Quilt Retreat Noises, Chatter, and Fun


If you've never attended a quilt retreat, you're probably wondering why ladies need to go away to a retreat house to sew together. Here are some of the many reasons why.

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Quilt Retreat Noises, Chatter, and Fun

If you've never attended a quilt retreat, you're probably wondering why ladies need to go away to a retreat house to sew together. Here are some of the many reasons why.

Quilt Retreat Noises, Chatter, and Fun


Questions Answered

First, there's always somebody around who can help you. Questions like "What does 'X' mean?", get answered right away. Instructions for patterns aren't always easy to read, but you are likely to find someone on the retreat who has done the technique before. After all, it does take three people; one to sew, one to read the directions, and one to oversee the process.



Borrow Tools

Along these lines, you will hear "Does anyone have a 'Y' with them?" This may be anything from sewing machine oil to painters' tape, and you can be sure that somebody will have it. Packing for a retreat is a challenge. Will I need my own iron, light, ruler, et cetera? Just because you couldn't live without a tool last year doesn't mean you will use it this year.


What projects do you take?

UFO's (unfinished objects) are popular because you hope that other retreaters will coax you into finishing. Additionally, who can resist the latest pattern that you bought at a quilt shop on the way to the retreat house?

ufo project


Design Wall

Retreat houses must have a lot of design walls. Each quilter needs space to post her squares on the wall for all to see. This is needed because each of the other quilters will have an eye for how the quilt should be assembled.

design wall


No doubt you have heard many versions of the lightbulb joke. The quilter's version is "How many quilters does it take to decide if the brown square goes next to the grey one or the beige one?"



"Broccoli!" Nope, this is not a secret quilter's code. It's just one part of one conversation overheard in the work room. Many quilters can sew at the speed they can talk, and there always seems to be a quiet end of the room and a loud end of the room. Noise is an issue at a retreat. Phone calls from husbands are common and all sound the same. "Where did you put the 'XYZ'?" And there's always machine noises too. Some make little beeps, some announce when the bobbin thread is low. Others race along at the speed a quilter is talking.



Fun And Productivity

All that said, the productivity at a quilt retreat house is quite astonishing. Sewing from before breakfast until late at night does tend to inspire even the most distracted quilter. Sleep is optional, coffee is plentiful, and the encouragement of your colleagues never ends!

At the time of this writing in 2020, we are all stuck at home and dreaming of quilt retreats. Stay safe everyone! We love you!

cedar waxwings


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A spool or reel that holds thread or yarn for spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, or making lace.
Design Wall
Any wall where you can position quilt blocks, then step back to view the layout at a distance. Quilters often hang batting or plain white flannel on their design walls, because quilt blocks and other components stick to it easily without pinning. Heavier commercial design walls are available.
A heavy plastic measuring guide that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Debi Warner
Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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