Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Preparing for Retreat!

Are you ready to go on retreat? I sure am! February 11-14 MCKMQG will host our 4th quilt retreat. If you're a seasoned retreater, you probably know all this (and more!- share more pro tips in the comments). If you're a new retreater, I hope this information will help you prepare for the fun to come!

We'll be retreating at a lovely facility! Be sure to fill up with gas before coming. When you arrive, pull up to the covered parkway- grab one of the hotel dolly's and load your stuff on it. When you come in, you'll be in the main sewing area and we'll all shout hello!  Our retreat hostess will probably come say hi and get you situated.

On site Quilt Shop
There is a small on-site quilt shop. It's very helpful in the event that you forget something essential (like your rotary cutter or pins). It has a small, but pretty wide selection of fabrics. I wouldn't depend on it to build a whole project, but we always seem to find something that works there! The shop works off the honor system- you keep a running tab at the register and settle before you leave on Sunday.

Rooms have 4-5 beds each.  Since we're a pretty big group, there won't be a lot of empty beds in the rooms. Some people requested roommates, so some rooms will be "booked" even if everyone's not yet there. I hear there will be signs. 

If you didn't request an ADA accessible room, please leave those open for the people who asked for them (and their friends).  A bath and double vanity are in each room.  

Let's be honest, some of us snore (definitely not all of us, but I've heard rumors). They have some pretty nice ear plugs on a cart outside the rooms - there are other essentials there like extra sheets, towels, small toiletries. Oh and blow dryers- if you're inclined to actually blow dry your hair there's only one dryer at the retreat center, so you may want to pack your own. Each room has it's own thermostat (and a ceiling fan) to help you control the temperature (I like to bring an extra blanket since I get cold at night).

Food & Snacks
"The middle of nowhere" is actually a pretty good descriptor of the location. The closest thing nearby is a gas station. Walmart and Starbucks are 20 minutes away. Feel free to bring beverages and snacks. We will have a communal snack table where you can share goodies and healthy snacks. Breakfast is continental- there's a waffle maker, and usually hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, bagels, juice, milk (usually almond and cow), and muffins.  Lunch is served at noon and dinner at 6pm. 

There's a communal fridge and microwave in the sewing room for us to store/warm up our own food and snacks. Please be considerate and keep in mind that 33 people are sharing one fridge (do you need the whole 12 pack in the fridge at once? :)) They also have a coffee pot, endless iced tea, water and a Keurig machine (bring your own k-cups if you have a favorite coffee- they have plenty of regular, decaf and hot chocolate).

Dress comfy! It's only us girls, so no worries about dressing up. Some of us never get dressed. That's fine. Some of us wear yoga pants all weekend. You may want to have a sweater if you get a little cool. 

I hear it's lovely to go on a jog while you're there. (I haven't tried it), but people who are into that might want to pack exercise clothes, bra, shoes, etc. 

You probably do want to actually wear some sort of footwear just to be safe. Slippers, socks, house shoes are all common. Again, no one dresses up!

There are two giant cutting tables and two giant ironing boards in the sewing room. You'll have two 4-foot tables to cram all your stuff on. They have very comfy sewing chairs (height adjustable, rolly chairs)

Keep in mind that it's better to have too much to work on than to end up with nothing to do by the end of the day Friday. You can always leave things in your car and get them as you need them (I once brought bolts of every interfacing we had at home because I wasn't sure how much I'd need).  You'll want to have a variety of projects. I recommend packing by project with everything you need for a project in it's own bin, including pattern, specialty rulers, thread, etc. Pre-cutting is best- trying to plan a project from the beginning doesn't work for me at retreat- there's too much going on for me to concentrate).  

I made a fantastic portable ironing table that fits perfectly at the end of my tables- Here's a tutorial from Elizabeth Hartman on how to make one (I only used 2 layers of batting so it isn't too poofy). Pro tip: Target sells inexpensive individual tray tables!

Swaps & Fun Activities
I hear rumors of a swap- you can choose to make a one hour basket or a small zipper pouch (any pattern- I like the curvy clutch pattern). These are optional, of course, but a fun way to mingle with fellow quilters. There's also rumors of a game of...strip poker?? Not sure how that's going to work, but it's on Friday night. If you're interested you need to bring a yard of low-volume fabric cut into 2 1/2" strips (or 14 strips total). 

Packing List
Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild has a great word doc download so you can customize it to fit your needs, 

What other words of wisdom do you have for fellow retreaters?  I look forward to seeing you there!


  1. What a great recap of a retreat at Sunset!!

  2. Thanks for the information! So excited! ...and I think the ironing board is the weekend project...I have been wanting one for some time! See everyone there! (Sterret:-) )

  3. terrific post! can't wait to retreat next week!