Going on Quilt Retreat

Our longarmer association recently did a quilt retreat for a weekend as a way to get to know each other a bit better.  I wanted to carpool because it is just more fun for a 3-hour drive to have friends along for the ride.  Two ladies went with me, and we stuffed the car but good.  Nothing else would fit in the trunk…

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

plus half the back seat was full too.  We had to balance a cheesecake on the armrest in the back, plus we had two large baking dishes full of great food for both evening meals.  And this was with all of us paring down to fit.  But, these make the best stories, don’t they?  We just piled it up and made it fit.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We laughed and talked all the way to the retreat location.  It was a charming farmhouse in Tennessee.  Quilts adorned the walls here and there.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Pretty bedrooms had quilts on all the beds.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

A cozy dining area had three tables and rustic decor on the walls.  We had brought all the food we would need, and more.  Each of us took a part of a meal, and of course we had more snacks and sweets than we could finish.  But we did try, LOL!!  There was some protest as I suggested that we make an effort not to sit in the same place twice, so we would mix around and eat with everyone over the course of the weekend.  But we did it, and it was fun.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

The workroom was fabulous, with comfortable chairs and lots of space.  Since there were only seven of us, we each got two tables.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We started in sewing as soon as we could get changed into pajamas! I began working with the jelly rolls I had brought for a patriotic quilt.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I sewed long strips in sets of three, then cross cut them.  This made really easy nine-patches.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I got most of that done on Friday night, then we made dinner, chatted, and looked around a bit more.  Pretty quilt tops hung on embroidery hoops graced a wall.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Every nook of the two story farmhouse had a country quilt feel.  It was charming, but, I cannot recommend it.  The Whistlestop Quilt Retreat in Sweetwater, Tennessee had one major problem – the railroad track that ran past the house.  They make sure you know about it, with a train on their signs and websites, and owners had assured us that we probably wouldn’t hear the trains after the first few. They also mentioned that they provide earplugs, which should have been a warning to us.  They failed to mention that a railroad crossing with gates and lights was within 50 yards of the house.  Trains came through blasting their horns all night both nights, and no one got an uninterrupted night’s sleep either night.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Six trains thundered past the house horns blaring on Friday night about an hour apart.  The earplugs were not helpful, as their horns were so loud the noise came roaring right on through anyway.  At 5 am I gave up and got up.  I made coffee and went outside for a moment to enjoy the cool air, and a moment of quiet.  Then, back into the workroom as more quilters got up too.  I began the second part of the nine patch star project.  Marking half square triangles is a tedious chore when you need 160 of them, but goes by in a flash when you are sewing with friends.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

So, I was on the way to having the elements for nine-patch stars.  Once I had all the HSTs sewn, pressed and squared, I put two block elements on the design wall to test whether I wanted the star points to be all red on one side and all blue on the other, or mixed up.  I liked mixed up best.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Once I got all that done, I realized that I didn’t have the corner squares.  I sewed the center to the sides, and that was as far as I could go.  Not to worry, I had more projects to work on.  One thing I always do is take more than I think I can finish, because I always work faster than I think I can.  Plus if I am missing an element, I won’t be left with nothing to do.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

On to the next project, these blocks were made at a day retreat last February.  I had brought sashing strips with me, already cut and ready to go.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I sewed all the strips, then put the blocks on the design wall to figure out the placement.  Those light blue ones were giving me a hard time.  I tried several placements, distributing the light ones around, but nothing looked really right.  With the help of my fellow quilters, this design they came up with looked best, with the red, light blue and dark blue in diagonal lines.  I sewed it together this way and added the final two border strips.  More about this quilt later.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

We spent another restless night of train horns blasting, thankfully only four on Saturday night.  The next project was to put together the paper pieced Japanese Teacup for the Teacup Quilt Along.  I was done in less than an hour.  Thankfully I can just about do this in my sleep, as I almost had to.

Block 16 Japanese teacup at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I had time left, so I made two new Hot Pads using the method I showed on the Autumn Jubilee tutorial.

Quilt Retreat at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I still had one more project with me, my unfinished wool stitchery from Autumn Jubilee, but by now it was Sunday afternoon and I was out of time.  Packing up, loading the car and heading home, we talked almost the whole way about how much fun we had, and how much better it would have been to be able to get a good night’s sleep.  We are going on retreat again next year, it was just too much fun not to do it again, and hopefully this time more of the group can go.  But, we won’t go back there, we’ll try another one.

Have you been on an overnight quilt retreat?

