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!