Prepping for Retreat 2

Man, time flies, doesn’t it? Between working on other projects and catching a cold, it’s been several days since I’ve even thought about my retreat. But considering I need to leave here early Friday (less than 48 hours!) I better get on the ball.

I have my first project prepped to make a quilt for the VA hospital. While I pulled fabrics for that, I also dug through my parts drawer. Most of the stuff in there is lengths of binding that weren’t used, but there are a few other odds and ends, including orphan blocks.

I’ve never counted orphan blocks as UFOs. That’s because in my life, they’re just random blocks, not neglected projects. And I don’t have very many, but there are a few. One of them is the terribly cute economy block I made for my world-famous tutorial. (Yep! Google “economy block” and see. Between my original blog post and the pinterest links to it, that post has two of the top four listings.)

As cute as it is, I don’t make a lot of cute quilts, and I haven’t found use for it. Until now. What the heck, right? It’s the perfect center for either a stillborn’s quilt or a small child’s quilt. My guild donates both sizes through our university hospital. Or if I love it too much, it might be for the new baby of a family friend. And while I don’t have a lot of those sweet colors left in my stash, there is enough to cobble together something I’ll be pleased to give.

Here is the beginning of it on the design wall, pieces cut but not sewn together.

So imagine big half-square triangles in pink and yellow all around, and then a double layer checkerboard in pinks, yellows, and blue. And then probably that more vibrant pink gingham for the last border.

One thing I enjoyed while cutting these pieces is completely finishing a few of these fabrics, aside from small scraps. That amazing stripe? That’s all there is of it. And the dainty but whimsical floral on yellow background? Gone. I’ve loved having them and using them, but as mentioned, I don’t make many quilts in pastels and twee prints. It won’t hurt to use them up.

Besides prepping projects, there is packing to do. Here is our list of suggested items:
* Name tag
* Sewing machine, power cord, foot pedal, attachments
* Machine needles
* Fabric and patterns for your projects
* Rotary cutter/scissors
* Seam ripper (just in case)
* Rulers (Please label these since they all look alike.  Address labels work well for this.)
* Marking pencils/pens
* Thread
* Tape measure
* Pins
* Lamp (optional)
* Lint roller for Sunday cleanup
* Something to drink (no alcohol) water, coffee and tea are always provided
* Snack to share (optional)
* Comfortable clothes—layers are probably best
* Pajamas
* Toiletries
* Your own pillow (optional) one is provided
* Sewing chair (optional)

Seems like they left off the calculator… I’ll also take my iron and a two-sided ironing/cutting board. And since we have a forecast for several inches more snow, and our work space is in a different building than the bedrooms, I’ll take sneakers for inside and boots for outside.

It looks like a lot, but aside from the chair, all of it is pretty compact.

Other than chocolate, I am missing anything from this list? 



28 thoughts on “Prepping for Retreat 2

  1. snarkyquilter

    That’s going to be a cute, cute baby quilt. I recognize that fabric with the little blue squares. I think I still have a strip or two of that. Yeah, snoring roomies are a big downer at retreats. At the annual retreat I attend we’ve sorted out those issues. Now we have keen competition for the first floor bedroom. (Those aging hips and knees.) Enjoy!

  2. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    You have turned acute little block into a pretty little quilt. Have fun on your retreat. I am on Granny Duty during the day, but visiting with a friend at night. She is super creative, and we have had a great evening sharing ideas. So, I guess this is a type of retreat for me.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      When my sister and I get together we share a lot of ideas about possible projects, or remedies for those already in progress. We get pretty swept away with that, so yes, it is a type of retreat! Thanks, Chela.