43 thoughts on “Going on Quilt Retreat

  1. lynn bourgeois

    I love the two or three overnight quilt retreats I attend each year. Usually it is three, but this year only two for family reasons.It’s fun to see what others are working on, and there is always much laughter and snacking. We usually start on Thursday pm, and finish Sunday around noon. One of these retreats is hosted by a local quilt shop, The Covered Bridge Quiltery in Riverview N.B., one is my local quilt guild, and the third a group of 13 or 14 quilters who love to get together once a year to share time. We keep it simple, the costs are not high, and we all have fun.
    I hope you have a great time next time minus the train troubles

  2. WV’s largest art and craft fair is held in Ripley, WV each year at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center. For over 20 years I was a juried exhibitor and finally taught mini classes in the interactive Heritage Village there. One year my sister-in-law and I took a class at the center around Mother’s Day…Sunday through Friday. I enjoyed this so much that it is one of the nicest memories I have. I have not had an opportunity since then…but I would sure like to again…..even at the risk at listening to train whistles through the night….lol. Your patriotic blocks are beautiful. I’m so glad you had a good time while still getting alot done! YOUR friends are very blessed!

  3. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    I’ve been on a couple of retreats when I was in another guild. I’m in a different guild now that offers a winter and a spring retreat, but I haven’t been able to go, though I’d love to do so. Since I retired I help out with the grandkids a couple of days a week and that puts a slight (but wonderful!) damper on getting away. The retreats I’ve been on provide some wonderful food – we just sew, fellowship and sleep (sometimes!) Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  4. karenfae

    I don’t know how some can tolerate trains so close by.– your story reminds me of the last part of a week of our camping travels from about 4 or so years ago. We had about 3 or 4 days where we were driving and stopping each night to get to our daughters house and the whole way each campground we stopped at was near the train tracks. It about drove me crazy – my husband how grew up close to a major train line didn’t think any thing of it – I on the other hand was constantly woke up and I had ear plugs. The train felt so close to one place that I swear the motorhome vibrated as it went by!!

  5. I have gone on quilt retreat with my mom’s sewing group for three years in the summer! They go to about four a year scattered across the state of Michigan and are nice enough to “allow” me to come with them. 😀

  6. Rosemaryflower

    Ugh, trains… party ruiner for sure. That place needs better ear plugs, or sound machines in each room. There is an app for iphones that can run all night, and plugged in while charging.
    I learned that from my daughters with all of those babies haha

    Other than that, this looks fun. I have never been to a sewing retreat. Years ago, this would have been a blast, but I am so moody all of the time, I have my own sewing retreat (just a day home sewing) all by myself and I even talk to myself haha

    You have a productive time with friends, and the house was very pretty

  7. Mary Stori

    Retreats with quilting buddies are always fun…..I first organized one for our Professional Textile Artist group 12 years ago….which became an annual (and most anticipated) event. I’d be a very unhappy camper if I drove 3 hrs. only to find noisy trains running that close to the house. We stick to a 30-45 min. drive……with very satisfactory facilities. I can’t even sleep thought the night in a dark, quiet room with the aid of 1 sleeping pill….I’d have been a zombie after the first night. It was good of you to share the experience, perhaps saving others from disappointment.

  8. What a beautiful venue! I have not made it to a retreat for several years, but miss them terribly. I think next time you need to take a big SUV–we used one for a work trip recently just so we could accommodate TP from Costco and all our Trader Joe’s purchases.

  9. I love going to quilt retreat! it looks like a lovely place and I adore the quilt tops hanging from the hoops… maybe I should do that with my UFOs!?! Too bad about not being able to sleep… that would be hard for me.
    You sure accomplished a lot in spite of sleep deprivation!

  10. With the exception of the trains, it really looks like a wonderful place for a quilt retreat and great fun was had by all that joined in. I certainly would have loved to have attended. And I love how you packed your car for the road trip. I’m always amazed at how much we take to a quilt retreat. It seems far more than what we’d take for an extended family vacation!

  11. Hi Carole! It sure looks like you were very productive in spite of the train. We live quite close to a train track as well, but that one sounds VERY close. It’s hard to sleep through if you’re not accustomed to the noise, and you certainly couldn’t get used to it in two nights! It looks like a charming place though. ~smile~ Roseanne

  12. Keysha

    Your quilt retreat went well — all except for the trains causing sleep deprivation. Wow!

    I’ve never been on a quilt retreat but if there was one near the coast/beach I might consider giving it a go. LOL

  13. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole, I am glad that you had a great time, aside from the trains, and accomplished so many great quilt projects. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Joan Sheppard

    I’m so sorry about the trains but I had to laugh. Growing up we lived about 300 feet from the train and about a mile from Midway Airport, kitty corner from the gas station (remember the “ting” when you drove over the rubber to alert the attendant to come out and give you gas and wash the windows AND check the oil. As a kid of course I could sleep through anything. But I still like the sound of the train whistle (at a distance) so romantic visions of long ago and far away.
    But no I’ve never been to a retreat. Maybe this year. I’ll go on the train. Ha.
    And I love the things you are working on and looking forward to seeing them finished.

  15. Karen Sinn

    I’m not sure how I “stumbled” upon your site, but I love, love, love it. So much information on everything I enjoy making. And I really appreciate your sharing the area where you live. I am in a dryer climate and flowers just don’t grow as long or a lush as they do there. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, talents, travels, patterns and other parts of your life. Love it!

