Tip Tuesday: 7 Tips for Quilting Shows, Retreats & Guilds

This week’s tips are all about making traveling with your quilt supplies easier and making the most of your quilting shows, retreats and quilt guild meetings. We’re lucky to be in fellowship with other quilters, and it’s important to appreciate and support one another. Here are some suggestions from other quilters based on their own experiences.

Tip #1: Coffee Cup Bows
At a recent retreat, we had several quilters present, all drinking coffee and tea. To mark our cups, I suggested we each tie a small piece of fabric from the project we were working on to the handle of our cup. This kept them from getting mixed up. It was a hit!

Tea Party Quilt
Tea Party Quilt by Natalie Earnheart

Tip #2: Fine Idea
Some quilt guilds charge a small fine for misdeeds such as not closing your rotary cutter or forgetting your name tag at workshops and meetings. Next time, use the accumulated fines to purchase something to benefit the group, such as a new book for the guild library.

Tip #3: Fabric Wrapping Paper
Instead of using wrapping paper, use fabric to wrap small gifts for your quilting friends. They will appreciate the bonus gift, and the cost is not much more than wrapping paper. Tie the packages with selvages or narrow fabric strips instead of ribbon.

Tip #4: Medical Info Card
While at a quilt retreat, a new quilter to our group went into a diabetic coma. We didn’t know her medical history, and the friend she came with wasn’t there at the time. We wasted a lot of time trying to find the friend to get information. Now everyone who comes to our retreats fills out an index card listing an emergency contact person, medical issues, medicine they are taking, and any allergies. Each attendee puts her card under her sewing machine. No privacy is violated because no one looks at the cards unless there’s an emergency.

Make & Love Quilts by Mary Fons
Make & Love Quilts by Mary Fons

Tip #5: Keepsake Quilt
When we celebrate the first birthday for each of my granddaughters, I make friendship blocks and set up an activity table with pens and fabric crayons. Party guests are invited to decorate a block with special messages to the birthday girl. I also make 18 extra blocks and each year decorate a block with details about her life that year. By age 18, each girl will have a delightful documentation of her life.

Tip #6: Gift Idea
When I give a bundle of fat quarters at our guild’s Christmas gift exchange, I include a business card for the shop where I bought it. The recipient of the gift can go back and add to the collection if she needs additional fabric for a project.

Tip #7: Notions Organizer
A cosmetic carrying case is perfect for holding tools and essentials for traveling to a quilt retreat. The sections zip closed so I don’t lose anything. At home, I can hang the whole bag where it’s handy.


What are the handiest quilt retreat or quilt guild tips you’ve found? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Quilting!

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5 thoughts on “Tip Tuesday: 7 Tips for Quilting Shows, Retreats & Guilds

  1. -Have all retreat attendees do a practise fire drill
    -have a master list of the room numbers and names of people in each room
    -a sign out and in sheet if people leave the site during the retreat

  2. I use a brick to keep my foot pedal from crawling away. I found a tin that almost fits the brick perfectly, wrapped the brick in leftover batting which makes it fit perfectly in the tin, put it in front of my foot pedal and presto no more foot pedal walking away, and it looks good because it’s in a bow. Take it to retreats all the time.

  3. We started going on an annual retreat in 2002, the first few years were rough because everyone forgot at least a couple of things that they wished they had thought about when they were packing up. We started a checklist the next year, listing all the supplies that we would pack before we left home, that list has grown with items since then. We may not pack everything on that list, but we can check off all the items that each individual wants to take without forgetting some small item. The list is sent out in email or handed out as a paper copy to everyone at the meeting before the event.

  4. Reading your comments, I’d like to share something I do. I have typed out a one page listing showing my info (birth date, address, phone, emergency name & phone), medicines (including supplements & over the counter as well as prescriptions) , basic medical history, surgical history (and dates), doctors names, phone number (including area code) and their specialty (primary MD, heart, etc.). I always have one folded in my wallet and can use it also when seeing a new doctor or having a procedure done… have their office copy and eliminate all that extra writing you have to do as a new patient. At a retreat a copy could be put in an envelope under the sewing machine.