  3. tierneycreates

    So fun to read about your prep for retreat. I start living vicariously and thinking about the excitement pre-retreat. I like planning so I am already enjoying the retreat while I am in the pre-retreat planning – ha!
    What a sweet charity quilt you are making! Look at that kitten in the medallion center! You have a lovely heart Melanie! 🙂

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Tierney. The part of the planning I like most is digging into my fabrics and seeing how many quilts I could make without shopping again! In truth, I’d be hard up for light values pretty quickly, but I have enough mediums and darks for dozens of quilts. And most quilters wouldn’t consider my stash to be very large! So now i have two quilts prepped, one in process, and I’m finding it frustrating how many I *can’t* make this weekend!

  4. Kerry

    Laura Ann Coia from Sew Very Easy (not posting link because I made such a mess last time!) on Youtube made a video a few months back called “What to Bring on a Quilting Retreat” – I saw it the other day and thought it was very handy. Needless to say I’ve bought a bag (not the same brand) which would fit in my big Janome if I wanted to take it, although the featherweight will be travelling with me. As I’m planning on blocks, I will make one sample before I go so if I get stuck I can refer to it.

    Ear plugs might be a good idea if sharing a room.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Ear plugs are a GREAT idea! For a roommate. 🙂 With my cold I’m afraid I’m pretty noisy. Fortunately, I took a single room this time.

      I think I have about everything I need. Even at home I work with a pretty simple set-up, since I don’t use a lot of gadgets. I’ll take 4 basic rulers, scissors, cutter, seam ripper, iron, projects!! I think I’ll be in good shape. Thanks!

      1. tierneycreates

        Ear plugs rule! I have a quilt retreat horror story (which I do not share on my blog because it relates to one of my retreat Quilt Sisters who reads my blog) but let’s just say I ended up tears by 3:00 am in the morning with no sleep because of a very loud snoring roommate who had a cold! I was miserable the next day.

          1. Kerry

            That’s when that telescopic magnet comes in handy I guess! 😉 Have lots of fun and that’s going to be a very cute little quilt.

  5. katechiconi

    A hot water bottle in case it’s cold at night. An insulated cup to keep your hot drink warm while you forget all about it and get involved with your sewing. A telescopic magnet to pick up dropped pins without needing to get down and grovel on the floor (or is that just me?). A little battery-operated LED table lamp in case the lighting isn’t as good as you’re used to. Spray bottles with water and starch. Spare cutter blades. (A forklift to help you reload the truck at the end of your trip!) I hope you have lots of fun. I’ve never been on a retreat, and given where I live, I probably never will, but I love the sound of it 🙂

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yeah, the loading and unloading… 🙂 Fortunately we’ll be in one place for 3 days, so I think it will go okay. And I won’t be so incredibly far from home that I can’t get something in an emergency. (plus — STORES!) Thanks!

  6. Ann Cummings

    Rotary mat.
    Tools to clean and oil machine, I bring a mini repair kit, includes screw driver and q-tips. Pre-wind bobbins for piecing. I take my Featherweight and those bobbins don’t hold much thread so I wind 6 or more to take with me.
    My pressing table I made from a TV tray I always take that too.
    Have fun!!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Ann. Those are good ideas, too. Yes, I’d planned to pre-wind some bobbins and clean out the lint under the needle. I do bring the screwdriver and small brush with me, too. Thanks!

  7. Cjh

    I wish I was going on a quilt retreat this weekend! The closest I can get to that is the next group sewing day I’m able to attend in two weeks. However, I shouldn’t complain as often my days include lots of sewing. It was a treat to retreat in November in Estes Park, Colorado, with my daughter. Our packing list was similar and I felt I had everything I needed. The lodge or guild supplied lots of extension cords, but that might be something to think about. Maybe a couple of extra zip top bags would’ve been handy.

    I borrowed a sewing machine and was glad for the rubber band I’d closed up my bobbin box with, as the borrowed machine did not have a spool-holding-on disc. The rubber band kept the spool from falling off.

    So if you have a rubber band and maybe a roll of scotch tape, and a box of tissues, throw them in. You never know what might come in handy.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Tissues… That for sure. And yes, a couple of extra plastic bags would be a good idea. The guild has extension cords that will be used but I also have one of my own, so should be good there. Thanks!


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