I often get asked "Do you work on a lot of your own quilts?". Actually, no. One of the reasons I have too many WIPs (works in progress) is I really only work on my own quilt projects during retreats.
If you have never been on a quilt retreat with other quilters I highly recommend planning one. It doesn't have to be far from home, just away from home.
Retreats have a special place in my heart. Many years ago my daughter and I made a pact. We were going to get out of our introverted boxes. I went to my first quilt guild meeting and someone asked for volunteers to help with their retreat. I didn't know anyone and I didn't like meeting new people. I raised my hand to join this group of quilters who were planning a retreat for about 100 quilters. What a welcoming experience. I met friends that are still my friends today. I've been involved in planning and helping with retreats now for over 15 years. Side note...my daughter didn't follow through but that's ok, that's who she is, an introvert.
I'm still an introvert for the most part, but because of quilt retreats I have discovered how to relate with people and actually talk to them. Those of you who know me are probably thinking..Introverted? Seriously? Yes I am. Put me in a room with a bunch of people and if I'm without a 'job' you will see me in the corner of the room. If I have a 'job' I will am able to get out of my box. Even at my Mother and Father in laws funerals I was very uncomfortable around all those people I didn't really know. I didn't want to talk to everyone even though it was the appropriate thing to do. So, I gave myself the job of hanging up coats. I spoke with everyone there without anxiety because I was there to do something that gave me a reason to speak to people. No small talk to come up with. Just a 'Hello, may I hang up your coat for you?' I'm also busy during quilt guild meetings doing something that helps out somehow and forces me to speak to people. Are you an introvert? I recommend trying this method of getting out of your box. Even the smallest of jobs like opening the door for others during an event, manning a signup sheet, or joining a small committee can be a blessing to both you and the people you're serving.
Back to items I take on retreats. Of course I take my sewing machine and other supplies. But the following items are a must have for me. I share everything I take. Retreats are about sharing ideas, tricks and products you have that others may not have tried or been aware of. Yes, I even take my chair. I have recently purchased the saddle chair and I love it! It's easy to take along and great for my back. The last retreat I was on several quilters tried out the chair and some ordered it on the spot.
What are some of your retreat experiences? Please share in the comments below and encourage those who have not been on a retreat yet to go to one or plan one of their own. Even with Covid a small gathering of friends is a wonderful thing to do.
Thank you for joining me in my journeys.
Shari, Sharing Stitches, Xenia, Ohio