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Same Time Next Year: A Quilters’ Getaway

My quilting getaway to the mountains is over ’til next year, but I came away with lots of wonderful memories, inspiration…and an almost-finished quilt top, shown here in progress. 😉 

My quilt top in progress; the finished quilt will appear in a book, written with Christine Porter, to be published in Fall 2012.

If you’re thinking of planning a quilting getaway with a group of friends, here are a few key points you might wish to consider:

The luxury of uninterrupted sewing time is a big plus at our getaway.

First determine your purpose as this will drive many of your subsequent decisions. Will your getaway be primarily social (e.g., a huge pajama party)? Focused on sewing/finishing projects? A time to relax, reflect, and regenerate? Do you prefer an “agenda” (e.g., a specific theme, field trips to quilt shops) or no agenda at all?  

How many participants will depend on your purpose and on your getaway place. Is there a vacation home available to you? If not, you might rent a house, or gather at a B&B, hotel, or motel. Make certain in advance that your chosen location has sufficient workspace; the ability to power your sewing machines, irons, and laptops; and comfortable sleeping arrangements. (To share or not to share…?) 

Alex, hard at "work"

The “who” of your getaway group might be a large contingent from your quilt guild, the members of your small weekly “bee”…even quilting/sewing siblings or friends “re-uniting” from other parts of the state or country. Consider carefully, especially if you anticipate that this might become an annual event. It’s very difficult to “uninvite” someone once they’ve participated.

 You’ll probably recognize at least one, if not both, of my getaway buddies.

Alex (Anderson), Joen (Wolfrom), and I spent hours upon hours sewing, catching up, brainstorming, eating (etc.), and relaxing.

Joen takes a break from sewing a new quilt for her fall pattern line at JWD Publishing.

If you’re staying at a B&B, or hotel/motel, meals may take care of themselves. In a vacation or rental home, try sharing kitchen duties. We grocery shop on the way, fix our own breakfasts and lunches when we’re ready, and then rotate preparing a group dinner. (Actually, Alex and Joen do. I’m a hopeless cook, so I do nightly cleanup.)

Often we prepare boneless chicken breasts in batches at the start of the week, and use them in soups, salads, sandwiches, and so on.

As for expenses, “personal accounting” probably works best for a B&B or hotel/motel; a kitty, with everyone depositing a predetermined amount, is a good option if you’re staying at a vacation home or rental. We started with a kitty, but after a few years–since there are only three of us–we switched to a single credit card for all but personal purchases, and split the total at the end. Works for us!

By the end of the week, Alex had finished a stunning piece in Dupioni silk, a detail of which she shares here.

Final suggestion? We all have busy lives, and they get busier as the year goes by. If you think your getaway might become an annual event, bring your calendars and the pick dates for next year before you head for home! The friendships we make through quilting are important and precious to us. We owe it to ourselves to honor them.

If you have any stories, recommendations, suggestions, or tips for a fun and successful quilters’ gathering, please share by leaving a comment.

‘Til then, happy stitching!

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