Getting Ready to a Get-Away or Retreat

Guild retreats can be loads of fun. They are a great way to get to know quilters in your guild, or go with a group of strangers and meet a new friend or two.   

Retreat etiquette:

Not everyone likes to sew to music, so if you bring your own music, please use headphones. 

If you need to make a personal call, there should be a lobby or other private place to take or make a call.   

Keep food and drinks in the food area. Bring covered drink cups such as a refillable water bottle.  

Stick to your allotted space. If you need to spread out, find an area that's not being used.

Try your best to keep pins off the floor. People may be in stocking feet.

Make it social!  You may get a ton done if you sit and sew from 9 to 9, but don’t forget to mingle and enjoy other people. There may be a new quilter who needs a smile and some small talk to get comfortable in your group. 

Getting ready for a quilt retreat...What will you need to take with you?  Here are some ideas and suggestions on planning for a retreat.  

I always bring way too many projects and end up losing focus. Only you know how much you will get done or what needs to get done.  If you make a plan before you go, you can get right to it!

 Think about bringing a “sunshine” project if you will have time to sew for charity. Bring a hand work project such as a binding or some hand applique or embroidery (there may be times when you just don’t feel like machine stitching or if your machine is acting up). Try not to over pack supplies and projects but make sure you have a variety of projects so you don’t get bored. 

See what supplies can be shared with your table mate or with the entire group. 

Before you go, check to see if there will be ironing boards and irons available.

Some guilds and venues provide cutting tables, mats, and rulers to share.

Ask if you can tape up a temporary design wall. Don’t tape or pin anything to the wall unless you ask first.  Some venues forbid taping or pinning to the walls and you may be charged extra if you do. It is best to bring a portable design wall or a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth to lay on the floor.   

Check to see if every spot will have electricity or if you need to bring your own extension cord and power strip. 

Find out if there will be food provided or local restaurants to visit for meals.

Check to see what quilt shops are close or on the way.  Check their hours.

Decide if you want to bring a spare machine in case of mechanical problems with your main machine. 

Try to pack into a suitcase on wheels or bring a wagon to cart everything in. Borrow a luggage cart if you need to but bring it back to the front desk as soon as you can as other quilters may need it.

Print out this handy check list to make sure you have everything you need!  


  • Pattern, fabric, thread and notions for each project 

Sewing Station

  • Sewing machine
  • Foot pedal and power cord
  • Bobbins, prewound if possible
  • Extra machine needles
  • Thread spool holder
  • All accessories needed
  • Knee lift
  • Specialty feet: 1/4”, walking foot, open toe foot 
  • Screwdriver
  • Lint brush
  • ​Sewing machine oil 
  • Ott light or extra lighting
  • Magnifying glass or reading glasses

Basic Sewing Supplies

  • Large scissors
  • Paper scissors
  • Thread snips
  • Reverse Action Tweezers
  • Cutting mat (small or medium)
  • Rotary cutter + extra blades
  • Straight edge Ruler 
  • Square up ruler if needed
  • Specialty Rulers:  Hearts & More and Leaves Galore Templates
  • Hand sewing needles and Thimble if needed
  • Paper lunch bag to catch loose threads and small fabric bits
  • Pincushion + pins
  • Basting spray or basting pins if needed.  You can also baste with Mistyfuse 

Marking Tools if needed

  • Fabric marking pens
  • Hera marker
  • Frixion Markers
  • Painter’s Tape (for marking, labeling, and hanging design wall)

Ironing Supplies if not provided

  • Spray bottle with plain water or Best Press
  • Portable or full size iron
  • Portable ironing board
  • Wooden clapper for really flat seams


  • Sketchbook
  • Notebook
  • Pens/Pencils/Colored Pencils
  • Glasses (regular glasses, reading glasses, sunglasses)
  • Refillable water bottle or covered drink glass
  • Snacks/Drinks to share
  • Phone
  • Charger
  • Headphones

Personal items

  • Comfortable Clothing, Dress in layers for any temperature
  • Comfortable Shoes, walking shoes (it’s good to take a break and get outside for a walk!)
  • Toiletries
  • Slippers with a hard sole (just in case pins and needles end up on the floor)
  • Nail File
  • Tissues
  • Ear Plugs (if you are sharing a room)
  • Air Freshener (if you are sharing a bathroom!)
  • Tylenol, Medications


By Carla Basch (not verified) on
I'm signing up for the New Hampshire quilt retreat. Will I need to bring my machine from California? Where can I get more info on the retreat?

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