How to Host a Great Quilt Retreat

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!)

Scrappy Trip Along

Stacy and Her American Jane Scrappy Trip Along

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.

Retreat Room

This was just the left side of the room – we had twice this much space!

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.

2013 Retreat Teachers

2013 Retreat Teachers

(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.


Chicken and Fish for Dinner on Saturday Night

(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.


Quilt and Doll Centerpieces

After attending so many retreats, I finally won a mini quilt as a prize. Quilters love winning quilts, especially when someone else makes them!


Mini Quilt Prize

(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.

Chevron Quilts

Charming Chevrons Students

(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.


Hand Embroidered Stitchery

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.

Dresden Plates

Dresden Plate Blocks

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!

Sewing Summit Anyone?

I’m way excited – I just found out there is going to be another Sewing Summit for 2013.

Sewing Summit 2013

For anyone who hasn’t heard, this is a weekend long modern sewing retreat. After attending QuiltCon earlier in the year but being too far away to attend Sew South, I’m thrilled to join up with other modern sewists for Sewing Summit later this year.

Here’s what I know so far – it runs from September 19th-21st in Salt Lake City, Utah and as of today, registration is still open. I didn’t attend the previous 2 years but I’ve heard from a few other blogger friends that it was a blast, so this year I signed up right away!

Angela Pingel, Cut to Pieces

Angela Pingel, Cut to Pieces

Jeni Baker, In Color Order

Jeni Baker, In Color Order

Two of the blogs that I sponsor, Angela Pingel from Cut to Pieces, and Jeni Baker from In Color Order are going to be among many of the amazing teachers! Whoo-hoo this is going to be fun! So, who else is going??