Friday, October 3, 2008

The Notebook (Retreat Tips 1-10)

No, I'm not talking about the Nicholas Sparks book!!

Tip #1 - I'd be lost without my quilting notebook. If you're planning to go on retreat or even to a friends house to sew; you need to know what you really do and don't need to take. A notebook can help you with that. While you're at it, start with a fresh notebook and make yourself one of those handy dandy covers.

Let's say you enjoy paper piecing. Put ALL of your tools away and bring them out one by one only as you go to use them. When you're done with that project, write everything that you used down.

Here's my example:
  1. Paper Piecing book.
  2. Vellum paper with blocks printed out.
  3. Post it's and pins (write down the numbers so they can be pinned to the fabric for each section.
  4. Add a 1/4 and Add an 1/8th rulers
  5. Rotary cutter.
  6. Open Toed foot.
  7. Aurifil in the top and bobbin.
  8. Little scissors for around my neck.
  9. 90/14 needles
  10. Fabric
  11. Rotary Mat & Rulers

Now, if I have a paper piecing project to work on when I'm away from the house I know that I need to grab the above items. I can quickly go down my list and fling these things into my notion tote. If it's a certain project that I'm working on I will cut the fabric ahead of time and get it labeled. The biggest mistakes for me are made while cutting and talking to friends. I can eliminate that problem by doing my cutting at home and making myself a Kit for that project.

Tip #2 - Take a variety of projects to retreat. Have something sinfully easy that will allow you to sew mindlessly while chatting with your friends. Pack something that is more difficult to challenge you or that you can get help on from a new or old friend. Take projects that have a lot of assembly line sewing. Take something with applique, or an upcoming holiday decoration.

Tip #3 - Do your cutting at home ahead of time! I cannot stress this enough. Pre-package your projects so that you don't have to go hunting for things that you are missing.

Tip #4 - Label your notions with your name.

Tip #5 - Make yourself catch all pockets for your machine, a pin cushion/litter bag combo and a block roll up. Make a name tag for your machine as well as yourself. If you're away from your machine people will remember who was sitting where. Wearing a nametag helps to put a face with a name. Let's face it; not many people are good with names, why make us struggle?

Tip #6 - Bring a bag of your favorite batting and few fat quarters that you like. You never know when you'll see a project that you want to make right then and there. Having this stuff on hand allows you to cut loose and have some fun on a whim.

Tip #7 - Make sure you have enough of your favorite piecing thread. Wind 5-10 bobbins before heading to retreat so you can just load and go.

Tip #8 - Don't forget to pack your tools for basic machine maintenance. With three straight days of sewing you'll need to clean your machine at least every 8 hours and give it a fresh needle.

Tip #9 - Know or discover your sitting limits. Can you sit on a folding chair for hours on end? What about for three days? There's nothing worse than being uncomfortable. If you need to take your own chair; do so. If you just need to add a cushion to a folding chair to make it comfortable, do so. You want to bring your own table? Well, talk to the retreat coordinators first to make sure there is ample space to do so.

Tip #10 - Invest in a good, thick extension cord. I'd recommend one of at least 14 volts. Once you plug in your machine and an iron and possibly have a few friends around you plugged in together, you'll need all the extra power that you can get.


BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

What's a block roll up. I'd tell you now how cool this is of you to do it, but I'm sure I'll have more questions in a minute after I read another tip..... You Rock! I're a freak!

T said...

Brilliant. Totally brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

I'd like to add one thing... remember to bring your glasses. Lots of people have different glasses for close work or "cheaters" or whatever. It really sucks when you forget your glasses and you're at a 3-hour class. Would super-suck if you were at a 3-day retreat!

jillquilts said...

Great tips! Love #9!!! Had some experience with this and CRANKY ladies last year! :) Another tool is a converter to make a 2 prong plug 'receiver' work for a 3 pronged surge protector. Someone gave me one of these at the August retreat and it is now with my stuff. And nice pillows work just as well for hard seats!

Carla said...

I went to a retreat this weekend and sure wish that I had been a bit more prepared. I forgot pins, pincushion, thread catcher, tape measure, and a long ruler. I want to make a retreat/class kit of duplicate supplies that I use on a regular basis at home so that all I have to do is pack my projects and go. Thanks for the project packing tips!

Trish said...

Thanks for some awesome tips!