I don’t know about you, but Fall is about my favorite season of the year. Every Fall I try to go to at least one quilt retreat and sometimes two! Quilt retreats are a fantastic way to make quilting friends, get a bit of a break from reality, and get a lot of sewing done!

Packing for quilt retreats or sew-ins, however, can be pretty stressful. When I first started attending retreats I had no idea what to bring so I brought just about everything! And of course I would usually still manage to forget something important!

What helped me a lot is to create a checklist of everything that I could reasonably need for a retreat. That way even if I’m packing in a hurry the night before (of course, none of you would ever do that!), I can be sure that I won’t forget anything critical. You can download the list here: Retreat packing list [PDF]. Many of these things are optional–pick and choose which ones you actually need.

In addition to the list, I have a few tips I’ve learned:

  • “Kit up” your projects before you go so you can get right to sewing. Decision-making or cutting in a social setting (for me, anyway) is painfully slow and always leads to mistakes.
  • Dress in layers, and wear comfy shoes or bring slippers
  • Bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Clean and oil (if needed) your machine and make sure it is working properly before you come. If your machine is persnickety, consider bringing a backup machine that you leave in the car, especially to an out of town retreat.
  • Bring painkillers. Sewing for 12 hours can get uncomfortable. Also, a hot pack can be a wonderful treat for your neck and shoulders at the end of the day.
  • Bring a realistic selection of projects… You don’t need to bring your whole stash or all your WIPs and UFOs.

Happy retreating!