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A Few Tips for Organizing a Successful Quilting Retreat

Please join me in welcoming guest bloggers Alisa and Rebecca as they share a few tips on organizing a successful quilting retreat. Some great advice and money-saving tips for anyone thinking to organize such an event.

This is Alisa from Making More with Less and Rebecca from Our Busy Little Bunch and we’re here today to tell you about a quilt retreat we organized this past weekend. This was actually the third year for this retreat, but our first time organizing it. So how did we do it?

The hosts!

DATE and TIME. The past two years we had done an overnight retreat but due to costs and limited space, we decided to change things up this year and organize a Saturday from 9-9. This allowed more woman to be able to attend and opened up a lot more possible venues.

LOCATION. We were able to secure a hall in one of our local churches. The room had two full walls of windows so the lighting was great, and the kitchen was attached which made easy access for meals and snacks. And, since one of the ‘regulars’ at our retreat goes to this church, we were able to get this location for FREE. It also had a nursery, which was great for a nursing baby that came this year.

FOOD. We hired a family friend to take care of all the food for the day. She supplied plenty of snacks and drinks, as well as a cold lunch, and a warm dinner. She did a wonderful job, and even accommodated a nut allergy and a gluten-free diet from a couple of the guests.

COST. We kept our costs to the minimum, but made sure if was enough to cover the cost of our cook, the invitations and printing costs, and some fat quarters for door prizes.

DOORPRIZES. We contacted our favorite online shops that we’d purchased from in the past year and were able to come up with some amazing doorprizes. Thank-you so much to Pink Chalk Fabrics, Nuts For Bolts Etc., Hamels Fabric & Quilting, and the Fat Quarter Shop for your generous prizes! We also picked up some fat quarters from a local quilt shop, and went through our own craft rooms and donated some of our extra winnings and prizes we’d accumulated over the past couple years. We made a doorprize basket to pick from and pulled names throughout the day in addition to some fun games for the ‘bigger’ prizes. Every guest at the retreat went away with at least one prize.

GIFT PACKAGES. We put together some little gift packages for all the guests. We took disposable coffee cups that came free from a local coffee shop, and put in the instructions for a quilted coffee sleeve and some of our fabric and batting scraps to make it with. We also included business cards from our sponsors, and a card highlighting what we loved about our sponsors’ shops and some of our favorite online sites for free patterns and tutorials.

DONATION BLOCKS. At the past two retreats, we did a charm swap with a theme color. This year we decided to take a break from this and in the invitations we gave everyone the instructions for a rail fence block and asked them to make some donation blocks for a charity quilt (we chose the Pro-Life Society as our charity). We ended up with two complete quilt tops!

QUILT GALLERY. Everyone was asked to bring some quilts to display and we set them up in the adjoining foyer. It was a great place to take a cup of coffee and walk around admiring others work and being inspired!

The quilt retreat was a very enjoyable day! We were able to relax and get lots of our quilting done! We hope we’ve given you some ideas as to organizing your own retreat, and would love to hear about ones you’ve attended too!

Visit Alisa’s Making More with Less blog and Rebecca’s Our Busy Little Bunch blog.

Posted: March 9th, 2011

Topics: Guest Bloggers, Tips and Tricks

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6 Responses to “A Few Tips for Organizing a Successful Quilting Retreat”

  1. Jo vdmey says:

    Love this idea! A day away. Cost effective and not to overwhelming to organize. With time and weekends so precious to our family this makes a retreat doable!
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Rhonda says:

    Ladies, it sounds like you all had a fabulous time. I work full time and run a retreat business on the side. I started the business 5 years ago because I wanted to go to more retreats with my friends and they just weren’t available. I love your full day retreat idea. Sounds spectacular and fun and productive. Great job ladies!!! Enjoy your next retreat!
    your friends from http://www.gigglesandgirlfriends.com

  3. Geraldine says:

    Sounds like so much fun. I try to attend a wonderful retreat roughly 100 km from where I live 3 times a year. You don’t want to forget anything of any importance if you attend this retreat. Breakfast, snacks and supper is provided, along with non stop coffee or tea. We bring our own beverages (if you know what I mean) for happy hours etc. We stay if beautiful modern cabins on Francois Lake in Northern British Columbia. The retreat starts friday night and you can stay till anytime you like on Sunday. It is so much fun. Everyone just works on there own projects, and many laughs are shared throughout the weekend. The event organizer sends out all of the retreat dates early in the year so we can schedule and be sure not to miss the famous Birch Bay Quilting retreats. One of the ladies that always goes has made a super 2 colum list one reminds you of all of the quilting supplies you should pack along, and one reminds you of all of your personal, sleeping, clothing, perscription etc. items you should remember to take.

    Thank you so much for sharing your retreat ideas.

  4. Mary says:

    This sounds like so much fun! I would love a quilt retreat, but there are none nearby. I haven’t considered putting one together because it seemed too overwhelming. You’ve inspired me to reconsider it though. Thanks for the tips and ideas.

    http://fleurdelisquilt.blogspot.com

  5. mary pat says:

    I love to go on retreats………..I do about 3 to 4 a year.
    They are usually a long week-end and they usually have meals included. So much fun!

  6. Lindy Weber says:

    My fav retreat is rather rustic, but the price is right! A Monday through Friday rental of a Kiwanis Lodge/camp on a lake. It is dubbed an “Artists Camp” as quilters, painters, sculptors, card makers and scrapbookers all attend. I made my first clay work of art since junior high, last year. Many people stay in the cabins, but some bring their own trailers. We keep the cost down by bringing our own food/snacks/drinks. We each make our own meals, if and when we want. It is always in late August, so there is a lot of sharing of garden produce. Hard to believe, but some people actually get excited when offered a zucchini! We art at all hours, crack of predawn, late into the midnight hours, take naps, bike rides, go fishing for our breaks. There is always a batch of late night game players whose laughter fills the campground. Some bring videos of their favorite instructors to watch together. It is amazing how much each art picks up ideas from others. Very laid back, lots accomplished. Love it!

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