I attended a super fun quilting retreat this weekend, put on my my local quilting guild, Desert Quilters of Nevada. I’ve been attending their annual retreat nearly every year for the past 13 years. (I know how long it’s been because I met my BQF – Best Quilting Friend – Stacy there when we were both expecting our sons who are now 13!)
I got to thinking about why I attend each year and what makes it just so darn fun, so I thought I would compile a list of what makes it “sew” special!
(1) Be sure there’s plenty of room for everyone who wants to attend.
Our guild consists of over 400 members and about 25% of them attend the retreat each year. The retreat committee does a wonderful job of finding large enough venues to host 100+ people in a comfortable setting.
We were in a large permanent tent structure with plenty of room. It was industrial looking and got a little chilly in the evenings, but the committe cozied up the place with plenty of colorful quilts.
(2) Keep the costs reasonable!
We are in Las Vegas and the retreat was held about an hour outside of town so it was a quick and easy drive. The 3 day event cost $150 to attend plus $50 per night for a hotel. There was an additional fee of $10-$20 per class, but only if you wanted to take one. All of the classes were taught by guild members (like me!) to keep the costs down. The teachers were paid for their classes based on how many students signed up.
(3) Serve Yummy Food
We were treated to 2 breakfasts, lunches and dinners as part of the retreat. The food was good yet inexpensive. Water and juice were the main beverages, with plenty of desserts to choose from. Many of the attendees came up a day or two early and were on their own for food until the retreat officially began, but there were plenty of reasonable places to eat nearby.
(4) Give away fun door prizes.
Every single attendee received a swag bag and each person won a stack of fabrics, books, or notions as door prizes throughout the event. In addition, the adorable table centerpieces were given away as grand prizes at the close of the event.
After attending so many retreats, I finally won a mini quilt as a prize. Quilters love winning quilts, especially when someone else makes them!
(5) Offer fun classes.
I taught my Charming Chevrons quilt and was so amazed at all the color variations my students came up with. Their styles varied from modern to traditional and they all did a fantastic job sewing their blocks together! I’m sure many of them will go on to be award winners at our upcoming quilt show in the spring.
(6) Allow for plenty of open sewing time.
Although classes were offered throughout the entire retreat, many chose to have open sewing time the whole weekend. We were able to start early and sew until late, in between eating, chatting and hanging out.
Many people enjoyed doing their own thing, like my friend Sherri. She’s really into silk ribbon embellishment and hand embroidery work. She didn’t even bring a machine! Instead, sat and stitched by hand the entire weekend.
Two retreat-goers sitting right next to each other were working on Dresden plate blocks in different sizes. Aren’t they just the cutest?
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
28 thoughts on “How to Host a Great Quilt Retreat”
Thanks for a wonderful post on what a retreat is like Christa and congrats on your win!
Thanks for sharing.
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OMG, I need one of those gypsy doll pincushions! Where on earth did you find it?
Jenny, the doll pincushions were made by the doll club (within the quilt guild). Each one was different and they were fantastic!
I haven’t been to a retreat yet but there are 3 locations close by, 2 at church camps and one at a YMCA camp where they have retreats a couple of times a year. When I finally get to that part of my bucket list I’ll check to see if the checklist was followed!!
Ifi money were no object I would love to spend a week In Kauai quilting with my bff. What a delight it would be to see the beautiful Hawaiian fabrics, to enjoy the flora and fauna, learn some new techniques and sew in a beautiful setting.
Susan from Vancouver, WA
Thanks for this report and the photos. I’ve never been to a retreat that large, but I agree with everything you said, even for smaller groups.
Whatta fun post! Looks like a really good time! I love that Scrappy Many TATW!
Looks like fun! I’d love to go to one sometime!
I got home Sunday afternoon from a 4 day retreat our Kalamazoo guild has each year- it was great fun as usual. It is held in a small town in Indiana called Shipshewana. About 95 people and there are at least 5 quilt shops in a 15 mile area. Fun, food,and fabric- what more can a girl want.
How wonderful! Oh how I wish I could find a nice guild nearby — or an open retreat/sewing get together to attend.
I love that you in the States seem to have so many quilt guilds and retreats. We don’t seem to have as much of that tradition in Europe, at least as far as I know.
Then you should host one 🙂
Ooh maybe I should, scary!
Криста,здравствуйте! Я живу в России, в Сибирском Федеральном округе в городе,где нет клуба любителей пэчворка и квилтинга. И когда я читаю ваши отчеты о совместных мероприятиях, то радуюсь за вас всех и немножечко завидую вам. Спасибо за подробную информацию. Воспользуйтесь Гугл переводчиком, чтоб прочесть мое письмо. С уважением Анна.
Looks like Fun!
Wow what fun! You have a great group. Im going to my first sleepover retreat Oct 31 in the mts., I m so excited! The group is about 25 people who have been going for years . I know some of them and was excited to be asked when spots opened.
Always looking for ways to improve our retreats! Thanks for the pointers. Sounds and looks like a total blast!!!
Loved hearing your tips about a fabulous retreat. I couldn’t agree with you more about all your tips. I’m on the committee for the Utah Quilt Festival this year, and our event is just next week. We have a guild from LV come every year.
All great tips to make a retreat a success. It looks like fun was had by all.
What a lot of good tips!
It sounds like a fabulous time! Love the idea of everyone going home with something! I am very impressed with the prices…very reasonable. Were there vendors set up there as well?
Yes, there were even a few vendors who were also fellow guild members, so that made it extra special as well.
What could be better than taking a road trip with your BQF to a retreat where you sew, chat and eat all weekend!! Good times. : )
It was a blast!
Awesome, it sounds like tons of fun. I have never been to an event where I sew with other ladies. The closest thing to any of that is just attending a quilt show. :-/. Last night I did sign up for Sew & Quilt Expo in Overland Park KS. I signed on for 5 classes… I thought it was pretty pricy for the classes and daily(2 days) attendance it was $298. If my husband growls about it u will just have to tell him that its a Christmas gift for me. 😉
The mini quilt you won is cute. And your charm chevrons look terrific. Everyone in your class did super.
Yay for you! I’m sure you will have a great time. And you are right, it makes a great Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary/whatever the occasion gift for sure!
Lucky you to have two great weekends with like-minded people back to back 🙂
It was way fun but I am tired for sure!