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Starting a quilt retreat

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julie.dodds@ht.msu.edu posted on Wed, Feb 27 2013 7:41 AM

Hi! 

I am remodeling an old church and parsonage into a quilt retreat in Northern Iowa. I am looking for advice. Any absolute "Do's" or "Don'ts"?  I want to make this as quilter friendly as possible!

Thanks in advance!

Julie

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Barbara replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:24 AM

Julie one of the things I suggest is make sure you have pleanty of outlet to plug in stuff,  Provide a small kitchen for for your guest. is this going to be a place where folks can stay?  if so make sure you have someplace they can put their clothes. even if it is just rolling racks at least they can be hug up .  have pleanty of room for quilting ,Alot of us like to have a very large table so we can all sit around it together. so having large portable tables is really nice and that way can be arranged how ever the vistors want them set up . this is just some things I can think of . Barbara 

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Julie, I go twice a year to a retreat in Springfield IL. The building has a kitchen where the meals are prepared for you and everyone eats in the dinning hall at the same time. Nice for visiting then there is a dorm style wing with two single beds and a bathroom. There is a large area where the tables are set up for quilters and another large area with casual living room set up and fireplace. The lighting is supplied with Ottlite floor lamps for those that like to do handwork. This huge room has one wall of French doors and windows to a huge porch that overlooks a lake. It is very peaceful. The living room also provides a large tv with cable and a nice surround sound with tv or music capability. There is also wifi for Jose of us that are addicted to our forums. LOL. I really enjoy this place. 

aka Grandma Sunshine

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Maggie, That sounds like a wonderful place to quilt and meet new people. Where is it located?

Michelle B
Enjoy family, friends and hobbies

 

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I replied but I guess my reply was too wordy Michelle. It is pending moderator approval. LOL

aka Grandma Sunshine

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scergo replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 3:54 PM

Julie,

I just got back from our Third Annual February Quilting Retreat at Table Rock Wesleyan Retreat and Conference Center (outside Greenville, SC).  I can tell you what we LOVE and don't love about our current location because it came up for discussion:

  1. The open quilting area is attached to the dorm area so we don't have to go outside.  (It is February, even in SC.)   Some of us get up early and sew and others work late.  Pajamas are a favorite attire.
  2. We have a kitchen attached for shared meals, snacks, and drinks (at all hours).
  3. We have privacy.  We are the only group there in February.  (See Pajama Note in #1.) 
  4. We don't have to worry about security.  We control access with locked doors.  There is a lot of money in machines so leaving the area unattended is a concern.
  5. We have enough space in nearby areas for ironing and cutting stations as well as a design wall.
  6. Our location is relatively close by so, in case of emergency, we can get home quickly.
  7. Although there is a TV, we have never turned it on.  We enjoy the break.  Even cell service is sketchy so we typically don't get calls from home very often.

What we DON'T like:

  1. We have to provide meals.  This leaves us a little less time for quilting (each pair of roommates is responsible for one meal and most of the work is done in advance).
  2. We have to provide our own towels, sheets, pillows, etc.  This leaves less room in our cars for fabric (although we have become quite inventive in packing).
  3. The common room where we quilt gets pretty crowded with 16 quilters and their 'stuff'.  We run power strips across aisles and tape them down but I am always worried someone is going to trip and fall.  I also worry about overloading electrical outlets with irons.  (I am a safety type by profession.)  Think about beefing up electrical circuits and installing in-floor outlets.

We always have a great time.  We come back with more laugh lines and much better attitudes as well as fewer UFOs. 

Sheree

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That's funny! I saw that you were from San Antonio, but moved away. Have you ever come back for the spring time? When the wild flowers are so beautiful?

Michelle B
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As others have mentioned, electrical circuits are so important.  Many quilters keep a small pressing board and travel iron at their side, and those eat up power and trip circuits, so multiple circuits for the sewing room is a must.  The sewing room should be brightly lit.  Wall space for hanging design walls is important.  Comfortable chairs with good back support is a big plus.  A table with risers is useful as a cutting station.


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Patti replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 11:51 PM

I love old churches.  What a great use that would be for an old church building.  But, knowing old churches, they definitely don't have enough electrical outlets, nor enough power for all the machines.  And I like the idea of having some outlets in the floor so people are not tripping on the wires. 

Lots of space and lots of lights.  Several design walls. Good cutting stations, at least 3 and same for ironing board and iron.

As for lodging some dorm like rooms with twin beds would be good for those who want to cut expenses, and not share a bed. 

And a good food space, off to the side.  With full size refrigerator, stove.   Even if meals are not cooked there, quilters always seem to bring lots of goodies and treats to share.

Patti

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Joni replied on Thu, Feb 28 2013 12:38 PM

Have plenty of outlets...put your outlets overhead that way you can plug in strip and set them on tables and no one trips on cords.

At the Virgina Beach Retreat we had a very large long kitchen with 2 of everything, frig, stove, dishwasther, dishes, silver, cooking utensils, etc.  Bedroom, linens were also provided (they used a linen service) all included in package price.

A washer/dryer, also for ironing board setups overhead plugs would be nice.

Each bedroom had flat screen TV's, own bath, 2 person to a room, either king size beds or 2 double beds (personally I prefer 2 double beds as I don't sleep well when sharing a bed).

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I hope you'll post photos as you move along your project!  I'd love to watch the progress!  How exciting! 

What part of Iowa are you in?  I have family just about all over Iowa.

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Hi!

The contractors started last week. The retreat is in North Central Iowa, in the middle of the cornfields. Not necessarily easy to get to, but hopefully, well worth the travel! The closest town is Algona, Iowa.

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Joni:

Have plenty of outlets...put your outlets overhead that way you can plug in strip and set them on tables and no one trips on cords.

At the Virgina Beach Retreat we had a very large long kitchen with 2 of everything, frig, stove, dishwasther, dishes, silver, cooking utensils, etc.  Bedroom, linens were also provided (they used a linen service) all included in package price.

A washer/dryer, also for ironing board setups overhead plugs would be nice.

Each bedroom had flat screen TV's, own bath, 2 person to a room, either king size beds or 2 double beds (personally I prefer 2 double beds as I don't sleep well when sharing a bed).

Joni, would you be interested in going to the Smoky Mountain retreat in June this year?

Sukochi

 

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Patti replied on Sun, Mar 3 2013 10:08 PM

Julie, how many people do you think you will be able to have in a retreat?   I went to Iowa with my sister about 3 years ago and loved it.  We spent most of our time in Humboldt.   If I ever went to your place, I would take the train to Minneapolis and then rent a car.   Isn't there a big quilt store somewhere near there?  My sister and I passed a sign, but we didn't have time to stop as we were catching a flight back to Seattle, WA.

Patti

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Hi Patty,

We will be able to house 16. The retreat is about 30 miles north of Humboldt. It is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours south of Minneapolis airport. There are several large quilting shops (The Quilted Forest - Forest City, Country Threads - Garner) and many smaller ones nearby. There are also many great shops on the route between Minneapolis and Algona, if you want some great shop hopping on the way!

The Facebook page will be up soon, so you can follow our progress. We are sooo excited!

Julie

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