooming options may include individual rooms, shared rooms, or dormitory style. A big factor is the work room and how much space each person will have to spread out. Additional considerations are the number of bathrooms, cooking and kitchen area, and proximity to restaurants and shopping.

The retreat date has been set and you’re beginning to pack your projects and tools. Download our Retreat Packing List here. so you don’t forget anything. Make sure you pack your OLFA tools!

The most important tool to bring to a quilt retreat is your sewing machine. DON’T FORGET THE FOOT PEDAL AND CORD! Also bring your instruction manual, your machine extension table, and sewing machine feet.

While most retreat houses have cutting tools for you to use, it's nice to bring your own. You're familiar with how they work + you won't have to wait for someone else to finish cutting. Label or tag all of your tools so they don't get mixed up with others.

OLFA 28mm RTY-1/C Quick-Change Rotary Cutter, OLFA 45mm RTY-2/NS Quick-Change Rotary Cutter, and OLFA 60mm RTY-3/G Straight Handle Rotary Cutter - cover all of your needs by having a variety of sizes of rotary cutters.

OLFA 45mm RB45H-1 Tungsten Steel Endurance Rotary Blade and OLFA 60mm RB60H-1 Endurance Blade - it never fails that your blade is dull when you're cutting a large project so bring extras. The OLFA Endurance Blade lasts a long time! Write the date you change on the blade with a Sharpie.

OLFA 5-Inch SCS-4 Precision Appliqué Scissors and OLFA 5-Inch SCS-1 Serrated-Edge Stainless Steel Scissors - having several sizes of scissors is important because you don't know when you'll need them. The applique scissors are great for clipping seam threads.

OLFA Frosted Acrylic Rulers - once you decide which kinds of projects you'll be working on, bring the size of rulers that you'll need to work on them.

OLFA FCM-17x24 17" x 24" Folding Cutting Mat - saving space when you're packing, the Folding Cutting Mat opens up to a generous-sized smooth cutting surface. If you're tight on space, consider bringing the 12" x 17" Folding Cutting Mat instead. STORE YOUR MAT FLAT WHILE YOU TRAVEL AND DON'T LEAVE IT IN A HOT OR COLD VEHICLE.

OLFA TK-3M/2P Magnetic Touch Knife, 2pk - these handy tools are perfect for cutting small templates, cutting thread, and the occasional seam ripping event.

Other supplies to pack include thread and bobbins, extra sewing machine needles, pincushions, needle keeper with a variety of needles, a wooden pressing tool, and most importantly, a seam ripper.

Bring lots of thread.

And lots of snacks to share. If you're making meals at your retreat, divide the work among everyone attending. Or - find a restaurant and go out to eat!

The best part of retreat is show and tell as everyone finishes - anything from receiving blankets, to pillowcases, knitted hot pads, mesh laundry bags, a sweet dolly, and even a finished quilt top!

Everyone always wishes for one more day of retreat! Two days and three nights is good but three days and four nights is even better. If you had a fabulous time at your retreat center, consider booking again before you leave. It’s important to get those dates on your calendar so you can stay connected to your friends and to your hobby.

Photos taken at Hen and Chicks Studio retreat center.