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6 steps to get ready for a quilt retreat

 

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I introduced you to Northcott’s new Full Bloom line of fabric. These fabrics are so bright and cheerful and I can’t wait to get sewing with them. Tomorrow I’m joining a bunch of my quilting friends at a sewing day at a nearby community center so I thought it’d be a great opportunity to show you how I get ready to go on retreat!

Everyone is always amazed at how much I can get done at a weekend retreat but my secret is pretty simple; I’m really organized and super focused! And can I say excited?…

A selection of fabrics from the Full Bloom line of fabrics from Northcott.
Full Bloom fabrics

 

Step 1 – pre-cut

So, maybe focus is a problem for you, but being organized can still make things go SO much faster! I always pre-cut the fabrics needed for at least 3 projects before I go on a retreat. And then, I bring along some other projects to work on if I get bored with the first three. I bring along a hand stitching or punchneedle project to do while I’m chatting with friends and the rest is all machine work.

For our Full Bloom project we need to cut the following:

  • 21778-99 – panel
    • Cut 20 flower squares 5½” square
  • 21779-24 (stripe)
    • Cut five strips 4″ x WOF
  • 21780-24 (red tone on tone)
    • Cut four 4″ squares
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 21780-52 (yellow tone on tone)
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 21780-72 (green tone on tone)
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 21808-10 (white polka dot)
    • Cut one strip 1½” x WOF (width of fabric) – sub cut into twelve 1½” squares
    • Cut five strips 1″ x WOF
  • 9025-23 (pink leaf print)
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 9025-53 (yellow leaf print)
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 9025-58 (orange leaf print)
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 9025-77 (green leaf print)
    • Cut six strips 2½” x 22″
  • 9025-99 (black leaf print)
    • Cut 12 strips 1″ X WOF – sub cut into 40 1″ x 5½” strips and 40 1″ x 6½”
    • Cut eight strips 1½” X WOF – sub cut into 31 1½” X 10½” strips
  • binding – ⅜yd [40cm]
  • backing – 3¼yd [3m]
The pre-cut squares and strips
The pre-cut squares and strips

 

Step 2 – use dollar store baskets to organize your projects

I LOVE organizing things in baskets, and going on retreat is no exception!

Go to the dollar store and buy at least 4 or 5 of the flat baskets that are about 9″ x 11″. Put each project (and all the threads or special gadgets that you need to use for it) in its own basket. You can stack these baskets on top of each other and if you have a big enough tote bag, you can stack them right inside.

Basket full of supplies
Basket full of supplies

 

Step 3 – assemble all your tools in one place

Make sure you bring EVERYTHING that you usually use when you’re quilting – your cutting board, rulers, rotary cutter etc. Sure, if you forget something, someone will probably loan it to you, BUT you don’t want to waste time (not yours nor your quilting buddy’s) borrowing something that you’ll need to use over and over again. Check out my QULTsocial post from December 2015 where I showed how to make this AWESOME retreat tote. This tote holds all quilting necessities when travelling.

The retreat bag made with Northcott's ColorWorks Concepts fabric can carry all the tools needed at the retreat.
The packed retreat bag

 

Step 4 – get your machine serviced

NOTHING is more frustrating when you get to retreat than having a sewing machine that won’t sew! So save yourself the frustration and get your machine serviced and cleaned a couple weeks before retreat. Don’t leave it to a few days beforehand in case some part needs to be ordered in or in case everyone else going on retreat left it to the last minute too!

Along with this is Step 4B – find your machine manual and put it in your bag of tools!

Step 5 – start packing early

When I go on a retreat I start packing my quilting essentials a week in advance. Every time I think of something, I add it to the pile. My clothes, I usually don’t worry about until the night before, but fashion isn’t the focus of quilt retreat anyways!

Making a pile in the front hall also serves to warn your family of your impending departure LOL…

All of the supplies and tools needed at the retreat are gathered together in one spot.
All the supplies are assembled

 

Step 6 – set up and have fun

When you get to the retreat, claim your space and set up your stuff. As you can see at the last retreat I went to, I had at least four baskets with projects in them, all ready to go.

Everything is set up and I'm ready to sew my Full Bloom lap quilt.
All set up and ready to SEW!

 

If you’ve never gone on a quilting retreat, you owe it to yourself to do some research to see if there is one running in your area. A good place to ask is at your local quilt guild or at your local quilt shop. They often run a couple a year. And then there’s also the quilting cruises that you could go on – there’s something to dream about!!

Tomorrow, I’ll be working on making the blocks for the Full Bloom lap quilt and I’ll share some tips for overcoming your fear of ‘random’.

 

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go to part 1: 2 essential tips for using printed squares in pieced quilt blocks

Go to part 3: How to overcome your fear of piecing blocks with random fabrics

I have been designing and publishing quilt patterns for the last 16 years under the business name Fairfield Road Designs. My patterns range from fusible applique and piecing to felted wool applique and punchneedle. You can see all of patterns on my website www.fairfieldroaddesigns.com.

8 Comments

  1. Jenny Ford

    Sounds like fun!

    • You should try it sometime Jenny – they’re so much fun and SO productive!

  2. Lynn M

    Great tips – can apply lots of these tips to other events as well. Thank you.

    • Thanks Lynn – I’m glad that you found them helpful!

  3. Linda Webster

    Great tips. I haven’t been to a quilt retreat but hope to one day!

    • If you get the chance I highly recommend it Linda. So much fun and very productive!

  4. Holly Wotton

    Helpful article. Love those bright Full Bloom fabrics.

    • Thanks Holly – I just loved working with those fabrics!

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