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What kind of quilt retreat is right for me?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

You've probably heard your friends talk about going on quilt retreats, and you've seen the Facebook posts, and you've thought to yourself, "oh my gosh, this looks like so much fun, I want to go!"

And then, as you start looking at different quilt retreats available, you begin to realize there are a LOT of different kind of retreats, and in fact, every retreat you look at is different!

In this short blog post, we're going to explain everything you need to know about quilt retreats, and how to choose which kind is best for you!

Spoiler alert: you're probably going to want to go on more than one!

What kind of Quilt Retreats are out there?

#1 Private Group Retreats

If you're a member of a guild, sewing bee, or sit-n-sew, or just a group of quilty friends, your group might go on a private group retreat. In this kind of retreat, you typically go on a "quilt vacation" with your friends to a retreat center or hotel and sew on your own projects for a few fun days.

For private group retreats, typically one person is the Retreat Organizer, and she is in charge of collecting everyone's payments, room assignments, meal planning, and any group projects everyone chooses to do.

#2 Instructor-Led Quilt Retreats

Another popular type of retreat to go on is a "classroom" type of retreat, where you learn a specific technique or a class of some kind. These retreats are usually taken by individuals who sign up on their own, which is perfect if you don't have a group to attend with. You're virtually guaranteed to make new friends!

Oh, and did we mention there is usually a ton of free SWAG & prizes at these retreats? They're so fun.

#3 Open Sew Quilt Retreats

Also called "UFO" or Sit-n-Sew retreats, these retreats are a sort of hybrid of the other two types of retreats. You bring your own projects and there is no organized agenda, but you are typically signing up as an individual and the retreat is open to anyone, so you'll meet new people along the way.

Where do quilt retreats take place?

Retreats are held just about everywhere! Sometimes a friend in your guild will open up her family's vacation cabin in the mountains, or you'll sew at a church camp, but most of the time, you will be staying at a dedicated Quilt Retreat Center (like ours) or a hotel.

There are also quilt cruises & quilt shop hops for quilters who want a little extra adventure!

There are also virtual retreats - which can be a great option for those who are not able to travel. You join in online & sew from home.

What kind of retreats are best for me?

If you have a group of quilting friends or you are a member of a quilt guild:

Chances are, your group may already have an annual retreat.

Guilds usually have a regular retreat you can join, or smaller sewing bees within a guild go on group retreats.

But, if your group doesn't have a retreat planned, you could start one & organize your group's first-ever retreat!

Retreats are a quilters' dream. Instead of spending just an hour or two together at a sit-n-sew, you get to spend several days together sewing, shopping, sipping on a glass of wine or coffee, and eating! There's always so much laughter & fun to be had.

Interested in bringing your private group to our retreat center? Start here.

If you don't have an organized group, and you want to make new quilt-y friends:

An instructor-led retreat would be a great choice for you!

Signing up for an open-sew retreat can feel intimidating when you don't know anyone, which is why we LOVE an instructor-led retreat. The instructor acts as a "host," and she'll help you feel connected, plus with a project that everyone is learning at the same time, it gives everyone something to relate to and learn together.

Many quilters who attend instructor-led retreats are on their first-ever retreat, and the first time they've ever gone by themselves!

What else should I know?

When it comes to meals, every retreat is going to be different.

With private group retreats, there is often a sign up list for meal prep and each person takes one meal to cook so that no one person is spending all of their time in the kitchen.

Some retreat centers will provide all meals, while others provide just 1 meal a day. Here at Camellia Palms, we offer a light, self-serve breakfast and then most retreaters go out to eat for lunch or dinner, but we do have a fully-stocked kitchen for anyone who wants to cook!

What do I bring?

This will depend on the retreat as well! At an instructor-led retreat, you'll usually be given a complete supply and prep checklist but if you're going to an open sew retreat, you will need to bring your own projects and your own sewing kit.

We hope you found this blog post helpful! If you'd like get more retreat tips, check out all of our other blog posts here!

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