Okay.  So you’ve made several quilts (at least), joined your local quilt guild, got together with friends to sew, went to a couple quilt shows, and played with many techniques, patterns, and rulers.  Where do you go from here?  Have you ever been to a quilting retreat?

A retreat is defined as:  Withdrawal from a situation, the art of changing, a place for safety.

Retreats of any kind are designed to help you break away from your busy everyday life.  They are an opportunity to be with people that share your passion.  Retreats vary in length and usually have a theme.  You will be with folks from different parts of the country who bring new ideas.  You’ll gain new insights into other quilters’ and sewers’ (or is it sewist?) experiences.  You can go with friends or you can go on your own.  If you’re shy, it may seem scary but quilters are so friendly and are always happy to talk (and give advice).  You will surely make new friends.

What kind of people go to retreats?  All kinds.  It’s a great experience for anyone; you talk, share, and have plenty of social time.  You’ll meet new people like yourself, and you will meet people not like what you would otherwise meet.

A retreat can be in a city or town located in the mountains or by the beach.  A morning walk in the woods or an evening walk to watch the sunset can be part of the retreat experience.  These times alone could change your life.  Take a break from your daily grind – refresh your brain.

A new type of retreat I’m seeing offered is a ‘stay at home’ retreat.  With this type, you will come to classes everyday for as long as the retreat lasts (normally 3-5 days), get fed a yummy lunch, then go home at night to sleep in your own bed.  Classes or workshops can either be structured or not, but I always felt the best part of a week-long retreat is you will not be carting home yet another UFO (unfinished object).

Morning of the first day:  You set up your machine and unload the bag of fabric you brought.  You eye those quilters sitting around you and are already feeling better.  The room is abuzz with conversations, laughter, and you realize the sharing has already begun.  As the day goes on, there are women sitting across from you and behind you.  They talk to you, ask where you’re from.  There’s more sharing and more laughter.   All is good!

That evening, you go back to your room and realize it was a good day and a very good idea you decided to come.  You cannot wait to go home and tell your quilting friends about this experience.