  16. farmquilter

    My little guild goes on a 5 night retreat every year. We are up in the mountains of Idaho, about a 2 hour drive from home. Nothing there to see but mountain upon mountain, covered in evergreen trees. Nothing to hear but nature outside. So peaceful and quiet, with a huge room lined with windows to take in the amazing views. About 25-30 of us attend every year and we each get two tables as well. It used to be a ski lodge, so there is a chairlift that they run once a month to make sure it still is working. No skiing there any more, just retreats!! I have missed the last 4 years and I’m looking forward to being able to go once again when I get home. This is where we go: http://www.myidaholodge.com/

  17. Connie B

    Love overnight retreats! Going on one in a week and a half, and can’t wait! This one has a food staff, so no cooking, but we will bring treats. I will bring my oatmeal cookies, always popular.

  18. I love how much sewing gets done on a retreat…I usually bring several projects like you did. Too bad about the train whistles…the venue looks lovely. Sew much fun to catch up with all your friends and get to know others better.

  19. Patricia Evans

    This year I attended 3 retreats (all at different venues). One is sponsored by a LQS and has about 45 quilters. The other two does involve our own small group so there are usually about 15. All our venues provide food. We have a train track about 200 yards behind our house, but it only services a couple local businesses so it runs two or three times a day and never after 11PM. We have had sleep disrupted by very close trains while traveling and it is quite annoying.

  20. Goodness me, you certainly did a great job on your projects. The comadation looked wonderful, just a shame about the nightly invasion of those loud, whistle blowing trains!

  21. I always worry when earplugs are provided any place we stay. I’m sure one would get used to them after awhile, but I doubt that two days is long enough. I like the RW&B stars. That will make a beautiful quilt.

    1. Nancy Owens

      Every year our Guild has a 3 overnight retreat. It is up by 8 and sew to 11pm. Good food a lot of junk food, drawings, shopping with Vendors and making new friends. I look forward to it every year.

  22. What a wonderful retreat – apart form the trains. The house looks wonderful. I especially like the quilts hanging in the hoops.
    Looks like you manage to get quite a bit done, too.

  23. I *love* quilt retreating! Our stitcher’s group does several during the year and our big guild does one in January. Where in Tennessee was this place? It’s beautiful and we’re always scouting out new venues! I laughed at the car pooling … we’ve talked about that in our group before, but no one ever does, because all of our cars are packed FULL with just one person’s stuff! LOL! 🙂

  24. Linda Shellito

    I haven’t been on one but would really would love to go on one. But i dont have anyone to go with or how to go to one. If you have info on how i could get with someone to go on one with would appreciate it.

    Linda Shellito

  25. Sharon S

    Zowie, I need to go on one if I can get that much done! Love the owner’s idea of tops in hoops on the wall like that. I have one ladder with my collected antique baby quilts on it, but realized I have another drawer with several more, along with my grandmother’s top I haven’t gotten to yet! I was gifted two very large quilt hoops, used the oval one for a christmas wall hanging with my mother’s 1950’s glass ornaments on it (and promptly broke one, sob!) but the other is hanging there forlorn, I know what to do with it now! Big hug, lady. And yes, you DO get used to the noise, but after several WEEKS not hours! we can tell you from experience of living on an air force base with rotating shifts and testing jet engines at all hours….

  26. Kathy Inozarks

    Sounds like allot of fun except for the trains-my brother in Indiana used to own this gorgeous victorian home but a few blocks away was a train switching yard-they whistled all hours of the day and night-I asked him I could he deal with all this noise? said he didn’t hear it any more lol he did just move a few months ago-to a much quieter area.
    when I first retired and we moved to Missouri that year I found out about a quilt retreat about an hour away it sounded fun-I inquired about it, and someone’s room mate had to cancel so I was able to share that room with someone-totally out of my comfort zone as I did not know anyone. it was friday evening through sunday brunch I did have allot of fun and took classes that were knew to me at that time-needled felting, wool applique, flower pounding. I rememeber one night they had a midnight shopping event with the vendors-well I guess I wrote a book haha

  27. Sue H

    I used to live right beside train tracks. Took about a week to get used to those train blasts. Instead of 2 nights there, maybe you should have stayed a week! Maybe you wouldn’t have heard the trains by then. Lol! Your projects are looking pretty in spite of lack of sleep and I’m sure you all had a wonderful time.

  28. Sounds like a great retreat except for the trains. The place is pretty – I really like the display with all those quilts on rings. I don’t go to retreats – I figure I can sew more if I don’t have to take the transportation time and money. Plus I am a homebody.

  29. joymcd305716439

    What a beautiful place to have a retreat, such a shame about the train! Just love how they decorated with all the quilts… I’m guessing you slept well when you got home! I like retreats as long as I don’t have to share a room, and then I’m always glad to be in my own bed again! xx

  30. Joan Sheppard

    When I look at blogs I seldom pay much attention to where they are except for you because you share your mountains and your turkeys so imagine my surprise when I got an invitation to a retreat in Melbourne, Australia. If it didn’t take me 3 days to get there I might just give it some thought! LOL

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