Recently I attended my very first quilting retreat and boy, it did not disappoint, but more on that later.

As I had never attended a retreat before I eagerly read up on what people were packing to take along to work on and with. And I made some lists of my own.

Quite a few of the posts that I read said that they all took along far too much stuff and a lot of it was not even touched whilst on the retreat. I had a long think about what projects I kept putting off but would really like to have finally completed or at the very least, started.

I went into my sewing room and opened the drawer where I keep all of my orphan blocks and fabric that had been cut and then leftover from previous projects and placed it all out on my cutting table and I looked through it.

I found some baby elephant print squares in aqua and greens and decided that I had enough to make a baby quilt top for my local neo natal unit. So, I gathered these up and put them into a freezer bag along with the matching thread, that was project number 1.

Next, I picked out more left-over squares and placed these into another freezer bag with the matching thread, these I would use to make 4 large heart shapes that I would incorporate later into a quilt, this was project number 2.

I came across a stack of larger squares, I chose 10 and cut them to size to make seat belt cushions, I also cut wadding to go into the cushions and Velcro for the fastening. These all went into another bag together; this was project number 3.

Recently I had been making Christmas trees to sell at a local craft fair, I wanted to make a few more smaller trees, so I selected a few different Christmas fabrics and got my tree template and these all went into a fresh bag together, this was project number 4.

I came across a fantastic idea online not so long ago, on how to use up all your scraps of wadding from projects and turn them into snowballs for indoor snowball fights. I got my big bag of scrap wadding that I had already rolled and pinned into shape, I found the matching thread and some thread cutters, and this went into another bag as project number 5.

Next, I picked out all the 10-inch and 6-inch squares for a string quilt that I had already made and put these into a bag. I cut more squares from my freezer paper so that I could make more squares up. And these went into another bag on top of my big plastic tub of scraps. This was project number 6.

I decided that I had enough projects here to keep me occupied for the 2 days of the retreat but I put in one final project just in case it was needed, I picked out 2 jelly rolls that I could use to make a square in a square quilt top. This was project number 7.

I packed up my cutting mat, ironing mat, scissors, rotary cutters and blades, sewing kit, needles, threads, needles and bobbins for my machine and a small selection of rulers. And apart from the most important supplies (snacks and drinks) I was all packed and done.

On the day of travel, I loaded up the car and off I went.

I was so glad that I had packed each project into a separate bag as when I set up my machine and prepared to sew, I could just retrieve a bag and everything that I needed for that project was there, without me having to hunt through various bags looking for supplies.

The one thing that I was envious of was the fabulous festival trolleys that a few bloggers had bought along, what a fantastic idea, and they didn’t have to lug heavy sewing machines or fabrics up stairs!

I’m pleased to say that I managed to complete a majority of my projects and felt that I really achieved during the time on retreat and that I had not brought along too much ‘stuff’.

All the people that came on the retreat got on well and we were lucky enough to get goodie bags, I love goodie bags!!! We had 2 tote bags, one from British Patchwork and Quilting and other from North Lincolnshire University. In the tote bags we had some gorgeous fat quarters from The Craft Cotton Company that I am looking forward to making something with. We had a lavender pendule from Jane and I contributed the ‘Jack the Rippers’.

I made a conscious effort to sit with different people during each meal, so I think I got to speak to most people and got to know my fellow bloggers a little. I really enjoyed my first retreat and have already signed up for the next one.