Sew Much Fun: 10 Reasons You Should Attend a Quilt Retreat


Have you considered a quilt retreat but don’t know if you should go? A vacation weekend (or week) planned just for quilters might be exactly what you need to feel refreshed, get inspired, and sew a beautiful quilt. Retreats designed just for quilters are growing in popularity all over the United States and the world. Discover why!

Longing for Alone Time?

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Maybe it’s just me, but booking a quilt retreat to go on all alone feels like the ultimate guilty pleasure. Except I don’t feel guilty. I get a hotel room all to myself, a table to sew at, meals prepared for me, and evenings to spend reading, watching my favorite shows, or doing more sewing. What a wonderful mental health vacation! The time spent away from my family makes me miss them, so when the retreat is over, I’m happy to come home!

Need More Quilting Friends?

Photo credit: Stitchin’ Heaven

A quilt retreat can serve the opposite purpose than alone time if you want it to. Before I started attending them, I sometimes felt like I had no real-life quilting friends. No one understood why I love to buy expensive fabric only to cut it up and sew it back together again. People would look at my closet of quilts and ask, ‘Why are you making another one?’

Now, I have dozens of quilting friends all over the United States. I need to begin attending international quilt retreats to make friends in new countries, too!

Is There A New Skill You Want to Learn?

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One of my favorite excuses, no REASONS to go on a quilt retreat, is to learn a new quilt-making skill. Have you mastered all the ways to do traditional piecing, paper piecing, curved blocks, and collage quilting? Well then, I think you need a retreat to help you learn more!

Is There a Sister, Daughter, or Friend You Need More Time With?

Caroline and Liz in Roatan Honduras semi-sub tour

I must admit that I drag my sister along on quilt cruises as often as she will come. There’s no one I’d rather see sewing across the table!

Is the Sea Calling You?

Roatan, Honduras. Photo credit:

Quilting cruises are the ultimate retreat for those who love to travel and make something at the same time. You will literally be sailing to your next destination while making a new quilt. The destinations are fabulous: Caribbean islands, Alaskan adventures, New England cities, Canadian shores, and European shopping destinations!

Longing to See Fall Foliage in New England?

Photo Credit: Travels With The Crew

Fall retreats in New England sell out fast because the beautiful foliage is something you don’t want to miss! Do a quick Google search, and you may see plenty to choose from, but if you are searching last minute, they may be full. Be sure to book early for the best choice of projects. As for me, I’m hoping to embark on a fall New England and Canada Cruise next year!

Are your WIPs Piling Up?

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Lucky for you, quilt retreats abound that cater to people bringing their own projects! Leave all your distractions at home and find dedicated time to finish a few quilt tops. In case you were wondering, this is the Lloyd and Lola Quilt – pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.

Feeling Uninspired to Start a New Project?

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I’m fortunate that I was able to turn my favorite hobby into a full-time job (designing patterns for this website), but sometimes I feel disconnected from the passion and uninspired to sew something that’s not work. That’s the reason why I attended my first quilt retreat! Now, I attend them as often as circumstances allow. The quilts that I make at retreats are for my own quilty pleasure.

If you are lacking inspiration to start a new quilt project, do a web search for upcoming quilt retreats and browse the projects. Kits are often available, so you don’t even need to pick fabrics.

Is There Someone You Want to Teach How to Sew?

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I love my friend Nikki, and we may be related someday because our kids are ooey-gooey in love (eye roll). That’s why I wanted her to learn quilting so badly. I waited until she really needed a getaway, and then I invited her to a quilt retreat that had last-minute openings—sneaky me. The quilt project at that retreat was easy and she caught on fast. Now, she attends with me twice a year.

Need a Detox from the Digital World?

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Computer screens, tablets, and phones can take their toll! Even if a retreat doesn’t require it, disconnecting from technology offers a chance to unwind and focus on the stress-relieving repetition of making a quilt. Quilters that I’ve met on cruises declined the optional wifi package just for this purpose.

Sewing and Quilting Retreats I’d Recommend

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Mystery Quilt Retreat

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Machine Embroidery Events with OESD

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  • I attended a machine embroidery cruise with OESD, and the teaching was exceptional. If you can’t find a cruise with them, I recommend attending one of their other events. You’ll just have to find your own hotel to make it a retreat!

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