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How To Get The Most Out of Your Quilt Retreat posted: 6/12/2003
by Ann Hazelwood Printable Page
Category: Tips Method: All
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You've made the commitment to attend the Quilt Retreat, and your deposit has been made. The date is far ahead, so surely everything can be arranged, rescheduled, and thought out. Going through the process can become stressful, but one can only hope that the end result will be worth it. As the time gets closer, events and unexpected duties begin to happen, so now other adjustments may have to be made. You say, "I'm committed, so nothing is going to stop me now!"

Soon it's time to pack and think about the projects to take. Packing for your "productive time" should be well planned, so you can make the most of the time allowed, yet have some freedom in the choices you want to work on. You will be pleased with the end results and use of your time if projects are chosen ahead of time. You can pack in priority order, so that when you do sit down at the sewing machine or worktable, you are ready to go.

Don't forget to include all those tools and comforts you will need for those specific projects. Better not to have to borrow or hope that certain items will be available. Sewing machine bulbs and extra sewing machine needles are sometimes a lifesaver. Having options of hand or machine projects may also be a good idea. Even though planned projects may be on the agenda, free time allows for working on your own projects, which is a great idea. Make sure you have the proper carriers for your sewing machine and supplies, for safety of course, and for easy access. A cart or suitcase with wheels is good for getting those heavy items into the classroom or hotel room.

Your personal packing needs to feature comfortable clothing. This is not the time to make a fashion statement with your quilting friends. Take comfortable shoes, so you can possibly take walks, and if you are used to a daily exercise routine, you will want to stick to the plan and bring the proper wearables. Loose clothing in layers is advised, as some rooms will be too warm or too cool! Keep the make up and hair simple as to not take up time. The proper PJ's and robe should be thought out, as a crowd could occur when you are dressed for bed.

Putting too high expectations on what you would like to accomplish, can set yourself up for disappointment. One also does not want to run out of projects or that creates frustration. Bring a variety of projects, but be flexible in what you work on and how much you get done.

Give yourself plenty of time for travel, so that it does not become a stressful part of the trip. Traveling with a friend can ease some security concerns, perhaps share the expense, and most of all add some fun companionship to this great weekend!

Once you arrive, notify someone that you have arrived safely, as this may increase your comfort level. Make sure they have a contact number or make sure your cell phone works in the retreat location. Unpack and organize yourself in your lodging facility, so you know where home base is. Then get acquainted with the campus or building where you will be spending your retreat. Don't forget to notice EXIT signs and restrooms in case you should need them. Setting up your workspace in good lighting will be very helpful. You might want to bring a "clip on" light in case you are located in dim lighting. Being near restrooms and your favorite friends is also a plus.

In organized lectures and classes, note-taking supplies will be appreciated when you get back home. If learning a new project, keep in mind that time may not allow you to finish, so take good notes where you left off and what needs to be done. If using your own sewing machine, remember to have it checked before your trip, so it is in good running order. Pay attention to what equipment is yours and what needs to be left behind. In setting up, keep food or drink away from your work area.

When visiting a "Quilter's Retreat" recently, I observed and learned many travel hints as well as enjoying beautiful friendships and quilts. I asked some of the girls, "What's so great about a Quilt Retreat?" Here are their comments:

PAM: "I really like being with people you really like. You can say want you want to say, plus you have QUILTS in common. It really is a piece of "heaven." I always laugh a lot, and I do not have to do dishes!!"

CAROL: "I think it's an opportunity to know people better. It's a time when we have a variety of people that come together under one bond. Larger retreats can be helpful in helping others who are not as confident in their quiltmaking."

VALERIE: "Not having family around, quilters become my extended family. I know I can call them for help, or to share my accomplishments. They become a great support system. I like being "pampered" at retreats, we all need it!"

JEAN: "I like the friendship and sharing of quilting ideas. The food is usually great and an important part of the weekend chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!"

GAYLE: "You shouldn't have to depend on anyone else to make you happy this makes me happy! This my opportunity to step away from my corporate environment responsibilities I have every day."

ANNIE: "I think small retreats are the way to go. I get lost in a lot of activity. You can relax more and go at your pace. People should do what they want to do without competition or pressure. I'm like everyone else; I'm here, because I want to be here!"

CINDY L: "It's my "mini vacation" away from my work, and I don't have to worry about anyone else! I usually do not call home!"

WYNEMA: "1 like everyone else's opinions. You learn so much. I don't have to worry about getting something done; I just go to have fun! The fellowship is wonderful!"

CINDY: " I like the opportunity to get things done. How often do you get a dedicated amount of time in your life to work on quilts??? Working on your quilts together can be a fun thing, that wouldn’t normally happen!"

Here are a few keys to a successful retreat:

  1. Go there with a good attitude
  2. Be with people you are comfortable with
  3. A pleasant and attractive location
  4. Affordable
  5. Good planning with the right equipment
  6. Good food, especially Chocolate
  7. Attend during the time of year that is less active for you
  8. Make easy travel arrangements
  9. Be somewhat productive with quilting accomplishments

Everyone agreed on one piece of advice that they have learned from other retreats, and that is to NOT go home with having had little sleep at the retreat.

A "Retreat" is just what it indicates.

Whatever the "theme" of a retreat, it is to be a "treat" that makes you anxiously await the next one!

©2003 Ann Hazelwood

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