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Thread: What do you look for in a quilt retreat?

  1. #1
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    What do you look for in a quilt retreat?

    I live in a small town in sw Nebraska ...I have been asked to help do a quilt retreat weekend. I have only been to one. So I would like to ask the quilters that go ...what do they like and dislike about them? it would be held from Friday night till Sunday. Do you look for speakers, or do classes, or just do your own sewing. Do you like to have venders there? I would love to hear you answers. thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Power Poster
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    I have not been to one -
    but I would want to know:

    What equipment is available (translation - what will I need to bring with me?) as far as tables, chairs, lighting, extension cords, irons, ironing boards, electrical outlets, etc.

    How many people are expected/wanted?

    Will there be a leader/manager/coordinator - or not?

    Will it be a "planned" or "do your own thing" sort of event?

    Are there quilt shops near by so in case someone needs to get something, it would be fairly handy?

    What about meals and food? Bring your own? Someone will cook? Go out to eat? Kitchen facilities?

    Sleeping arrangements? I prefer to at least have a bed to myself - and I am told that I snore -

    Will smoking be allowed?

    How much will it cost?

    Is tipping expected or customary?

    Will the building be handicapped accessible? (That may or may not be relevant - depending on who is attending.)

  3. #3
    Power Poster
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    I think there should be "someone in charge" that can answer questions and keep things going.

    Will there be games? Are the attendees expected to bring a gift to exchange?

    Will there be a theme? (Kids things, Halloween, Christmas, I ____ my relatives, donation items?)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    One I go to always has a table for books, patterns, FQ's etc that no one longer wants. One man junk...Table is always empty at the end of the retreat

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    I've attended do your own thing retreats and retreats with teachers. I prefer an experienced teacher, preferably one who does this professionally or to work on my own project. I've had a few crazy experiences with mysteries at retreats so prefer to know what I'm doing or have the choice not to do the mystery.
    I've only been to ones where meals are cooked for you.
    I prefer the option to have a bedroom to myself if possible (and if I am 'new' to the group).
    An optional opportunity to make theme blocks and win them can be fun. More than one mutual cutting and ironing stations are a good idea. Taping paper lunchbags to the tables for thread snippets and scraps is helpful.
    One retreat at a hotel offers chair massages. The fee comes out of the retreat price and people tip. That was fun after sewing for a long time.
    I think some more tomorrow.

  6. #6
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I think it's vitally important to have food. I went to one that said restaurants were nearby but it was Hardee's and DQ.

  7. #7
    Super Member meanmom's Avatar
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    I like to have a few classes offered. Our retreat usually has one of the members to teach. Ours typically has 60 to 75 people. Ours has food supplied. Sometimes we have a couple of vendors. We usually have a few door prizes. Some are donated by members and some from the LQS. We also have a snack table set up. People bring snacks to share and we just have a big table full of yummy food. We also have a table with things we no longer want. Free to whomever wants it.
    In years past we have had a silent auction of donated items. The money raised goes to next years retreat deposit. It is so much fun and such a relaxing weekend.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    My favorite retreat we worked on our own project and had show and tell every evening after dinner to show what we'd accomplished for the day. The organizer had a quilt on a frame to teach hand quilting. It was just a panel thankfully because some of us were not very good!!! LOL

    Meals were a mix of everyone taking a turn with breakfast and lunch, then two dinners out at a moderately priced restaurant. We knew in advance our meal assignment. My group did hot cereal in crockpots, fruit and muffins. Lunch was usually soup and salad or build your own sandwich. We all brought snacks and sweets to share.

    The town had a local quilt shop that offered 25% discounts for all purchases by the group. It was held at the organizers church camp so there was a dorm with bunk beds and a common bath area and small cabins with a bathroom. We brought sleeping bags and towels etc. The price was very reasonable, but I can't remember what it was and of course we had to bring some food items.

    The group was not a bunch of girlfriends, so Elaine did a very nice job of emails and so on to keep everyone in the loop. We all had a great time sewing and getting acquainted.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Donnamarie's Avatar
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    I go the 4 retreats a year, I love the ones that supply food. It saves so much time (and money), you can just keep on sewing instead of taking the time to travel to a restaurant, sit and eat, and get back. One I go to has a cook and supplies the meals, and another one I go on is just 10 of us and the person who organizes it, loves to cook. So, this is the cheapest retreat I go on, we bring premade meals and desserts. We have access to the kitchen so we will bring stuff and cook them in the oven. The organizer purchases most of the food and there is no shortage. She loves to entertain so we have appetizers every day and plenty to snack on. No teachers, everyone does their own thing. Then, another one I go on in October, supplies meals (made by the venue) and also has one class offered for those who want to take it (always taught by someone on the retreat). All I can say is have a blast! I always do.
    Donnamarie

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    I look for sleep but it evades me. I try for finished projects which I may or may not accomplish, depending on socializing. I try to avoid the snack table. That is forever calling my name.
    The retreats I attend are work on your own projects. No classes but we do pick a group project. It is a simple pattern that we each work on. Interesting to see all the outcomes with everyone's color chooses. This is just an option for any and all that attend retreat

  11. #11
    Super Member
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    I've never been to one, but I can think of several things that would make it to my liking.

    1. A very organized communicator in charge, with experience and knowledge of the venue
    2. Friday afternoon-Sunday afternoon
    3. Comfy tables and chairs
    4. An on-site cook (I wouldn't go if I had to cook or haul more than snacks)
    5. Multiple irons, ironing boards, tables
    6. Work on your own thing at your own pace
    7. My own bedroom and bathroom
    8. Scenic views or small-town feel
    9. 12 or fewer people (more than that would overwhelm me)
    10. A quilt shop nearby , just in case
    11. Plenty of electrical outlets
    12. Wine, chocolate, personal massage therapist at my shoulders when I snap my fingers.

  12. #12
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    I go to a retreat with my sister every spring. It is held in a church auditorium and has ample electrical fixtures, tables and chairs plus a dining room and well stocked kitchen (cutlery and dishes plus an industrial dishwasher). Each attendee is assigned to help set up, serve and clean up after one meal.

    This is a slightly different retreat as we do not sleep there. Most of us live withing 20 km (except for me--I'm more like 2500 km away and take the opportunity to combine the retreat with a visit to my family)

    Some things about our retreat:
    -the lunches and suppers are catered and absolutely delicious. No one goes hungry and special dietary needs can be accomodated
    -show and tell is held in the afternoons and relatives/friends/locals are encouraged to attend
    -there are several short demos put on by the attendees.
    -there is always a table of 'your trash my treasures'
    -we have had a masseuse who charged by the 1/2 hour. No tipping as far as I know, just pay by cash or cheque
    -for a group of 35 people, there are usually 3 ironing stations plus one exclusively for applique.
    -for the last several years we have had the same two vendors and they always have some sort of sale/incentive for attendees
    -door prizes are a combination of donated items, items purchased by the committee and items provided by the vendors
    -we are asked to bring specific sized fabric for a mystery block which are won by one of the participants
    -Strip Poker!! oh what fun!! and the chance to win upwards of 50 themed jelly roll strips. I have heard rumours that there will be more than one game at the next retreat. Yay!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  13. #13
    Junior Member
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    My own comfortable bed - I don't mind sharing a room but not a bed.
    Nice well lit place to sew. Food that is provided so we don't have to leave unless we want to.
    Good natured, friendly folks to get to know while we are sewing next to each other.

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